Chicago might be a big city, but thanks to public transportation, it isn't hard to get around. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) plays a key role in the city's public transportation department, as it operates a comprehensive network of trains and buses that can get you virtually anywhere you need to go. This includes the suburbs, where many of the downtown workers reside. The Chicago Transit Authority's trains and buses are both cheap and reliable, which is why many Windy City residents and visitors depend on them to get from point A to point B.
The Chicago L Train system, which is operated by CTA, is the city's rapid transit system, and you might be surprised to know that it's the third-busiest rapid transit system in the country. Hopping on the L Train to get around is a way of life in Chicago, partly because the routes are so complete. Whether you need to get to Wrigley Field from the Loop or catch a plane at the O'Hare or Midway airport, the Chicago Transit Authority L trains can get you there. When looking to get outside the Chicago city limits by way of train, the Metra rail system is the way to go. This regional rail system serves the surrounding suburbs, as well as the city of Chicago, and more than 80 million passengers rely on it every year. Many of these passengers are commuters who aren't too keen on driving into or out of the city during rush hour. Most area residents depend on Chicago public transportation to some degree, thanks to its overall effectiveness.
When you find yourself at a Chicago Transit Authority metro station, you can purchase fare cards through the available attendants or at one of the on-site machines. These fare cards can store a specific value on them, so you can use them over and over again. If you don't have a card to get on one of the Chicago buses, then you will need exact fare, so keep that in mind. The Chicago buses do well to connect points in the city that are difficult to reach by way of train or metro. This helps to make the Chicago public transportation system a very complete one. You likely won't need to rely on the Chicago buses if you are sticking around the downtown area or on the North Side, as the metro trains and your own two feet should suffice. Taking a taxi every now and again is always an option as well, and you won't have trouble finding one, especially when you're in the Loop area.
Taking the bus in Chicago is a great alternative to the metro trains, as it's every bit as affordable. One of the best bus routes in the city is the express route that goes from Belmont Avenue in Lakeview all the way down to Museum Campus on the south edge of Grant Park. Along the way, you'll ride along North Lake Shore Drive, North Michigan Avenue, and State Street before getting to Grant Park. As for the L Train, or the El, as it is also known, the red and brown lines that funnel into the Loop from the North Side are among the most scenic routes. You'll almost brush up against some of the downtown area's most picturesque buildings on these routes, which a real treat. Chicago architecture is world-renowned, and if you're interested in seeing in close up, consider booking an architecture tour while you're in town.
Chicago public transportation more than has you covered when it comes to all your ground transportation needs. There is no need for a rental car if you'd prefer not to have one, as the public transportation options are so complete. This helps to make Chicago such a wonderful place to visit. Between the Chicago train and bus stops, a wealth of attractions awaits you, and finding a good place to eat or grab some drinks won't be hard. This largest of Midwestern cities is very user-friendly, which has a lot to do with its extensive public transportation network.