Chicago Basics

Chicago is a world-class city with excellent food and nightlife, enjoyable summer street festivals, great museums, stunning architecture, and some of the best in entertainment and sports. Even in the freezing cold in winter, this city has something for everyone.



Flying into Chicago can be done at both O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. Both airports are well-connected to the city by public transportation and taxis. O’Hare is connected by the CTA Blue Line and Midway is on the CTA Orange Line.


Union Station

Union Station is where Amtrak trains enter and depart from Chicago (we came in on the Empire Builder from Seattle). Megabus services leave from Van Buren Street between South Canal and Clinton (service to Madison, Wisconsin, leaves from Jackson and Canal). Greyhound has two stations in the city center, next to Union Station and 630 W. Harrison.

Union Station in Chicago

Union Station



To get around town, the Chicago Transit Authority runs buses and trains. It’s the second largest public transportation system in the country. Click here for updated fare and pass information.

CTA "L" Tracks in Chicago

“L” Tracks

Clark & Division CTA Red Line in Chicago, Illinois

Clark & Division CTA Red Line

State & Lake CTA station in Chicago, Illinois

State & Lake CTA station

Washington & Wabash "L" Station in Chicago, Illinois

Washington & Wabash

Getting to the Suburbs

If you need to get to the suburbs, there are Pace buses, Metra trains, and NICTD South Shore trains to Northwest Indiana.



For hotels, since I’ve lived in or near Chicago most of my life, I haven’t had to stay at many. I can recommend the Dana Hotel and Spa in River North. It’s located on State and Erie and is a boutique luxury hotel. I stayed here for a friend’s wedding and absolutely loved it. Rooms are very modern and comfortable and there is also a popular nightclub, Vertigo Sky Lounge, on the rooftop.

Dana Hotel in Chicago, Illinois

Dana Hotel

Dana Hotel in Chicago, Illinois

Dana Hotel



Chicago always has something happening. For a schedule of events, nightlife, restaurant recommendations, entertainment, and more, check out Metromix and TimeOut.



Sports lovers will be in heaven in Chicago. There seems to be a professional team playing just about every day of the year as well as NCAA college athletic events. The United Center hosts the Chicago Bulls NBA basketball team and the Chicago Blackhawks NHL hockey team. Soldier Field is the home of the NFL Chicago Bears. The MLS has the Chicago Fire, who play in suburban Bridgeview at Toyota Park. These stadiums often host concerts as well.


United Center in Chicago

United Center

We even have two Major League Baseball teams – the Chicago White Sox on the South Side at US Cellular Field and the Chicago Cubs on the North Side at historic Wrigley Field. The rivalries between baseball fans divide the city every summer (and the rest of the year, to be honest). For the record, I’m a Sox fan.

US Cellular Field in Chicago

US Cellular Field

Wrigley Field in Chicago

Wrigley Field

In addition to the professional teams, US Soccer often plays international friendlies and qualifiers at Soldier Field or Toyota Park. The occasional international tournament is hosted in Chicago as well as club teams from Europe and Mexico playing exhibition games.


Northwestern University in suburban Evanston is the biggest in NCAA athletics, but DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, and Chicago State University all have collegiate athletic programs for both men and women.

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