Traffic

Public Transportation

Chicago has an excellent public transportation system. Bus drivers and agents at every rapid transit station are there to assist you. The transit system is called the Chicago Transit Authority, also known as the CTA. The rail system can also be referred to as the 'L".

The CTA cash fare is $2.25 for adults and $1 for children ages 7-11. Kids under 7 ride free. Visitor passes, good for unlimited rides for 3 or 7 days on CTA trains and buses, are available at the CTA stations at O'Hare and Midway airports and official Chicago Visitor Centers at 163 E. Pearson St. and 77 East Randolph St. Passes for 1 or 30 days may be purchased at CTA headquarters. See website for details. Passes can also be purchased online.

CTA maps are available at 'L' stations, official Visitor Information Centers and many hotels. The CTA Web site www.transitchicago.com has more information, including maps and a trip planner.

Metra Rail

Metra commuter trains serve several Chicago neighborhoods and hundreds of suburbs in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Trains arrive and depart from Union Station, 225 S. Canal St.; Ogilvie Transportation Center, 500 W. Madison St.; LaSalle Station, 414 S. LaSalle St.; and Millennium Station, Michigan Avenue between South Water and Randolph Streets. Tickets can be purchased at the train stations or on the train for an additional fee. Fares are based on the length of the trip.

Pace Buses

Pace buses primarily serve Chicago suburbs and make limited stops within the city. A trip planner covering public transportation throughout the Chicago metropolitan area is available at tripsweb.rtachicago.com.

Public Transportation for People with Disabilities

CTA, Pace and Metra are wheelchair accessible, though some train stations are not accessible. Check their websites for additional information.

If you're ADA paratransit eligible in your hometown, you may extend it to your Chicago visit. Once RTA-certified, you're also eligible for the Taxi Access Program vouchers for reduced-rate taxi rides.

If you use a wheelchair, your vouchers can also be used in any of the wheelchair accessible minivans. To order one of these minivans, call central dispatch at 1.800.281.4466.

For more accessibility information, visit Easy Access Chicago.

Liveries and Taxis

All Chicago taxis are licensed and recognizable by the numbered metal medallions attached to their hoods.

Currently, the base Chicago taxi fare is $2.25 and increases $.20 for each additional 1/9 of a mile (or 36 seconds). Plus, there's a $1 charge for the first additional passenger ages 12–65, $.50 for each additional passenger and a $1 fuel surcharge. Tips are accepted for good service.

First time in Chicago? Click here for additional Travel Tips.

Water Taxis

Water Taxis provide seasonal ferry service on the Chicago River, offering a convenient and uniquely scenic way of getting around downtown Chicago and surrounding areas.

Wendella's Chicago Water Taxi service links the Metra and Amtrak commuter train stations at Madison Street to theMagnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue and River North Arts District at LaSalle Street, with extended service to Chinatown on weekends. These operate seven days a week and tickets may be purchased onboard any water taxi, at the Wendella ticket office at 400 N. Michigan Ave., or at one of the Wendella kiosks located at the Madison Street or Michigan Avenue water taxi docks. One-way fares start at $2; one-day passes range from $4-$6, and multiple ride passes are available for $16 (ten rides) or $46 (unlimited monthly pass). Please visit www.chicagowatertaxi.com for Wendella Chicago Water Taxi dock locations and complete schedule.

Shoreline Water Taxi provides service between Union Station/Sears Tower (200 S. Wacker) and the Museum Campus, with stops at the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Navy Pier. Shoreline Water Taxis run Memorial Day to Labor Day, from 10 am to 6 pm. Tickets are $3-$13 and may be purchased at convenient dock-side ticket kiosks. From May 1 to September 30, Shoreline Water Taxi also operates a rush hour commuter service between Union Station/Sears Tower and the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Commuter service runs 7 - 9:30 am, and 4 - 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday; tickets are $2 (one-way) or $1.50 (roundtrip). Please visit www.shorelinewatertaxi.com for dock locations and complete schedule.

Airport Shuttles

Go Airport Express operates a shuttle that provides daily, shared ride, door-to-door service to and from O'Hare and Midway Airports between 4 am and 11:30 pm. Shuttles depart approximately every 10 - 15 minutes outside the baggage claim area on the Lower Level of the Domestic and International Terminals. Fares range from $23-$28, with group rates available for 2 or more passengers. Please visit www.airportexpress.com/ for more details.

Pedicabs

Besides traditional taxi services, foot-powered taxis (pedicabs) are available seasonally.

Car Rental

Most car rental companies have operations at O'Hare and Midway Airports downtown and in some neighborhoods. I-GO and Zipcar both operate car sharing programs in Chicago.

Driving in Chicago

You can get detailed Chicago driving directions, highway information in and out of the city, and airport directions from the Illinois Department of Transportation. Maps are available at official Visitor Centers and online. Visit the City of Chicago's comprehensive traffic information website to plan your best route around the city.

A few things to remember while driving in Chicago:

  • The use of hand-held cell phones and text messaging while driving is forbidden.
  • Chicago is a bicycle-friendly city. As a driver, you're responsible for looking out for cyclists.
  • It's a good idea to steer clear of rush hour from about 7- 9:30 am and 4 -7 pm (starts a little earlier on Fridays and holidays).
  • Read street signs carefully for parking restrictions.
First time in Chicago? Click here for additional Travel Tips.

Motorcoach Parking

For Motorcoach parking information please visit this site.

Chicago's Grid System

Chicago's streets follow a grid pattern, intersected by a few major diagonal streets. The city's center is the intersection of State and Madison Streets (0 North, South, East and West). Addresses radiate outward and increase in increments of 100 per block.

Biking

Biking is a fun and healthy way to visit the Windy City – not to mention the schedule is completely your own! Chicago is one of the nation's most bicycle-friendly cities, with more than 100 miles of bike lanes, 50 miles of bike paths and 10,000 bike racks, more than any other city in the United States. Bicycles are permitted on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) trains and the CTA's 2,000 buses are equipped with bike racks.