In Chicago, all roads (and trains!) lead to the Loop. Whether you prefer public transit, biking, driving, being driven or walking, the Loop couldn't be easier to navigate.
Metra is the commuter rail agency serving the Chicago area with more than 100 communities, 241 stations and 11 lines that all make their final stops in Chicago's Loop. There are five Metra stations located in and near the Loop. A complete list of lines, schedules, fares and more information is available on the Metra website.
Within the Midwest, Amtrak offers convenient, non-stop service from destinations like St. Louis, Milwaukee and Grand Rapids to Chicago's Union Station, which is located just west of the Loop within walking distance of most destinations.
The South Shore Line operates commuter rail service between Northwest Indiana and Chicago. Loop stations include Millennium and Van Buren Street stations, both located in the Loop in Millennium and Grant parks.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates the nation's second largest public transportation system and covers the City of Chicago and 35 surrounding suburbs with service via buses and "L" trains. For the best value, purchase a 1-Day, 3-Day, 7-Day or 30-Day CTA pass for unlimited rides. Fares and more information can be found online.
All eight CTA train lines offer service in the Loop. Whether you're coming or going from the north, south or west sides of the city, you'll find the train you need right here in the heart of it all, and depending on what line you take, you'll experience public transit like never before: above ground, weaving around Chicago's storied skyscrapers. The view definitely beats a subway ride. For "L" train route information and schedules, visit the CTA's website.
Dozens of CTA bus lines offer direct service into the Loop. Visit the CTA's website for route information and schedules.
Chicago is considered among the most bicycle-friendly cities in the U.S. thanks to its stunning — yet generously flat — landscape and miles of safe bikeways.
Riding a Bike
Dearborn Avenue offers one of Chicago's first barrier protected bike lanes. The two-way lane extends from Polk Street on the south to Kinzie Street on the north, providing a direct route into the Loop.
And the Lakefront Trail offers a gorgeous backdrop for a ride into the Loop. Located east of Lakeshore Drive, the trail is an 18-mile-long linear route that stretches along scenic Lake Michigan, providing cyclists, runners and pedestrians with a safe way to enjoy one of the country's most stunning waterfront skylines. It can be accessed safely in the Loop at Monroe Street and Jackson Boulevard.
Renting a Bike
Divvy is Chicago's fun, easy and affordable bike sharing system, with 6,000 bikes available at more than 570 docking stations across Chicago and Evanston. Divvy bikes can be rented from and returned to any station in the city. A single trip up to 30 minutes costs $3, an Explorer Pass offering unlimited 3-hour rides in a 24-hour period costs $15, and an annual membership offering unlimited 45-minute rides for the entire year costs $99 (or $9.95 a month with an annual commitment). Learn more on Divvy's website.
A network of major interstates and highways, and Chicago's grid system, make the Loop easily accessible by car.
Getting to the Loop
A number of major interstates and highways feed directly into downtown. Travelers entering Chicago from each direction will connect to the Dan Ryan, Eisenhower or Kennedy expressways and should exit at Congress Parkway, which leads into the Loop from the south.
A number of parking lots and garages are available once inside the Loop, in addition to on-street metered parking. Travelers staying at hotels downtown should call ahead to see if valet parking is an option.
Mobile app provider SpotHero allows customers to search and view available parking options in and around the city of Chicago. By reserving parking online ahead of time through SpotHero, users know exactly how much they're going to pay and where they're going to park.
Taxis offer a reliable and convenient way to get around the city and are easy to hail at most locations in the Loop and at airports. All taxi drivers are obligated to accept major credit and debit cards, and tipping 15-20 percent is considered appropriate, with an additional tip suggested for drivers who help passengers with luggage.
Sample taxi fares to the Loop are $45 from O'Hare International Airport and $35 from Midway International Airport.
Lyft is a mobile app that allows you to request transportation at the touch of a button. To sign up, download the app and follow the prompts create an account. Be sure to check your ride's license plate number against the number as it appears in the Lyft app to ensure you get into the correct car. When your ride is complete, pay and tip right in the app.
The Chicago Loop is one of the city's most walkable neighborhoods, with a Walk Score of 93 out of 100. Be a part of the hustle and bustle of Chicago's central business district, and get your steps in for the day while you're at it. In all, it will take you less than 20 minutes to walk from the north end of the Loop to the south end, or from the east end to the west end. Once you get here, there's no better way to take in all the sights of the Loop than on foot.