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Is Chicago a Walkable City? Yes It is!

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Yes it is!!

Get out your walking shoes when you are going to Chicago. Chosen the fourth most walkable city by this vibrant, urban, down to earth yet sophisticated city with Lake Michigan for a front yard offers quite a bit more than Chicago pizza and hot dogs (the food everywhere here is notoriously great).

chicago a walkable city

Chicago a Walkable City

Chicago has a walkable downtown and many walkable neighborhoods, connected by great city transportation – from the ‘L’ and Metra Rail systems. Stroll through Millennium Park, shop the Magnificent Mile, or set sail on the Great Lakes at the Navy Pier.

The downtown skyline reveals famous skyscrapers, beaches and the Chicago Bears Stadium. The North Side is home of Pizzeria Uno, the originator of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzas. Workers flock to jobs at companies like Boeing, Kraft Foods, and McDonalds.

Chicago has the River Walk that runs along the south bank of the Chicago River from Lake Michigan to Lake Street. You can eat at a cafe and watch the river traffic indoors or out depending on the weather. If your up to it, the old Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) has a glass enclosed ledge/box where you can view the city and beyond from 1,450 ft. high.

Chicago is situated on the shores of Lake Michigan and features a shoreline that has been intelligently planned and artistically executed. Walking paths stretch from the north to south, allowing joggers, cyclists, and strollers alike to meander along the water’s edge, with impressive skyscrapers as the backdrop to the west.

There are many organized walking tours of “Chicago a Walkable City” to choose from that allow you to see as much of Chicago as you possibly can in one day. There are actually over 90 tours! Many of these tours provide a comprehensive overview of the city and hit on both classic attractions and little-known sites.

Although Chicago can be managed on foot, the elevated train also offers a reasonably-priced alternative for getting about the city.

Chicago’s architecture is second to none; you can gaze yourself as you walk around or take an architectural cruise down the Chicago River. Millennium Park, one of 13 downtown area parks, hosts free concerts all summer long and Lincoln Park Zoo is still free.

The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue is rated one of the best shopping districts in the world and is worth a weekend trip just for shopping or browsing. A pedestrian tunnel on the Magnificent Mile will lead you right to Oak Street beach where you can people watch and try to figure out how and why there are palm trees in this city.

Some of the highlights of my trips to Chicago have been:

Hancock Observatory

Ride to the top of this skyscraper and catch a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the city. Time your visit right before sunset to take advantage of the daytime views, sunset, and nightscape.

At 360 CHICAGO, the guest experience begins at the ground floor with a museum-style exhibition celebrating Chicago’s history and nine of its culturally rich neighborhoods. Then take the elevators to the 94th floor where you’ll be greeted by breathtaking 360-degree views of Chicago’s dazzling skyline and majestic lakefront from the 17,000-square foot observation deck.

The observation deck is the home of TILT – Chicago’s highest thrill ride. 

Shedd Aquarium

No trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, housing thousands of species of marine life including dolphins and beluga whales. Situated next to the shoreline, the Aquarium has something for everyone in the family to see.

Shedd Aquarium brings you eye-to-eye with unbelievable aquatic animals—from whales to snails, tarantulas to turtles, angelfish to zebra sharks!

Grant Park

Some of the best attractions in a city can be free. Grant Park is located near the shores of Lake Michigan and features a stunning water fountain. If you are within walking distance of Grant Park from your hotel, I highly recommend packing a picnic basket and passing a relaxing afternoon by the fountain.

Grant Park is much more than a park. It’s a gathering place for the city’s biggest events, a green oasis in the heart of downtown, and a cultural hub that holds some of Chicago’s most famous landmarks.

Stretching along the sparkling lakefront, Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium ParkMaggie Daley Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus.

There are many more attractions in Chicago such as the Art Institute and Field Museum. With so much to see and do, Chicago is a great family-friendly city vacation destination. The windy city does not disappoint.

Chicago has a laid back friendly vibe so when a tourist asks a question you actually get an answer, and a smile. The city is easy to navigate as it has a very easy north, south, east and west grid pattern.

Chicago’s Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, and Navy Pier with its restaurants, huge ferris wheel, aero balloon trips and children’s museum are popular landmarks that are on every tourist’s to-do list.

Filming in Chicago

If you happen to be in the right place – at the right time – there are many television shows and movies filmed in Chicago.

Chicago PD – Photo via @spiridakos on Instagram

Chicago has become a hotspot for television and movie filming. Last year alone, 13 shows were actively filming all around the city, including both new and long-running series. Of course, the top three are Chicago Fire, Chicago Med and Chicago PD. Social media is full of fans taking photos with cast members around the city.

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios

Located on the west side of Chicago, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios houses many of the sets you see on television and in films. It’s a huge campus and is considered the largest film studio outside of California. 

Chicago a Walkable City

There are plenty of spots to relax, have a drink, look out over the water and rest those tired feet. Food is around every corner in Chicago – from the best caramel corn to Midwestern corn fed steaks. Ask a local and they will tell you where they eat, you can’t get a better recommendation than that.