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Chicago Public Transit question

Chicago Public Transit question

Old Mar 24, 19, 7:02 pm
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Chicago Public Transit question

We have a one day layover at ORD and we are planning to take the subway downtown to walk the Magnificent Mile ( I think that's what it's called ). From what I can make out we should take the Blue line from the airport and get off at Washington. From there it looks like we can walk. Normally we only stop at West Coast cities where we feel very comfortable. But the only thing we know about Chicago is that it is very dangerous, especially considering us coming from a very safe Japan. Is it safe to walk from the train stop to our destination? There does not seem a direct way to get to Michigan Ave. I guess if you are from Chicago you laugh about this post, but we are really a bit concerned and debate if we should make the trek downtown or stay at the Hilton for the day.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 7:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
We have a one day layover at ORD and we are planning to take the subway downtown to walk the Magnificent Mile ( I think that's what it's called ). From what I can make out we should take the Blue line from the airport and get off at Washington.
Clark/Lake (not Washington) and walk east to Michigan Ave and head north....but, what draws you to the Mag Mile? Lots of non-shopping things to do in Chicago that are accessible by train.

Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
From there it looks like we can walk. Normally we only stop at West Coast cities where we feel very comfortable. But the only thing we know about Chicago is that it is very dangerous, especially considering us coming from a very safe Japan. Is it safe to walk from the train stop to our destination? There does not seem a direct way to get to Michigan Ave. I guess if you are from Chicago you laugh about this post, but we are really a bit concerned and debate if we should make the trek downtown or stay at the Hilton for the day.
The area around which you'll be walking to do this will be full of tourists and is very safe.
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Old Mar 24, 19, 8:07 pm
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Originally Posted by FindAWay View Post
Clark/Lake (not Washington) and walk east to Michigan Ave and head north....but, what draws you to the Mag Mile? Lots of non-shopping things to do in Chicago that are accessible by train.
The area around which you'll be walking to do this will be full of tourists and is very safe.
1. Really, because we don't know nothing about Chicago and that seemed to be the easiest to spend time. Besides inside the airport, we have never been East, except one time in NYC.
Would appreciate if you have some recommendations.

2. Thanks a million. We are relieved. Haven't been to anything east of L.A. for over thirty years,so a bit apprehensive in my mid eighties with my young wife ( She loves when I say that ) of 50 years.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 4:44 am
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Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
1. Really, because we don't know nothing about Chicago and that seemed to be the easiest to spend time. Besides inside the airport, we have never been East, except one time in NYC.
Would appreciate if you have some recommendations.

2. Thanks a million. We are relieved. Haven't been to anything east of L.A. for over thirty years,so a bit apprehensive in my mid eighties with my young wife ( She loves when I say that ) of 50 years.
1. Depends on your interests. Art Institute is easy by train. It is nearby to Cloudgate (the bean). The train goes through the Theater district. Depending on time of year, lots of parks and street festivals outdoors. If summer, a river architecture cruise is a great experience. Many great dining options in River North neighborhood.
2. Of course. I'd be worried more about the weather than crime.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 7:07 am
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Originally Posted by FindAWay View Post
2. Of course. I'd be worried more about the weather than crime.
OP, I'm sure Chicago will feel much safer than the "West Coast" cities you're familiar with. What you hear and read about is largely confined to parts of the city that are nowhere near downtown, the Mag Mile, or anywhere that a typical tourist would go. You should simply take the same precautions you would in any large city and not worry about it.

Just like my experiences in Paris, using the L train (metro in Paris) is likely to be the scariest and most unsatisfying part of your visit.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 11:36 am
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Even when crime does occur downtown, it's usually in the overnight hours.
When is this layover? The Chicago Architecture Foundation's boat tour is a highlight of many spring/summer visits to the city, and a great way to rest your legs for 90 minutes or so. Unless you're heavily invested in shopping, N. Michigan Ave is fairly uneventful. Millennium Park has more to see. Depending on your interests, you may want to take advantage of a Greeter Chicago visit, which is a wonderful free resource, or their Instagreeter walking tours, if the timing is right.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 1:43 pm
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As Chicagoan, here's what I would do:

Blue line to Clark/Lake.
Walk a couple short blocks North the Wacker Drive and turn right (don't cross to the other side). There are some great views walking along Wacker headed toward the lake. Just when you cross Michigan Ave., head down to the dock for the Architectural Foundation River Cruise. You can buy tickets ahead of time, but there is also a booth there, that might be better (even with a line) than trying to book a departure when you're arrival time is 100% certain.

