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Public transit is vital to Chicago’s way of life, and CDOT and CTA are partners in this system, sharing common goals and vision that ensures safe and efficient transit service while working together to solving transit problems. The partnership also includes the design and construction of future Bus Rapid Transit facilities across Chicago, as well as the development of bicycle, pedestrian and other inter-modal facilities to provide access to transit or an alternative option to motor vehicle travel. Getting around Chicago on public transit is easy for visitors and tourists, and can really save you money as you explore the Windy City. This guide makes it easy to use the subway “L” trains and buses, and gives you all the information on how to buy and use the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and how to read the maps. All transit (subway trains, buses, Metra Trains) operate through one payment method, called a Ventra Card. All train stations have a Ventra machine for purchasing these passes located just beside the entrance gates.
Pro Tip: The cost of a reloadable card is $5, but you can register that card to receive $5 free ride credit, which gives you your money back!
Chicago uses a color-coded Rail (‘L’) train system that operates on street-level, underground, and on an elevated track.
It’s best to first figure out which of the above lines you are taking, and then look at which stop on that line is closest to your destination.
The Red Line train is one of the most popular and frequent trains, as it runs North and South through Downtown along the coast and stops at the most popular attractions and busiest neighborhoods of Chicago. Remember payment for bus fare in Chicago can be done through a Ventra ticket or cash only (exact change needed). This is separate from the CTA and your Ventra card, but well worth mentioning when discussing how to get around the city.
Here is a list of free apps we recommend you download during your stay in Chicago to help you get around the city easily.
The high-speed Metra commuter train can take you from the downtown area to any of the surrounding suburbs quickly and safely. The base fare for the commuter rail starts at $2.75 for adults and can go up from there depending on the distance you plan to travel and the number of zones you expect to cross. Contact For Rates & Specials!Tour On 2, Inc.Yorkville, Illinois Motorcycle ToursWe offer guided and self guided motorcycle tours in the United States. Contact For Rates & Specials!Best Banquet Halls In Chicago: Martinique Wedding Burbank, Illinois Destination Weddings & CoordinatorsAre you looking for Cotillion Banquets or Wedding Venue in Chicago?
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CTA buses run on the streets CDOT builds, and CTA trains operate on a rail network that includes 50 miles of track and more than 50 stations built and owned by CDOT.
These cards can be purchased at all subway stations for a single ride, or re-loadable pass (see below for information on the free Ventra app).

Trains coming from outside the city enter Downtown Chicago’s “Loop”, and then circle back out to cover the rest of the city (they do a loop, get it?). You can also re-load your registered Ventra Card or buy Metra tickets directly from the app. For tourists visiting the city the 495 miles of commuter rails servicing 241 different stations throughout the city can take you to all sorts of attractions Chicago has to offer.
My name is Master Captain Kelly J Campise and I have been fishing on Lake Michigan for over 35 years. Located in the spot center of lively city life; minutes from the Loop, Millennium Park and Magnificent Mile. Farmlands, rolling hills, small towns and big cities fill this great state; with over 56,000 square miles there is much to explore in Illinois! RealAdventures does not guarantee or warranty the accuracy of the information contained herein. This makes it easy and fast to go anywhere in Chicago from hotels to popular attractions from Downtown! From your seat on the train you can see the beautiful lakefront, ride pass the many museums, zoos, and sporting events and even stop along the way to take in some of the cultural sites of the city including concerts, theaters, orchestras and art exhibits. In rush hours it is better to take subway or Metra to get to the airport than any other transportation. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure the accuracy and clarity of any posted material and to determine the suitability of any service for their particular needs or requirements. The Loop is the busiest and most exciting part of the city, and we offer a pay what you like Loop Tour all year long!
For example, in rush hours it might take over 1.5 hours to get from the Loop to O’Hare Airport by car while Blue Line will get you there in about 40 minutes for the price close to 20x cheaper compare to taking a cab. If you've answered “no” to any of the preceding questions, then traveling by way of the Chicago Transit Authority may be right for you!If you’re just moving to Chicago, the question of whether or not to bring your car, and furthermore what you’re going to do with it once you get here, is presumably a daunting and spiraling series of answerless questions. During the day visit the famous Navy Pier and boardwalk, Millennium Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Likewise, it is the responsibility of advertisers to determine the suitability and credit worthiness of potential customers prior to any transaction. Go shopping on international Oak street or State street and check out Legoland, where artistic masterpieces have been built out of the original tiny, plastic, building blocks. The bus generally gets you closer to your intended destination, but usually takes longer due to its frequency in stops and, depending on the time of day, the traffic flow.
In the evenings splurge on five star dining and head to the famous Buddy Guys bar and club, to hear performances by incredible jazz and blues musicians from around the world. Dona€™t forget to head to the top floor of the nationa€™s tallest building, the Skydeck Chicago of Willis Tower. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to go somewhere at 2 in the morning and a taxi is not an option, the bus is the next best thing in terms of safety.

