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How to Get Around in Chicago

How to Get Around in Chicago

You don't need a car to get around Chicago, thanks to a world-class public transit system, compact neighborhoods, and an easy-to-navigate grid layout in the downtown Loop area. Whether you’re keen to explore on foot, by train, or even via the city’s waterways, here are your options for making your way around the Windy City. 

 

Ride the “L” Train

Chicago claims the second-largest public transit network in the US, made up of buses and the city’s signature elevated rail lines, plus underground and street-level trains. You can buy single-ride tickets directly from bus drivers or via vending machines at rail stations. If you're planning to ride frequently, save with a 1- or 3-day unlimited pass. 


Hop On and Hop Off

If taking public transit seems daunting but you still want the flexibility to explore at your own pace, a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour is a user-friendly option. Multiple routes and dozens of stops can get you almost anywhere you want to go in Chicago, and you can learn about passing sights along the way through narration.

 

Catch a Water Taxi or Cruise

With many attractions along the Lake Michigan shoreline and the snaking Chicago River, Chicago can also be explored by water. Catch an affordable water taxi for a fun way to get between landmarks such as the Magnificent Mile, Chicago Riverwalk, and Chinatown. Architecture cruises are a popular way to learn about the city’s signature structures, while Lake Michigan cruises offer a new vantage point on the Chicago skyline, often with included dinner and drinks. 

 

Take a Walk

Chicago is defined by its neighborhoods, so soak up local character on a stroll through walkable “villages” such as Wrigleyville, Hyde Park, Andersonville, Wicker Park, and River North. Walking tours can help you discover ethnic eateries, architectural gems, gangster history, and more. 

 

Bike or Roll on a Segway

To cover more ground and fit in multiple neighborhoods, rent a bike or Segway and explore the city on two wheels. Guided tours can show you the best sightseeing routes, from the Lake Michigan shoreline to Loop landmarks or small-batch breweries.

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9 Tours and Activities

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Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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896
Don’t spend time figuring out what to see in Chicago and how to get there—this hop-on hop-off tour provides a mapped-out itinerary of the city's top sights. With several strategically located stops, the tour allows you to explore the Windy City at your own pace. See the world-class Art Institute and landmark skyscrapers, while audio commentary onboard gives you insight into the city's colorful history.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$26.10
From
$26.10

Chicago Architecture River Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Chicago Architecture River Cruise

star-5
6807
Cruise down the Chicago River to see the city's famous architecture on this boat tour. With commentary from your onboard guide, watch the spectacular skyline glide by, including more than 40 notable buildings like Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building, and the John Hancock Building. Cover all three branches of the Chicago River, passing the East Bank Club, the old Post Office Building and the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$44.69
From
$44.69

Chicago City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture River Cruise

Chicago City Minibus Tour with Optional Architecture River Cruise

star-5
441
Explore Chicago's iconic landmarks on this sightseeing tour led by an expert guide. Board a comfortable, large-windowed minibus and explore downtown and Northside neighborhoods. You have a chance to get out and visit several locations and hear about the historical and cultural factors that make Chicago unique. Upgrade your tour with a popular open-top boat tour on the Chicago River that focuses on the city's renowned architecture.
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  • 2 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$39.95
From
$39.95

Chicago Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

Chicago Premier Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

star-3.5
155
Take a gourmet dinner cruise on a high-end luxury yacht with the stunning skyline of Chicago serving as your backdrop. Climb aboard your recently renovated vessel, featuring a sumptuously-appointed rooftop lounge and stylish interior design, for your cruise along Lake Michigan. Then sit down for a 3-course dinner, informed by some of the world’s top celebrity chefs and composed of fresh ingredients cooked right on-board. After dinner, enjoy coffee and tea, captivating views of Chicago landmarks like the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and Navy Pier, plus musical entertainment provided by the onboard DJ.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
From
$158.98
From
$158.98

Chicago Sunset Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Chicago Sunset Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan

star-4
137
Make your evening in Chicago one to remember with this luxury sunset cruise featuring dinner, sightseeing and dancing along the shores of Lake Michigan. Feast your eyes on incredible views of iconic Windy City sights like Navy Pier, the Willis (Sears) Tower, Buckingham Fountain and Soldier Field, then fill your belly with a bountiful all-you-can-eat buffet. Continue the celebration with a live DJ who will mix up a selection of dance favorites.
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  • 3 hours
From
$115.46
From
$115.46

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Lake Michigan Sightseeing Cruise

star-4.5
324
Take in iconic views of the beautiful Chicago lakefront and its many landmarks during this 40-minute Lake Michigan sightseeing boat cruise. Climb aboard your vessel for a laid-back ride, enjoying panoramic views of the Windy City's skyline from a unique perspective. Along the way, you'll listen to informative commentary and take in views of the John Hancock Center and Willis Tower, along with many other landmarks. Plus feel free to bring your own lunch or grab a drink at the onboard bar, during your ride.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$27.25
From
$27.25

Bikes, Bites, and Brews: Chicago's Signature Dishes Bike Tour

Bikes, Bites, and Brews: Chicago's Signature Dishes Bike Tour

star-5
328
Chicago dogs, deep-dish pizza, cupcakes and craft beer are all sampled on this half-day bike tour through the Windy City. Cover about 13 miles (21 km), following an informative guide at a moderate pace through the Chicago neighborhoods of Wrigleyville, the Gold Coast, Old Town, Lakeview and Lincoln Park. Stop along the way at a popular downtown bakery, pizza shop, hot dog stand and two breweries for a taste of local flavors.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$84.99
From
$84.99

Amazing Lakefront Segway Tour in Chicago

Amazing Lakefront Segway Tour in Chicago

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65
Experience Chicago like never before on this guided, 2.5-hour, small-group Segway tour. Visit popular Grant Park and see famous Buckingham Fountain, with the Windy City skyline as the backdrop. Glide along the lakefront, taking in views of the Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, Adler Planetarium and Michigan Avenue. Guided Segway training plus the use of a helmet are included. Dress in weather-appropriate clothes with flat, closed-toe shoes.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$75.00
From
$75.00

Chicago Family Food & Bike Tour with Top Attractions

Chicago Family Food & Bike Tour with Top Attractions

star-5
46
See Chicago light up with a 4-hour bicycle tour of the Windy City’s most iconic sights and neighborhoods. Follow your guide along a leisurely route, watch the Buckingham Fountain light show and take in daytime or evening views of Millennium Park and the Museum Campus. Sample culinary classics of Chicago, like deep-dish pizza, a true Chicago hot dog, and a tasty dessert for good measure. Upgrade your experience to enjoy a locally crafted beer pairing at three of the food stops. As you pedal through downtown streets, capture unforgettable images of Chicago’s magnificent skyline then finish your tour in the heart of the city.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$74.99
From
$74.99