Visitors Guide to Chicago: Five-Part Series on Getting Around Chicago

Visitors Guide to Chicago: Five-Part Series on Getting Around Chicago

Visitors to Chicago have an amazing smorgasbord of choices when it comes to dining, entertainment, art, events and attractions in the windy city…but where to start?

Emails, we get emails…and not just from out-of-towners.  We hear from suburbs, the city and the world.

From Calgary…
“My sister and I plan to visit Chicago some time in July or August.  Our interests include jazz, architecture, art galleries, museums, water events–please let me know the special events and  highlights (especially jazz) we could expect to experience in Chicago.”

From Chicago…
“My boss and his wife live in London.  They are coming to Chicago, around the 14th of July… I have begun to pull a list of “things to do” together, but am stumbling…Would you be able to help? “

From Toronto…
“ I’m bringing a group of 20 from Toronto for the Arlington Million and would appreciate some ideas for night life – jazz clubs, restaurants, etc. and sightseeing…”

From Lakeview…
I have a second date on…picking her up at 2:30.  Ideas?”

From Aurora…
We plan to take the Metro train into Chicago.  We are bringing 5 children (ages 3 to 13 years old.) What can we do when we are downtown?

From Sydney…
“We are visiting Chicago in mid-July and need a hotel room with a view of Millennium Park that allows smoking in the room. Please help!”

Although we do our best to answer individual requests we do miss a few. In the next few weeks we will look at some of the traditional foods you may want to check out on a visit to Chicago; the can’t miss attractions; the nightlife and family friendly fun.  Today we kick off our five-part series with how and where you can get a jump-start on your visit.


The Official Visitor Information Centers site offers an online visitors guide to Chicago that covers dining, hotels, events, the neighborhoods and more.  You can also request a hard copy of the Chicago Official Visitors Guide which will be mailed to you free of charge.  OR you can download their mobile app, subscribe to their E-Newsletter or contact them all from the same site.


Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago operates two year-round official visitor information centers at:

  • The Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington St. in downtown Chicago
  • And the Chicago Water Works at 163 E. Pearson, just off the Mag Mile.

Both locations offer free brochures, multilingual maps and offer a staff  to help with navigating the city and planning customized itineraries. Hours are: Sunday 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and Monday through Saturday 9:30a.m. to 6 p.m.  Hours are subject to change seasonally and on some holidays, so check in advance.

Chicago Greeters

Chicago Greeters are made up of a group of trained resident volunteers who know and love Chicago. The Greeter program offers free walking tours of the city where visitors can explore neighborhoods, learn about the history, the architecture, the culture and more.  Reservations are required for Greeter Tours.  Click here for reservations and more information.


Even easier, Instagreeter offers free, one hour guided tours/walks of Chicago neighborhoods and popular attractions with no reservations required.  Loop InstaGreeter tours are available year round on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from the Chicago Cultural Center’s Visitor Center at 77 E. Randolph.  For other InstaGreeter tours, click here.

Getting Around Town

Chicago has one of the best public transportation systems in the country. To get from here to there on the CTA, click here, for maps, schedules, costs and to download the Transit App.  Other options for getting around town, in addition to walking, include Divvy Bikes and taxis, that are easily available on most city streets in the downtown area and many neighborhoods.

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Filed under: Chicago Tourism.

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