Public transportation systems are still the most popular ways to get around a big city, but it’s not the only way. There have been major advancements in the ways that you can get around, like rideshare services, but traditional ways of getting around (like walking) are still popular. Using a combination of different ways to get around is also very common. Here are five ways to get around big cities— specifically, Chicago.
Despite their size, the majority of large cities are actually walkable. This is because most of the tourist attractions are situated in their downtown areas, and the actual downtown area of a city is just a small portion of the city. Chicago is no exception to this rule, as there are scenic walking trails along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Just make sure to wear good walking shoes if this is your preferred method of getting around.
Walking in Chicago is great exercise and it’s a great way to see the city because you can go at your own pace. However, walking is more time-consuming, plus it’s better when there’s good weather and it’s safer to do it in the daylight. Still, it’s the least expensive option when it comes to getting around the city.
Rideshares like Uber and Lyft are becoming increasingly popular in both large and smaller cities. While rideshares have replaced taxis, for the most part, there are still taxi services in the U.S., with Chicago having its own taxi service called “Curb”. This transportation option is best when your destination is supported by the train or bus systems.
Taxis and rideshare services are popular among the locals of Chicago because they’re convenient, time-savers, and a generally safe option. The only downside to this option is that it’s usually pricier than the public transportation system.
By far, public transportation is the best and easiest way to get around the city of Chicago, and many other large U.S. cities. Chicago’s public transportation system is known as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), it’s the third largest public transportation system in the U.S., and it consists of a train and bus service.
Chicago also has one of the easiest navigable transit systems in the U.S. because all of the train and bus lines are laid out like a grid. All of the train lines meet downtown and form a loop. In Chicago, public transportation is the cheapest option, though sometimes these systems can be delayed— particularly the bus system.
Large cities that range in size from New York to Atlanta are known for their hectic traffic, yet not all big cities are an example of a traffic nightmare. Chicago is a very driveable city, even being the third most populous city in the U.S. (right after Los Angeles and New York). Many residents of the city use driving as their way of getting around, and renting a car and driving is a viable option for visitors as well.
Driving around Chicago saves time, gives you more freedom and flexibility, and is a more comfortable option for most people. On the other hand, it can be more of a hassle, especially if you’re not used to driving in big cities. It can also be difficult to find parking spaces, and parallel parking is very common in big cities.
Biking through a large city gives you the steady-ish pace of walking combined with the less time-consuming speed of taking transportation. It’s a great option during the warmer months, and Chicago offers bike rentals by Lyft.
Like walking, biking around a city is a great form of exercise and it’s also more eco-friendly than using any other mode of transportation. However, biking can be dangerous, as bicycle accidents are common in Chicago with 55% of Illinois’s bike accidents occurring in The Windy City. It’s also important to know that cyclists are treated like drivers according to Illinois law.
Not all big cities are exactly like Chicago, but they are all generally the same when it comes to getting around the city. Of course, you’ll have to do your research to determine the best mode of transportation for the city that you’re visiting, and your preferences will also play a role in the type of transportation you choose. However, all of these modes of transportation are overall good options when you need to get around Chicago.