You’ve arrived in the Windy City, hotly anticipating all the exciting places you’re going to visit and sights you’re about to see.
All that’s left to do is to plan how to travel around to check out these iconic spots. Fortunately, with a bit of planning and know-how, this can be a breeze.
To help you along, we’ve put together a list of some of the top tourist hot-spots and the best ways to travel to them.
A favourite on the tourist trail, Navy Pier is a must on any Chicago itinerary.
Set on the shoreline of Lake Michigan and featuring an iconic Ferris wheel, the destination also boasts restaurants, shops, an old fashioned swing ride and mini golf.
The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) offers an extensive bus network with five running to Navy Pier daily. These are #29 State, #65 Grand, #66 Chicago, #124 Navy Pier (serving Metra lines from Millennium Station, Ogilvie and Union Stations) and #2 Hyde Park Express (during weekday morning and evening rush hours only).
Three sightseeing buses also pick up from Navy Pier’s front entrance if you wish to include this on your itinerary.
Having earned the affectionate title of Chicago’s ‘Front Yard’, many of the city’s most notable landmarks are located in Grant Park. These include Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute, Millennium Park and the Museum Campus.
You can travel to the attraction either by taking the commuter train (Metra) or the bus. The following CTA buses can be taken to Millennium Park: #3, # 4, # 6, #14, #20, #56, #60, #124, #151, #157 and #173.
Experience a taste of the exotic by visiting Chicago’s Chinatown. Here you’ll find delicious food, fantastic shopping, museums and exhibitions.
One of the most unique ways to get to Chinatown (and an experience in itself) is by water taxi. Two companies operate a service: Shoreline Sightseeing and Chicago Water Taxi. Visitors are taken along Chicago River and Lake Michigan and, services operate during the summer starting in April/May and finishing in September.
If you’re hoping to see some furry friends during your holiday, Brookfield Zoo won’t disappoint. Spanning 200 acres, it is home to around 6,000 animals. With several fantastic exhibits, highlights include the Wilderness Exhibit which showcases grizzlies and polar bears and Fragile Rain Forest, where you can come face to face with the clouded leopard.
Located outside downtown Chicago, the zoo can be reached either by jumping on Pace Bus route 304 or route 331. This will drop you right outside the zoo’s south gate.
If you’re travelling from downtown Chicago and western suburbs, take the Metra’s Burlington Northern Line. You will need to take the Zoo Stop exit (Hollywood Station) and walk two blocks northeast.
Calling all stargazers; this impressive planetarium treats you to sky shows in its three theatres, where you can enjoy incredible virtual reality trips. You can also enjoy lectures, exhibitions and special events.
To get to the planetarium, the Metra is your best bet. Take the red, orange or green line and get off at the Roosevelt CTA stop. From here you can get a 146 bus located at State and Roosevelt Road.
Located along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, only those with a head for heights should visit this attraction. Soaring 1,000 feet into the sky, you’ll not only be rewarded with incredible views of four states, but you’ll also be able to dine in the sky, have an interactive tour and step onto the ‘tilt’ attraction.
To get to 360 Chicago, take the CTA’s #125 Water Tower Express bus. Alternatively, you may wish to get around the city by DIVVY bike. This is the city’s bike sharing system where you can pick up two wheels from hundreds of bike stations. There is one located within walking distance of the attraction – so you have no excuses for getting away with exercise while on holiday.