Fall is beautiful in Chicago as the leaves turn and temperatures start to cool off. October is usually the driest month. Average temperatures start off around 70°F (21°C) and gradually drop into the mid-40's (7°C) as it gets closer to winter. Rainfall is about 2.7 - 3.3 inches (69 - 84 mm). Check www.weather.com closer to your dates of travel for short term weather forecasts.
GETTING AROUND CHICAGO
Chicago is a walking city with an easy-to-navigate downtown grid. Madison Street divides the city north and south, while State Street divides it east and west. The State/Madison intersection marks the origin of Chicago's address grid system. Addresses are relative to the distance from that mark, with eight blocks to every mile. So an address of 3600 North Clark means that it is 36 blocks north of Madison.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation's second largest public transportation system – serving the City of Chicago and 40 neighboring communities by rail and bus. Pay cash for single trip rides or purchase a reloadable Transit Card or Unlimited Ride Pass for added savings.
For full fare information and maps, visit the Chicago Transit Authority website at transitchicago.com. Also look to their site for the latest updates to train schedules and routes that may affect your travel plans.
‘L' Trains: Not all of Chicago's eight ‘L' lines are "elevated." They do, however, connect the city via above-ground, street-level and subway trains and serve 144 rail stations all over town, making the ‘L' one of the most efficient and affordable methods of transportation available. Two lines operate 24 hours a day: the Blue Line, which connects the airport and downtown, and the Red Line, with service between the North and South Sides via downtown.
Buses: More than 100 routes lace the city; buses stop every few blocks. Several lines operate 24 hours a day. Exact change is required for cash fare.Full Fare with Cash (bus only)
Acceptable on buses using exact change only in dollar bills or coins; no transfers available.
- Single ride: $2.25
Transfers must occur within two hours of the first ride. Available online and at rail station vending machines and Chicago Visitor Information Centers.
- First ride: $2.00 (bus)
- First ride: $2.25 (rail)
- First transfer: $0.25
- Second transfer: FREE
- A $5 O'Hare rate applies to riders paying full fare with Transit Card at the O'Hare Blue Line Station.
- First ride if starting at O'Hare: $5.00
- First transfer: $0.25
- Second transfer: FREE
Activated on first use, passes allow unlimited rides for the specified time, offering the best travel value. Available online and at select Currency Exchanges, Jewel and Dominick's grocers, and CVS and Walgreens convenience stores
- 1-Day CTA Fun Pass: $10.00
- 3-Day CTA Pass: $20.00
- 7-Day CTA Pass: $28.00
The high-speed Metra commuter rail train connects outlying suburbs to downtown and is an easy way to get into the heart of the city fast. For exact fares and route maps, visit the Metra website at metrarail.com.
- Single trip: $2.75 and up based on zones traveled
- 10-ride pass: $27.50 and up based on zones traveled
Taxis are plentiful and easy-to-hail downtown and at the airports, and offer a convenient way to get around the city. Credit cards are accepted in all cabs by city mandate. It is standard to tip the driver about 15-20% of the fare, plus $1-2 per bag if the driver helps you with luggage. Please note that all fares are subject to change. Sample taxi fare between downtown and O'Hare Airport is $40-50, and between downtown and Midway Airport is $30-35.
- Taxis charge a base rate of $2.25 for the first 1/9 mile, plus, $0.20 for each additional 1/9 mile.
- If a gas surcharge is in effect, a sign will be displayed inside the taxicab and a surcharge may apply. Tolls are an extra charge. Taxis charge $1 for the first additional passenger over age 12 and under age 65; each additional passenger after that is $0.50.
For fast, affordable and fun connections between Chicago's top tourist destinations, Chicago Water Taxi by Wendella Boats and Shoreline Water Taxi are the perfect combination of sightseeing and convenient transportation. During the warm weather season, travel on these fun water rides to popular visitor sites such as Chinatown, Museum Campus, Willis Tower, Michigan Avenue, Union Station and more. For exact fares and route maps, visit chicagowatertaxi.com or shorelinesightseeing.com/watertaxis.
