If looking for a fun and interesting winter break, head to Chicago.
The city is about all shopping the Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue and seeing public sculptures around almost every downtown corner.
It is about enjoying the seascape of Lake Michigan and creatures of the sea at the Shedd Aquarium.
However, Chicago is best enjoyed when you know how to get around the town.
Here are five tips to doing Chicago like a travel pro:
- If flying in to O’Hare International Airport, you can take the subway system downtown. The Chicago Transit Authority, popularly called the CTA, has a station downstairs of O’Hare’s baggage claim area. Its Blue Line will take you from O’Hare to Randolph Street near theaters and hotels. Visit CTA and go to Trip Planner. The Trip Planner extimates travel time at about 45 minutes but driving the Kennedy Highway from the airport can take an hour when backed up and then driving into the downtown area from the highway can take a good 15 minutes more.
- If taking an Amtrak train to Chicago’s Union Station, you have a choice of buses to take from Union Station’s cross streets to the city’s main shopping areas and attractions. Go to CTA Trip Planner for options.
- Chicago is as much a destination for suburbanites and residents of nearby towns as it is for visitors. But public transportation is still a good choice to avoid traffic congestion and highly taxed parking garages. Visit Metra for stations and times and visit the CTA Trip Planner for bus options from the Ogilvie Transportation Center or Union Station.
- Chicago is a CityPASS town. The pass saves big bucks and time when trying to fit in more than one attraction. It allows entry to the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium or Art Institute, the SkyDeck at Willis Tower (formerly Sears) and the Museum of Science and Industry or the John Hancock Observatory. The pass typically means not having to stand in line to for tickets.
- World class museums are certainly a draw but there also are events, neighborhoods, public sculpture, parks and many more sights and activities so check out the city’s official visitor site: Explore Chicago to see what is happening when you plan to come to town. The site also lists hotel packages. Now wishing you world class fun.
All photos by and copyrighted to Jodie Jacobs