How do you get around Chicago? Like most major metropolis’s, it can be a bit intimidating for visitors to the Windy City to figure out the best way to get around. However, understanding Chicago Transit is relatively simple.
In this easy to use guide, we want to go through how you can navigate the Chicago transit system with ease.
Chicago Transit Definitions
If you want to get around the CTA, then you have to speak the lingo first. You do not want to seem like a tourist walking the Chicago streets. Instead, we want you to fit in with Chicagoans. To do this, here are a few Chicago Transit terms to get you started.
“L”-These elevated tracks run through a good deal of the city.
The Loop-Instead of calling Chicago downtown, most of us refer to it as the Loop. The circular path defines the Loop that the Chicago trains take going around the downtown area.
CTA- The Chicago Transit Authority run bus and commuter train lines in the city.
CTA Train and Bus Trackers-Mobile apps you can use to track train and bus times.
Brown, Red, Green, Pink, Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Purple-the CTA uses a different color for each train line.
Ventra- The new CTA’s ticket system you use for paying for your CTA rides. One note here: Because they use SmartLink, if your credit cards are too close to the machine, the system might double swipe your card. Last time we heard, they still have not fixed this issue.
Sears Tower-What hacks call Willis Tower. This is not a CTA term, but something I needed to mention here.
Chicago Transit Examples
How does it work then? Well, let us give you some examples, so you can travel around the city with ease.
For example, you want to go from O’Hare to a Chicago White Sox game. That is easy; just take the Blue Line from O’Hare into the loop, where you get off at the Jackson stop. Take the Jackson Red Line train straight to Sox/35th station where you will be right in front of Cellular One (also called Comiskey Park).
Take this complicated example as well. How do you go from Midway to Devon and California? This area has amazing Indian food; however, the trains do not go that far north. You take the Orange line to the Loop. Switch at State Street Station, and get on the Brown line.
Then you take the Brown line to all the way up to the end of the line at Kimball. Fortunately, the Kimball station has buses right outside the station almost continually. Take the 81 bus up to Devon. You will have to walk about a block east to Thillens Stadium. There the 155 Devon bus goes east to California. Get out at California, eat food, and enjoy!
While all of this sounds scary, keep in mind that the entire city of Chicago is built on a grid system. Only a few streets go on a diagonal, and most of the time, you can figure out where you need to go by monitoring the street numbers. For example, Western is 2400 west. California is 2800 west.
If that does not work…
Then we recommend you check with Welcome Inn Manor to see how we can help you get to where you need to go on time without the stress. Mell and Angie are lifelong Chicago residents, who know the city inside out.
That is the reason they instituted their free Morning drop offs and shuttle services. They want to make sure CTA maps and jargon do not get in the way of having fun in Chicago.
Chicago Transit Graduation
Now that you have successfully gone through this article, you are ready to tackle the CTA. So, hop a train today and discover the city. Soon you will be the expert, helping new visitors to the city on how to read the CTA map. Let us know below if you have anywhere specific you want to go on the CTA. We will provide you with instructions on how to use Chicago transit system for your needs in the comments section of this post.