Chicago


Getting Here


There are two airports in Chicago: Midway and O'Hare. If you are staying downtown you can fly to either one. If you are staying in Logan Square, you want to fly to O’Hare. Sorry, that means no JetBlue or Southwest, you cheapos.



Getting Around


Bicycle is by far the best way to get around Chicago. If you are going to be here for more than just a couple days, I highly recommend renting one from here or here.

If you are just going to be here for the weekend, it's probably too much trouble to rent a bike but I still wouldn't waste your money on a rental car. Parking is expensive and impossible downtown. There are lots of trains, buses and taxis to get you around the city.

Here’s what I recommend:
Take the train from the airport to your hotel. Explore Chicago via foot, bus and train. Take the train or a cab to the wedding venue. There will be cabs and shuttles to take people to the reception. Take a cab or the train back to your hotel. Take the train back to the airport.

THE CTA
The Chicago Transit Authority runs the trains and buses in this town. The train is sometimes called the L by tourists and older people, but everyone else just calls it “the CTA.” Buses are just called “the bus.”

The CTA is, overall, pretty janky. Nevertheless, it’s a train so it rules and you should take it. Our wedding/life is primarily based around the blue line, which runs 24 hours a day between downtown and the airport. Although the stations are pretty neglected, it smells like pee less often than the red line. It’s pretty fast most of the time, but there is always construction because our city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, built it elevated instead of underground.

Fares are $2.25 per trip. Transfers (including onto busses) cost $.25. You can’t pay in cash; you have to get a farecard in the train station.

Unlike some cities (Seattle), the buses go in straight lines here (with a couple exceptions). If you get on a bus going east on Chicago, it is going to go east until it hits the goddamn lake. Every major North/South and East/West street has a bus route. Some of them stop at night.

Here is a map of the CTA Transit System.
Here is a link to the CTA Bus Tracker.
Here is a link to the CTA Train Tracker.



Where to Go


We live in Logan Square, and think that it’s the best neighborhood in the city. The neighborhoods closer to the lake have much nicer infrastructure, but are full of Cubs fans so it's kind of a wash.

The lakefront is very nice though, so you should probably check it out. If you can get your hands on a bike, there is a breathtaking trail that you can take north-south for the entire length of the city. Going north from downtown is a little nicer than going south if you like cities and new urbanism, but both directions are lovely. Just don’t think you can get a good meal at the end of bike trip to Hyde Park. The only half-decent restaurant there is Medici’s, and it's basically a glorified Olive Garden.



What to Eat & Drink


First things first: The epicenter of all Chicagoness in the universe is Richard's Bar in River West. If you are visiting from out of town you owe it to yourself to go there.

I am assuming you will be here for some meals other than the ones we will be serving you. This is great news because Chicago has some of the best food in the world (as long as you aren’t a vegetarian, hahahahahahaha, just kidding there is one place: The Handlebar). I know all you folks from LA think that the Mexican food here probably isn’t very good but you are dead wrong. Try a place, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Here are some great places close enough to the blue line that cover a variety of price points and cuisines:

Avec
Publican
Big Star
Longman & Eagle
Taqueria Traspasada
Taqueria Moran
The Purple Pig
Cumin
Urban Belly
Belly Shack
Sticky Rice
Xoco