Chicago Travel Information
When to Go
The hot Chicago summer is the peak of the festival season, with major events taking place in the parks and neighbourhoods every weekend. September is blessed with reliably warm days and is probably the most pleasant month of the year, weather wise, but there's less going on during this period.
They don't call it the 'Windy City' for nothin'. There's everything from cool, God-sent lake breezes at the height of summer to skirt-raising gusts in the spring to spine-chilling, nose-chiselling blasts of icy air in the winter.
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Chicago is served by two main airports. O'Hare International (ORD), 27km (17mi) northwest of downtown, is the one of the world's busiest air hubs; Midway (MDW), 19km (12mi) southwest of downtown, is much smaller and is primarily served by domestic carriers.
Chicago is thoroughly served by public transport networks of buses and trains. The Chicago Transit Authority operates the city bus and train network, including both elevated (El) and subway trains.
Chicago has 120 miles of bike lanes. Request a free map from the city's transportation department. Bike racks are plentiful; the biggest, with showers, is at McDonalds Cycle Center. Lock it or lose it.
Driving in Chicago is a challenge. The pace is speedy and reckless, and Chicago drivers have little patience for slow-driving tourists.
On buses, you can use a fare card (called a Transit Card) or pay with exact change. On the train, you must use a Transit Card, which is sold from vending machines at train stations. Day passes provide excellent savings, but they can be purchased only at airports or downtown currency exchanges.
Taxis are plentiful in the Loop, north to Andersonville and west in Wicker Park. Simply stand on the curb and raise your arm to hail one. In other parts of the city, you can either call a cab or face what may be a long wait for one to happen along.