After the River Cruise climb back to Michigan Ave and either head left (south) down Michigan a few blocks to the Art Institute - world class and not to be missed. If you're hungry there are a couple nice places inside for lunch. Or, for a Chicago treat - there is a cheese shop Pastoral, just a few steps down Lake Street West of Michigan. They make killer sandwiches that you can either eat at a couple table inside or take to the park on down Michigan Ave.

Or, turn right, cross the bridge and you'll be on what is known as the Magnificent Mile - really mostly a bunch of stores, but if you want to shop, this is the place. If you walk as far as Oak Street, turn left and you'll be in an area of small boutique shops. You can go up to the top of the building formerly known as the John Hancock for an [overpriced] snack, or there are equally good views from the bar. Many places to eat in this area, everything from Deep Dish Pizza if you must, to high end dining.

By now you may be tired, so get a cab or Uber to take you back to the Clark/Lake El stop - it will only be a few dollars. But, it you have the energy, walk back to Michigan and Randolph and stop in the Cultural Center to see the great interior architecture. Then just a couple blocks back to Clark/Lake.

I'd personally skip Navy Pier on a single day trip, not all that much there.

Every area I've listed is totally safe.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 1:54 pm
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I wouldn't do this late at night and of course one should always be aware (of pickpockets, for example) when walking in USA cities or using public transport. It's also better to always appear to know where you're going as tourists can be targets, so plan ahead and look at a map in advance.

However, if the goal is a nice walk, you could go to the neighborhood of Chicago (Oak Park IIRC) with all of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. (BTW he was the architect for the original historic Imperial Hotel (that was lost to a fire) in Tokyo and the current hotel still shows some of his influence.) This is farther than Michigan Avenue. Closer to O'Hare, you could take a "subway" to Evanston ( a rather nice university suburban town) and walk among some bookshops and coffee houses, but mostly either go toward the Northwestern University campus, which is right on the lake and has walking and bike paths along the shore, or toward the city park along the lake on the southern edge of downtown.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
However, if the goal is a nice walk, you could go to the neighborhood of Chicago (Oak Park IIRC) with all of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. (BTW he was the architect for the original historic Imperial Hotel (that was lost to a fire) in Tokyo and the current hotel still shows some of his influence.) This is farther than Michigan Avenue. Closer to O'Hare, you could take a "subway" to Evanston ( a rather nice university suburban town) and walk among some bookshops and coffee houses, but mostly either go toward the Northwestern University campus, which is right on the lake and has walking and bike paths along the shore, or toward the city park along the lake on the southern edge of downtown.
While I like both Evanston (Northwestern alum) and Oak Park, they are not where I would send a first time tourist unless they specifically were specifically a FLW fan or really wanted to see Northwestern or something like that. Also, Evanston is *not* closer to O'Hare via subway/L, you have to go via the Loop on the Blue Line to get the Purple line, it's a nearly 2 hour trip. The direct bus (Pace suburban service) from O'Hare is not much faster and isn't super frequent.

OP, I agree with what others have said. The boat tour is a highlight (especially in good weather), as is the Bean and the Art Institute. If you want an alternate shopping option to the Mag Mile, Macy's (originally Marshall Field's) is on State much closer to the Bean and Art Institute.
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Old Mar 26, 19, 8:46 am
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Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
1. Really, because we don't know nothing about Chicago and that seemed to be the easiest to spend time. Besides inside the airport, we have never been East, except one time in NYC.
Would appreciate if you have some recommendations.

