It’s easy to get around Chicago without a car. Here are my favorites ways, and the apps that make transportation in the Windy City a breeze.
My discount codes are at the end.
Getting around Chicago
Apps You'll Need:
• Ventra – For the L trains and buses.
• Via – Black car service for $3.95
• Uber – On-demand car service.
• SpotHero – Discounted parking
• ParkWhiz – Discounted parking
• Google Maps – Helpful for direction on L trains
1. The L
This stand for “elevated train.” Chicago has 144 rail stations throughout the city, and they are relatively easy to navigate – especially with help from Google Maps. I’m a big fan of using the L to beat traffic.
Cost: $2.25 per ride. It’s cheaper if you get a pass.
Pro Tip: If you are headed to Chicago from O’hare Airport, the Blue Line will take you right downtown. Take the Orange Line if you’re coming from Midway Airport.
2. Water Taxi
During the warm months, you can cruise to many of the city’s top tourist spots by boat. The Chicago Water Taxi or Shoreline Water Taxi will take you to places like Michigan Avenue, China Town, and the Museum Campus. You’ll take in beautiful views of Chicago’s architecture along the way.
Cost: $8 per ride. Day passes are available.
Pro Tip: Go at sunset for a spectacular view.
3. On-Demand Car Service
Download the Uber and Via apps to order a car on-demand. Prices are cheaper than a taxi, and it’s super convenient. Via offers black car service throughout downtown for a flat fee of $3.95, although there’s a chance you’ll be carpooling with someone headed in the same direction.
Pro Tip: If you’re taking Uber from the airport, go to the designated ride-sharing pickup area. At Midway, it’s the Departures level at door UL1. At O’Hare, it’s upstairs at Departures.
Tip 2: Use a promo code to ride for free (see mine at the end), and then share your own code with friends to rack up free rides.
Rent a bike and ride around the city. Take advantages of Chicago’s 18-mile lakefront trail that goes to the Museum Campus. The new 606 path is a popular place to bike as well. Check out routes here: ChicagocompleteStreets.org. Bike rentals: Divvy or Bike and Roll.
Pro Tip: Bike and Roll offers helmets, Divvy does not.
Chicago is a walkable city, so get outside and explore! The new Riverwalk is a great place to start.
Pro Tip: Use Google Map’s walking tab for directions by foot.
Download the ParkWhiz or SpotHero apps. They’ll locate available parking spots for you at a discounted rate. It's not hard to find a spot in a prime downtown location for the evening for $12. Use a promo code (mine is below) for even greater savings.
Pro Tip: Stick to #1-5. Remember, it's easy to get around downtown without a car!
My Promo Codes
You can likely find promo codes online, but feel free to use mine and we’ll both get credits. Teamwork! (High five)
• Uber – Type “uberLizFay” in the app's Promotions tab for $15 off your first ride.
• Via – Type “elizabeth4y4” in the app's Promo Codes tab for $10 off your first ride.
• SpotHero – Sign up through spothero.com/invite/is-w4lr3y for $5 off.