The Advantages of Riding Public Transit Around Downtown Chicago

Fernando Meyer


Navigating the bustling streets of Downtown Chicago can be an adventure in itself. With its towering skyscrapers, vibrant cultural scene, and lakeside attractions, the Windy City offers an urban experience like no other. However, getting around this bustling metropolis doesn’t have to be a daunting task, thanks to the city’s comprehensive public transit system. Opting for public transit over personal vehicles comes with a plethora of benefits, from cost savings to environmental advantages. Let’s dive into why catching a ride on Chicago’s public transit is your best bet for exploring downtown.

When our family visited Chicago last summer, one of our friends recommended that we leave our car at the hotel and take public transit around the city instead. Chicago’s Public Transit system (known as the Chicago Transit Authority or CTA) is an amazingly efficient way to get around the city.

Even though not having a car did pose a few drawbacks, such as missing out on a drive along North Shore Drive, the advantages of riding public transit outweighed the disadvantages. Here are some of the ways public transit made sightseeing in Chicago easier and more enjoyable for us.

Less stress

First off, the convenience of Chicago’s public transit is unmatched. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates an extensive network of buses and trains that connect every corner of the city. The ‘L’ train system, with its elevated tracks, offers not only a speedy commute but also stunning views of the cityscape. Imagine bypassing traffic jams and street-level bustle, all while watching the urban scenery unfold from your window seat.

For those worried about navigating this network, fear not. Digital tools and apps provide real-time updates on schedules and routes, making it easier than ever to plan your journey. Whether you’re a local heading to work or a tourist exploring the city’s landmarks, the public transit system ensures you can reach your destination with ease.

Chicago streets, especially in the older sections, are narrow and crowded and can be hard to navigate for visiting motorists. Riding the bus or the Elevated Train (known as the “L”) took away the stress of dealing with unfamiliar streets and the possibility of getting lost.

Didn’t have to worry about parking

Discounted parking is on a first-come, first-served basis in downtown Chicago. While early birds might get lucky and find all-day parking for less than $20, we discovered that many lots charge between $40-50 for the day. Parking is a non-issue when riding public transit.

Fun to do

Riding the “L” is a quintessential Chicago thing to do. Riding a few of the different trains around the city brought us through a number of interesting neighborhoods and made sightseeing more enjoyable, too, since we could focus on scenery instead of city maps and street signs.

Front door service

Popular tourist destinations usually have a bus stop right outside the entrance. For visitors worried about safety, riding the bus means that your destination is often within sight of the bus stop.

More efficient

We discovered that public transit is so streamlined that buses and trains come by every 5-10 minutes, which makes getting around town quite speedy compared to driving. For families with limited time for sightseeing in Chicago, public transit is often the fastest way to get to your destination.

Inexpensive and convenient

An all-day CTA pass is only $10 and allows unlimited access on the buses and “L.” Considering the price of downtown parking, we felt we were money ahead in buying transit passes for our family instead of paying for parking.

These were some of the advantages we discovered in taking public transit around Chicago instead of driving. It made for a unique experience for our family while also letting us see a side of Chicago that can’t be seen from an automobile.


Chicago’s public transit system is known for its reliability and safety. With regular maintenance checks and security measures in place, commuters can rest assured that they’re in good hands. In the rare event of delays or disruptions, the CTA promptly communicates with riders, ensuring they can make alternative arrangements if necessary.

Exploring Downtown Chicago via public transit offers a unique blend of convenience, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability. It’s a choice that not only benefits you but also the city at large. Next time you’re thinking of navigating the downtown area, consider leaving the car behind and jumping on a bus or train. You’ll be surprised at how much more of the city you can see when you’re not worried about finding a parking spot. Riding public transit in Downtown Chicago is not just about getting from point A to B; it’s about embracing an urban lifestyle that’s both efficient and enjoyable.

Fernando Meyer

Fernando Meyer

Fernando Meyer is a freelance writer and founder of F-Meyer website. His writing strengths include business, financial topics, and lifestyle. He uses his life experiences to inspire his detailed and informative style of writing.

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