There is something for everyone to enjoy, and never a dull moment in this great American city.
Next stop head to Americaa€™s heartland and drive the scenic Great River Road, gazing out onto vast farmlands and flat prairies.
Well, the L stops tend to be more enclosed, while bus stops are generally more visible on the streets, and once you’ve boarded, the bus has the added benefit of the driver being with you, rather than in a separate car as they are on the L.And speaking of the drivers, they are yet another great perk of the bus. Or cruise the nationa€™s first highway, the Historic National Road, and stop at a cozy bed and breakfast for the night. I know a few of my drivers by name, one of which I’m sure has saved my soul, telling me to “have a blessed day” every time we cross each other’s paths.
Practice your poker face at one of the seven casinos spread throughout the state, such as Hollywood Casino in Aurora or Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin. And if you’re new to the city, who better to get advice and directions from than someone who rides the streets for a living? If you are planning a family vacation, bring the family to one of Illinoisa€™ nine water parks and stay in a local hotel in the evenings. In my experience, they’re always willing to help, and always display a great deal of patience – although sometimes I’m not sure how.The bus sure sounds awesome, doesn't it? When you think of scuba diving, you usually dona€™t think of Illinois, but you can actually enjoy an afternoon of scuba diving in Mermet Springs. Dona€™t miss out on the unforgettable Heartland River Wine Trail, where you can tour 12 wineries, tasting the delicious locally made wines. With approximately 1,200 rail cars running on 8 routes with 145 stations, it’s faster, and can usually get you within a healthy walking distance of your final destination. Finally stop at the Anderson Japanese Gardens, in Rockford, regarded as the second best Japanese Garden outside of Japan in the world. Things happen in the streets of Chicago that can turn a normal bus ride into a 2-hour tooth-pulling excursion (i.e. Whether you are looking for a relaxing resort vacation, an exciting outdoor adventure, or a city excursion- Illinois is the perfect place to get away. A festival has yet to occur on the rails (which are powered with electric currents rendering any such event impossible), accidents are a rarity, and construction is planned with reroutes to minimize any hassle for commuters.I originated as an L rider, as it seems to be easier to pick up than the bus system, yet both are equally as user friendly. There are several apps (don’t be fooled into paying, the free ones are great) you can download that make it as simple as possible to learn the CTA system, and allow you to enter your current and desired locations to generate the best plan of action via the CTA. They’re FREE!Sure, riding public transportation may be a bit more time consuming, but in the long run, it will save you dented doors, behind-the-wheel-freak-outs, loads of change, and at least 1 parking ticket a month (by my own personal calculations) – which depending on the neighborhood could cost you close to a monthly CTA pass. And on the flip side, if you’re new to Chicago, it’s a great way to see the city for both its amazing qualities and its real qualities that supply and nurture the richness of characters, culture and color.Happy Trails!*All numbers and facts have been pulled from the official site of the CTA.

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