HOW TO HAIL A CAB
- Cabs are harder to find in residential neighborhoods and less densely populated areas of the city. If you're trying to get a cab in one of these areas, find a busy intersection.
- Stand on the curb facing oncoming traffic. DO NOT stand in the street.
- Cabs that are available will have the light atop their cars turned on. Raise your hand as the cab approaches to gain the driver's attention.
- If cabs are unavailable or if you have difficulty finding one, call a cab company and give them a pickup location (i.e. a nearby address or intersection).
HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CAB FARE
- Most cabs can accept credit card payments. That said, it's wise to ask your driver ahead of time, particularly if you're not carrying enough cash to cover your fare.
- Cab fare in Chicago starts at $3.25 as soon as you enter the vehicle. From there, your fare will increase $0.20 for every 36 seconds of elapsed time. A clearly displayed meter is a fixture of every cab, which allows you to monitor fare increases.
- Most cabs charge flat rates for transportation downtown to and from the airports (O'Hare and Midway). Typically, these rates are posted in your cab.
- If you're sharing your cab with one passenger, there is an additional $1 charge. For each passenger extra, there is an additional $0.50 charge.
- To compensate for rising gas costs, a new city ordinance allows a surcharge of $1 to be added to all fares when the average price for a gallon of gas exceeds $3.20 in the Chicago area for seven consecutive business days.
- It's standard to tip the driver about 15 percent of your total fare. If your driver helps you with your baggage, and additional $1 or $2 per bag can be added.
FINDING TRANSPORTATION FOR VISITORS WITH DISABILITIES
- Minivans equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps, securements and seatbelts are offered by man cab companies in Chicago
- To order an accessible taxi, call the toll-free centralized dispatch service at 1.800.281.4466
- Chicago's public transportation system is available for individuals with disabilities and offers a reduced fare. For accessible trains and buses and to plan an accessible route, visit http://tripsweb.rtachicago.com.
- For information on Chicago's curb-to-curb "dial a ride" service, visit http://www.pacebus.com.
TIPS FOR TRAVEL SERVICES
- Tipping is customary, but not necessary if you feel you've been mistreated or received particularly poor service. Ask to speak to a supervisor first, skipping a tip is sometimes perceived as insulting.
- In restaurants: tip servers 15-20% of the bill. Bartenders should receive roughly $1 per drink with extra compensation for specialty cocktails. In self-serve food establishments, tipping is optional. If you're receiving food that is delivered, a suggested tip is around 10% of your bill.
- In hotels: if the concierge arranges tickets, a dinner reservation or another specific service, tip a minimum of $5. Valet drivers should receive $2 or $3 and the doorman should be given $2 for hailing a cab or assisting you with luggage.
- As spas and salons: Leave a 20% tip for your stylist or service provider.
- If driving a private vehicle, you are required to possess a valid driver's license and insurance. International driver are not required to carry an international driving permit in the U.S., but must possess a photo ID along with their native driver's license.
- In Chicago, talking on your cell phone while driving a car is illegal. Fines range from $50 to over $200 plus court costs.
- Consuming alcohol while traveling in a vehicle is illegal for drivers AND passengers. Specially chartered vehicles like limousines and particular kinds of buses are an exception.
- It is illegal to transport alcohol with a broken seal. If you're transporting alcohol with a broken seal, open bottles should be stored in the trunk. Violators face fines up to $2,500.
- Carry a copy of your prescription for any or all drugs you are taking in the U.S.
- Some drugs that are common or legal in other countries may require a prescription or could be totally illegal in the U.S.
- You are required to report all imported medications to U.S. Customs
- Carry all prescription medications in their original and intended containers
VISITOR RESOURCES AND SERVICES
Information in this section provided by www.ChooseChicago.com in January 2014.
Official Visitor Information Centers
Choose Chicago operates two year-round official visitor information centers: at the Chicago Cultural Center at 72 E. Randolph St, (near the Hyatt Regency) and Chicago Water Works. Located in the city’s downtown area, the official visitor information centers are accessible and convenient to popular visitor areas. Together the centers welcome over half a million visitors a year.
You'll find a dedicated team of City Concierges ready to welcome you and help make the most of your time in Chicago. Stop by for free brochures, multilingual maps and complimentary concierge services. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you navigate the city, plan customized itineraries, and find exciting attractions and events.
With a City Concierge you can also:
- Make dining reservations at local restaurants via OpenTable
- Purchase Chicago CityPASS
- Book sightseeing tours through Chicago Architecture Foundation (for sale at both locations) and Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. (for sale only at the Chicago Cultural Center location)
Inside the Chicago Water Works location on the Magnificent Mile, check out the discount Hot Tix outpost for half-price theater tickets to more than 200 local theater companies through the League of Chicago Theatres. In the Loop, two additional Hot Tix outposts are across the street from the Chicago Cultural Center at 72 E. Randolph Street and in Block 37 at 108 N. State Street.
Places of Worship
Chicago has an extremely diverse population, and visitors can find any number of religious institutions throughout the city for just about any faith.
Following is a brief sampling of places of worship in the downtown Loop and Magnificent Mile area.
Buddhist Temple of Chicago
1151 W. Leland Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
Old St. Patrick's Church
700 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661
Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist
55 E. Wacker Dr.
Chicago IL 60601
St. James Cathedral
65 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
1017 N. LaSalle Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610
Chicago Loop Synagogue
16 S. Clark St.
Chicago IL 60603
First St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
1301 N. LaSalle Dr.
Chicago IL 60610
First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple
77 W. Washington St.
Chicago IL 60602
Downtown Islamic Center
231 S. State St.
Chicago IL 60604
Fourth Presbyterian Church
126 E. Chestnut St.
Chicago IL 60611
No one wants to get sick when they're away from home, but if it happens, you'll be in good hands. Chicago offers a number of internationally-ranked hospitals, many in close proximity to downtown.
|Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
836 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, IL 60657
|Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
225 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611 312.227.4000
|Mercy Hospital & Medical Center
2525 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 312.567.2000
|Northwestern Memorial Hospital
251 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611
|Rush University Medical Center
1653 W. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL 60612 312.942.5000
|The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
|University of Illinois Hospital & Health Science System
1740 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60612
TRAVELERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Chicago was voted one of America's most disability-friendly cities by the National Organization on Disability, Chicago is accessible for visitors with special needs.
Here are some resources:
Easy Access Chicago (773.388.8839) offers comprehensive accessibility information more than 100 top attractions, transportation, O'Hare / Midway airports, hotel, restaurants, and more. You'll also find listings of accessible tours and key disability services. You can also download the guide now.
Scootaround Wheelchair & Scooter Rentals (888.441.7575) provides a wide range of mobility solutions including renting mobility scooters, wheelchairs, and power chairs.
Accessible Journeys (800.846.4537) provides accessible vacation planning and group tours as well as licensed travel companions for slow walkers and wheelchair travelers. Check out their comprehensive information for travel professionals.
The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities provides information on accessibility at the city's many lakefront festivals, wheelchair accessible taxicabs, renting hand cycles, and much more.
Deaf Communication by Innovation provides qualified sign language interpreters / translators for travelers.
Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority (312.836.7000; TTY: 312.836.4949) provides accessibility services and resources for Metra commuter rail and PACE suburban bus services.
SCR Medical Transportation (773.768.7000) offers 24-hour dispatching utilizing wheelchair accessible minivans, 15-passenger vans, and wheelchair assessable coaches and sedans.
Taxi Access Program (800-281-4466) is the dispatch service for more than 20 taxicab companies which operate wheelchair accessible minivans equipped with ramps, wheelchair securements, and shoulder seat belts.