- Single ride: $3.00-8.00
- Day pass: $11.00-29.00
GETTING TO CHICAGO
Situated squarely in the center of the country, Chicago is easy to travel to from virtually everywhere. Thanks to thousands of flights options at two international airports, six class-one railroads, a vast network of major highways and a wide variety of airlines, it is one of the most cost-competitive and convenient cities for domestic and international travel.
O'Hare International Airport, located 17 miles from downtown, is one of the largest airports in the world. It is North America's major international gateway airport, servicing over 67 million passengers to and from over 200 destinations around the globe. The O’Hara website is www.flychicago.com and provides a plethora of information.
Flights from the West Coast average 4 hours and flights from the East Coast and Southern coasts are 2 hours.
Visit flychicago.com for details on parking, amenities, flight status, terminal maps and more for both O'Hare and Midway airports.
- Average Domestic Flight Times to Chicago
- Average International Flight Times to Chicago
Both airports offer plentiful taxi service to downtown and the suburbs. Rates range from $40-50 from O'Hare, and $30-40 from Midway. Rates vary based on travel time and are subject to change.
The Chicago Transit Authority serves both airports for easy and economical travel between downtown and Chicago neighborhoods using the 'L' train. The 24-hour CTA Blue Line connects directly to O'Hare and the CTA Orange Line connects directly to Midway. Read more on getting around Chicago with public transportation or visit transitchicago.com/airports for full fare information and maps.
GO Airport Express www.airportexpress.com provides shared ride services to all downtown/suburban hotels and many businesses. Pair fares and group discounts are available along with customized reservation portals for your groups. Shared van rates are $ 14 - $ 16 one way, plus tip. Private 9 passenger vans are $162 plus tip. Private sedan for 1 person is $ 88 plus tip.
Many major car rental companies have facilities at the O'Hare and Midway Airports, including Avis, Alamo, Budget and Hertz. Please visit specific rental company websites for details.
Other limousine and chauffer agencies serving the airport prefer that all customers reserve cars at least 48 hours in advance although cars can occasionally be ordered with a two-hour notice. Car services to consider: All American Limousine 773-992-0902; Crown Cars & Limousines 847-803-0005; Echo Limousine 773-774-1074; or Go Airport Express 773-843-3053.GETTING HERE BY CAR
With its central geographic location and status as a hub for major interstates, Chicago is convenient to drive to from every region in the country. In fact, more than 20 million people live within a three-hour drive of the city.
Average Drive Times to Chicago:
- 3 hours Indianapolis, Quad Cities
- 5 hours Cincinnati, Detroit, St Louis
- 6-7 hours Cleveland, Minneapolis
- 8-9 hours Kansas City, Pittsburgh
Chicago is accessible via several major interstates and highways: I-90 (Kennedy Expressway), I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway), I-55 (Stevenson Expressway), I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway), I-294 (Tri-State Tollway).
Use this fully-interactive parking map to search for parking options in downtown Chicago which will be less expensive than the hotel parking: http://www.chicagoparkingmap.com/map_static.jsp.
GETTING HERE BY BUS
Greyhound Lines, Inc. is the largest provider of intercity bus transportation, serving more than 3,800 destinations with 13,000 daily departures across North America. Greyhound has five metro-Chicago locations, including two 24-hour stations and 20 express routes to major US cities.
Megabus.com is the first, low-cost, express bus service to offer city-to-city travel for as low as $1 via the Internet. Since launching in April 2006, megabus.com has served more than 22 million customers throughout more than 120 cities across North America.
GETTING HERE BY TRAIN
Amtrak serves Chicago with about 50 trains arriving and departing daily. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, the national rail operator Amtrak offers more than 300 trains each day—at high speeds up to 150 mph—to more than 500 destinations. The South Shore Line services Chicago through Northern Indiana to the South Bend Airport.