Chicago is a city that is alive with excitement, yet maintains its friendly Midwestern roots. People are approachable and helpful. Chicago's disability community has been an active proponent for accessibility, and many will see the fruits of that work when traveling in the more popular areas. The city is easy to navigate, relatively flat, and much of the city has curb cuts and disability-friendly stop lights. Chicago Transit Authority buses are wheelchair accessible, as is the Chicago Metra commuter line. Many of the Chicago Transit Authority's rail line stations are now accessible.
Chicago is a great place to visit in the summer and fall, when roads are clear and there are plenty of things to do. However, the hearty soul may find the chill off Lake Michigan just what they are looking for, and the lights on Michigan Avenue will melt anyone's chilly heart.
Travelers arriving by air will arrive into Chicago O'Hare or Midway Airport. Union Station, located on the western edge of the downtown area, services Amtrak. Read the Transportation Section for more detailed information. Parking in the city is at a premium, especially downtown. Street parking may be difficult, especially at peak times during the week, and lot parking is expensive.
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, each one providing its own character like that of a patchwork quilt.
Downtown - Chicago's financial and business hub is located in the center of the city, just west of Lake Michigan. Chicago's theater district, main library, court system, Millennium Park, and State Street shopping district reside in this part of town.
Lakefront - Chicago has over 30 miles of lakefront, filled with biking and walking paths, bistros, parks, and beaches. From the south, the Museum of Science and Industry amazes visitors, working north to historic Soldier Field, McCormick Place, and the Museum Campus with the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum, where visitors can see the Beluga whales, or Sue, the dinosaur. Exciting Navy Pier, the famous Oak Street Beach, and Lincoln Park Zoo are highlights of the northern lakeshore. Visitors with mobility impairments will find easy access to all of these attractions and many more on Lake Michigan.
River North - Filled with boutique hotels, fabulous restaurants, and nightlife, one can easily navigate the city streets and find any cuisine in any price range. The House of Blues, Blues Chicago, and Jazz Showcase are located in this area of the city.
Gold Coast/Streeterville - Historic gothic architecture and quiet tree lined streets are intermingled with the lively Rush/Division Street bar scene. People-watching is at its best in this part of town.
North Michigan Avenue - Some of the best shopping, and most exclusive hotels in the city line this bustling street that is featured in so many movies and photographs of Chicago. Be sure to see the Tribune Tower and Wrigley Building, as well as the new Trump Tower that stands behind it. No visit to Chicago is complete without a picture of the Water Tower.
West Loop - Once known for its wholesale food vendors, the West Loop has become the hangout for the trendy. There are several great restaurants that line Randolph St., and Greek Town is not to be missed. You can also find Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios right in the heart of the West Loop.
South Loop - In recent years, the South Loop has seen a boom of housing expansion. This expansion has changed the face of an area surrounded by rail yards, factories, and print houses. There are several noteworthy restaurants in the area. If you are looking for Chinese, you need only go to the world-famous China Town to get a bite to eat.
Chicago is ripe with opportunity to eat great food, meet interesting people, "shop til you drop" and see some great sports! If you haven't had it on your list of places to visit, consider a trip. Don't miss it!