Chicago: Getting There and Transport

Recommended excursions

Chicago Botanic Garden
The botanical garden is located approximately 30 km from the city center.
In the huge park there are different landscaped gardens and landscapes, waterfalls and the “Sensory Garden”.
Fragrant flowers from all over the world grow in this flower garden.

Long Grove – Historical Village
The small town of Long Grove was founded in the 19th century by Alsatian farmers. The place consists mainly of old wooden residential and agricultural buildings, in which numerous goods are offered and restaurants vie for guests. The prices are relatively high. Long Grove is about 17 kilometers northwest of Chicago as featured on computerminus.

Six Flags Great America
The amusement park is located in the suburb of Gurnee, north of Chicago. It is open from May to October.
The huge park has everything you can expect from a US amusement park:
roller coasters (there are 13!), Cinemas, shows and events with comic and superheroes and lots of fast food restaurants.

Chicago: Getting There and Transport


Right-hand traffic prevails in the USA.

Maximum speed

In urban areas, the speed limit for motor vehicles is between 25 and 30 mph (miles per hour). This corresponds to about 40-48 km / h. As a general rule: On interstate highways, depending on the state, 55-75 mph (miles per hour; this corresponds to 89-121 km / h); outside of cities on open roads 65 mph (105 km / h); 55 mph on US and State Highways, 25-30 mph (40-48 km / h) in built-up areas.


per mille limit The maximum permitted blood alcohol level for drivers of motor vehicles is 0.8 per mille.

Other notes
Petrol is cheaper than in Europe. At petrol stations, you often have to pay in advance. The gasoline is filled in gallons, whereby one gallon equals 3.78 liters.

Rental cars
There are large international car rental companies at the airports. There are flat rates and discounts for tourists. Credit card holders are often not required to pay a deposit. An “Economy” or “Compact” corresponds to a normal European car, “Standard” is a large sedan. The required minimum age of the driver differs depending on the car rental company. Especially travelers under the age of 25 should inform themselves about this in good time. An international driver’s license is often required in addition to the German one.

Airports, air traffic

  • Midway Airport
    5700 S. Cicero Avenue
    The small airport serves destinations within the USA. It is located about eleven kilometers southwest of the center. This can be reached with the “Continental Air Transport” buses, with the “Orange Line” from the Chicago public transport company and with taxis.
  • O’Hare International Airport
    National and international flights are handled at the airport. It is located about 30 kilometers from the center and is connected to the center by “Continental Air Transport” buses and the “Rapid Transit Line”, a suburban train operated by the Chicago public transport company. In addition, numerous taxis are waiting in front of the terminals for paying passengers.


Union Station
The Amtrak railway company connects the station with all parts of the country. The seats must be reserved before the start of the journey, without them the journey is not possible.
210 Canal Street

California Zephyr
This train starts and ends here in Chicago. But the train doesn’t just take you to just before San Francisco – it is also an adventure trip of the first order.
The train travels this route every day with around 20 cars and three diesel locomotives. It takes about 55 hours for the 3,900 km route across the USA.
The train ends at Emeryville Station near San Francisco. From here there is a shuttle to San Francisco.
The train has a dining car, sleeping car, seating car and a “glass” viewing car. Without a doubt, the drive through the Rocky Mountains is particularly impressive.
On its journey, the train crosses the approximately 10 km long Moffat Tunnel near Rollinsville in Colorado. The vertex of the tunnel, which was opened to traffic in 1929, is at an altitude of 2,816 m and the
train stops at the stations of 33 cities, including Denver, Salt Lake City and Sacramento.

Bus station

Chicago Bus Station
Modern Greyhound buses run to all parts of the country from the bus station. Due to the air conditioning in the buses, care should be taken to wear warm clothing.
630 West Harrison Street

Rapid transit

The Rapid Transit Trains run on seven lines as an underground and elevated railway. The elevated railway is called “El” or simply “L”. This designation stands for “Elevated Train”. Most lines operate around the clock, with more trains running at rush hour. The tickets are also valid for buses, which also belong to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Large parts of the city can be easily reached by trains.


The bus system is well developed and perfectly complements the operation of the “Rapid Transit Train”, which runs above and below ground. Most buses run between 6 a.m. and midnight, and some lines operate around the clock.


Chicago taxis are metered. They are relatively cheap and a good alternative to public transport, especially in the evening and at night.

Boat and ferry

Numerous boat companies offer various tours of the Chicago River. The rides lead past the impressive skyscrapers and some architectural highlights of the city.


There are beautiful bike routes in the parks and on the lakeshore. Cyclists are rarely to be found on the streets of the metropolis, as the conditions are extremely poor. There are hardly any bike paths.

Chicago Transportation