2. Thanks a million. We are relieved. Haven't been to anything east of L.A. for over thirty years,so a bit apprehensive in my mid eighties with my young wife ( She loves when I say that ) of 50 years.
If art is something that's of high interest, the Art Institute of Chicago might be #1 on your list as it's one of the world's great art museums. I recall once reading it has the largest collection outside of France of French Impressionist art.
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Old Mar 28, 19, 8:28 am
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Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
But the only thing we know about Chicago is that it is very dangerous...
*Sigh* It's not. It's just not. People get these bizarre, warped impressions of Chicago from garbage, tabloid media playing up gang violence in the few and faraway territory neighborhoods, and conclude the Loop is worse than the Syrian civil war.

When I moved here three years ago, even some of my smart friends asked if I wasn't worried about getting shot all the time.

In fact there are dozens of American cities with a worse per capita violence rate, including Kansas City, Baltimore, and St. Louis:

https://madison.com/news/national/th...09b9a57.html#7

How many visitors to Kansas City worry about meeting death on the way to the World War I museum or Arthur Bryant's?

I live near the Hancock Tower, off the Mag Mile. OP, if you'd like to go out for a very safe beer whilst on layover, PM me.
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Old Mar 28, 19, 9:13 am
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I didn't see my post from a couple of days quoted. So I will resend it.

Originally Posted by JBord View Post
OP, I'm sure Chicago will feel much safer than the "West Coast" cities you're familiar with. What you hear and read about is largely confined to parts of the city that are nowhere near downtown, the Mag Mile, or anywhere that a typical tourist would go. You should simply take the same precautions you would in any large city and not worry about it.

Just like my experiences in Paris, using the L train (metro in Paris) is likely to be the scariest and most unsatisfying part of your visit.
Good point and I certainly agree with you having endured the metro.

Originally Posted by FindAWay View Post
1. Depends on your interests. Art Institute is easy by train. It is nearby to Cloudgate (the bean). The train goes through the Theater district. Depending on time of year, lots of parks and street festivals outdoors. If summer, a river architecture cruise is a great experience. Many great dining options in River North neighborhood.
2. Of course. I'd be worried more about the weather than crime.
Thanks for the suggestion. We'll be there April 22 and crossing our fingers as far as weather is concerned.

Added today :

3. All of you have been very, very gracious and so helpful, giving me so many options to work with. That is fantastic and now we are looking forward to our day in Chicago. Wish I could all thank you in person, but this post has do do. Thank you so much. Fly safe, stay safe.
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Old Mar 28, 19, 10:05 am
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We have always enjoyed walking around downtown Chicago as tourists and felt quite safe. If the weather is nice then just walking around is a good experience but the boat tours seem to be recommended. If the weather is not so good then there are many buildings worth looking inside in addition to museums such as the Art Institute. I hope that you enjoy your visit.
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Old Apr 1, 19, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by Exleftseat View Post
I didn't see my post from a couple of days quoted. So I will resend it.



Good point and I certainly agree with you having endured the metro.



Thanks for the suggestion. We'll be there April 22 and crossing our fingers as far as weather is concerned.

Added today :

3. All of you have been very, very gracious and so helpful, giving me so many options to work with. That is fantastic and now we are looking forward to our day in Chicago. Wish I could all thank you in person, but this post has do do. Thank you so much. Fly safe, stay safe.
Have a blast! The Chicago Architectural Center Chicago Architecture Center - CAC has a huge variety of tours in addition to the river boat. They've recently moved to be right at Michigan and the River. Click on Tours then Find a Tour and then in the red box use the down arrow and chose your date.

Here's the list for the 22nd:

https://www.architecture.org/tours/?...019-4-22#tours

you can buy tickets online, and all except the boat tour leave from their headquarters building.

This outfit is fantastic - I know of nothing as comprehensive anywhere else in the world. Docents are uniformly excellent.
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Old Apr 1, 19, 11:47 am
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We visited Chicago this past December so the architectural boat tours were not running - we did a walking tour instead. It was amazing! We walked the Magnificent Mile, and while I always enjoy Christmas lights, we much preferred the architectural tour! We also walked quite a bit everywhere (longer stay, of course, made that possible), including Millennium Park, and went to the Field museum with "local" family one day. Have fun!
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