Enter the Tunnels Underneath the City

Enter the Tunnels Underneath the City

I have a new obsession. A few weeks ago my coworkers and I were heading to lunch, and one of them suggested getting to the restaurant via the pedway. I had never heard of this. Since then, I have spent quite some time winding my way in the tunnels under the city, going blocks and blocks without ever going outside. Have you experienced the Chicago Pedway? Welcome to this week's 'Did you know, Chicago?'.

The Chicago Pedway is a series of underground tunnels and overhead bridges throughout the central business district of the city. The pedway spans about 40 blocks, connecting public and private building, CTA stations and commuter trains.

The pedway was created in 1951 with the first tunnel connecting the Red Line and Blue Line at Washington and Jackson. It was originally built for downtown travelers to pass between buildings without dealing with gross weather.

Most connections are public buildings, but the Heritage at Millennium Park, the Park Millennium, 200 North Dearborn, and the Aqua building are currently the only residential buildings connected to the Chicago Pedway.

The pedway has branched out east into the Illinois Center and Swissôtel. While you can't get to both of these directly from the Loop pedway, they're linked by the Metra Electric Line platform. (You don't need a ticket to go through.)

The pedway isn't just for getting from point A to point B. There are quite a few destination spots under there. Check out all the restaurants, shops and lovely florists in the Illinois Center and the Aon building. Use the pedway to get some tasty treats at the hotel lounges.

Keep an eye out for this sign:

It can get a little confusing along the way, but this sign will let you know that you're still on track.

There are tons of little underground tunnels that aren't technically part of the overall pedway system. You can go between Ogilvie and 2 North Riverside Plaza; there's a passage between the Merchandise Mart and the Apparel Center and there's also a tunnel below Qunicy and the Dirksen building that connects the Red and Blue Line Jackson street stations.

You can take a tour of the pedway with Chicago Elevated. My advice would be to hit the tunnel and see where it takes you. Here's a map. Go have fun!

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