Chicago has an excellent public transportation system, including the ‘L' or elevated train tracks that run throughout the city. Go sightseeing in Chicago for just the cost of a train ticket to start your custom neighborhood tour.
Exploring the city by ‘L' train is easy. You can buy fare cards and passes from vending machines at some train stations, online at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) website or from certain currency exchanges, grocery stores and drugstores throughout the city and suburbs. For full fare information, schedule details, transit card retailers and maps, visit transitchicago.com.
Create your own hop-on, hop-off Chicago tour with these sample ‘L' train itineraries:
Get off at the Berwyn stop to enjoy a pint and comfort food at gastropub Hopleaf Bar or take in the eccentric charm of Andersonville's Hamburger Mary's. Be sure to stop into the Andersonville Galleria for three levels of independently owned booths selling antiques, jewelry and more.
Exit at Belmont or Addison for Boystown, the epicenter of Chicago's LGBTQ community, and Wrigleyville, one of America's last great neighborhood ballparks. Get a famous Chicago-style dog at Clark Street Dog and take a Wrigley Field Tour. Visit Lakeview's Belmont Theater District where more than 20 theaters and 100-plus bars, restaurants and cafes guarantee a good time.
The Cermak-Chinatown stop will deliver you to one of the largest Chinatown neighborhoods in the country. Stroll Chinatown Square for towering public sculptures, a two-level outdoor retail center and delicious authentic Chinese cuisine (MingHin is a winner).
Stop at Bronzeville-IIT for a dose of African American culture. The Bronzeville Visitor Information Center offers heritage tours and gallery exhibits.
Discover Chicago's South Loop and exit at the Roosevelt stop. The Museum Campus awaits with The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. Snap selfies and get beachside in Grant Park and Northerly Island.
Hit the Morgan stop in the West Loop and browse Randolph Street's restaurants and retail. Treat yourself to culinary masterpieces at Little Goat, Au Cheval or Nellcôte. Or grab a bite in Greektown after visiting the National Hellenic Museum.
The Logan Square stop (and neighboring California stop) will take you to the dynamic neighborhood of the same name. Enjoy local brews at Revolution Brewing and catch some live blues at family-operated Rosa's Lounge.
Next up, visit the Damen and Division stops for vintage boutiques and nightlife along North, Division, Milwaukee and Damen Avenues. Get cozy at The Violet Hour for an award-winning seasonally rotating libations list. Stop into the Flat Iron Arts Building, and peruse the neighborhood's countless art galleries.
Exit the Division or Chicago stops to discover exciting music at the Empty Bottle, delve into Ukrainian culture and explore independent theater companies and colorful museums. Don't miss the Woman Made Gallery.
Get off at the 18th Street stop and delve into the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood. Take in Mexican-American culture, detailed murals, galleries and authentic Mexican eateries. The must-hits: the National Museum of Mexican Art, and Thalia Hall for food, drink and intimate performances.
Use the Adams/Wabash stop to access the Art Institute of Chicago and explore America's greatest collection of Impressionist paintings, including world-famous works by Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh.
Use the Brown Line's Damen or Western stops to access Lincoln Square and Ravenswood, a historically German area with international flair, cobblestone streets and hip restaurants. Book an Eat & Explore Tour and nibble your way through ethnic markets and gourmet shops. Make sure to visit the Lil Street Art Center, the largest visual arts center in Chicago.
Exit Fullerton or Armitage and explore Lincoln Park. Wander the free Lincoln Park Zoo and the Chicago History Museum, pop into boutiques along Armitage and Halsted Avenues, or see a play at the award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
The Sedgwick stop brings you to Old Town where Wells Street tempts with independent art and specialty shops selling everything from cigars to fudge. Get some belly laughs in at The Second City or Zanies Comedy Club and make time for a meal at someplace classic — Orso's Restaurant — or someplace new — Pomp & Circumstance.