What's your Chicago specific hack you are willing to share?

  1. If you're transferring at Jackson, follow the signs for the accessible transfer rather than the pee tunnel. It's a bit more walking but much more pleasant

  2. what is said accessible transfer? because if it’s an elevator i would take pee tunnel over pee elevator any day

  3. Jewel runs rebates periodically for certain alcohol. For instance, around at Patrick’s day if you spend at least $15 and buy a case of Guinness then you can submit your receipt to a website for $15 back via Venmo (the cost of a 12 pack). Last year they didn’t ever end the promotion, just stopped advertising - so you could essentially get free Guinness for the whole year

  4. It always blows my mind how many people don't know about the pedway. If you spend a lot of time in the Loop and are sick of walking around in sub-zero temperatures in winter then I would suggest getting yourself acquainted with Chicago's underground walkway system that connects most major buildings in the northern half of the Loop, including the Thompson Center, Block 37, and Marshall Field's/Macy's.

  5. My dad is obsessed with the pedway. He takes his old man walks down there every day during the winter. IMO it's one of his peak dad traits.

  6. It's because our pedway is kinda shit. Toronto has a phenomenal one. Wish we had ours on their level

  7. Edit: Ventra now supports free transfers for non-Ventra payment cards, so please disregard the rest of my reply. Leaving it here for context.

  8. The random orange line train you see during the commuting hours in the morning on the north side brown line tracks? Yeah. That is a brown that goes to Midway. It’ll go halfway around the loop on the west side like a brown train, then divert to Roosevelt and on to midway.

  9. Do they still sell that sashimi plate for super cheap twice a week? If so, that’s one of me chicago hacks!

  10. If you’re going to a concert at Thalia Hall, don’t stand in line outside. Go to the bar in the basement, and order a drink or two. Bartender will show you an inside staircase and they just check your ticket there with no wait vs. standing in the main line outside. Added bonus: they let you bring the drink from the basement in to the venue AND a lot of times we get in earlier.

  11. keep a list of [clean] public restrooms in the downtown/river north area on your phone just in case of an emergency lol. most hotels will suffice as well.

  12. There was a whole thread of favorite bathrooms like a week ago. Palmer House, Block 37, Athletic Association. All top notch.

  13. The Chicago Tool Library. If I’m not mistaken, it’s one of the first of its kind in the country. Pay an annual subscription (it’s a pay what you can rate), get unlimited access to an insane number of tools and items for no fees. I’m talking the expected (saws, drills, power tools, etc) and much more (carpet cleaners, camping gear, dehydrators, canning equipment, etc).

  14. Lincoln Park Zoo has incredible sales at their gift shops in February - great place to buy a giant stuffed animal / animal toys and books

  15. At the end of Magnificent Mile shopping district is Fourth Presbyterian Church. There’s a peaceful courtyard where you can sit and reflect and feel like you’re somewhere else.

  16. The last time I was there the dressing room was soaked in piss. Macys sucks. Marshall Field is rolling in his grave

  17. Use the Block 37 bathrooms. Clean, nice, never crowded, and convenient if you're transferring between the red and blue.

  18. Chicago parks district does free movies and concerts in the summer. Specifically check out what’s happening in Millennium Park. Grab a bottle of wine, snacks and a picnic blanket.

  19. Yes!! I’ve been using the “my chi parks” app which has a list of all events in all the parks. Pretty user friendly. Fun to check out the movies in the parks.

  20. Chicago Public Library. It has SO MANY great resources. Get the apps for e-books, audio books, music and movie rentals + a language learning app! They also have resources for tracing ancestry and heritage. You can also rent laptops at some locations (to use within the building). They have incredible events. They have a day pass to all theuseums (but you gotta get it early, because they run out!)! They have a tool library somewhere too. There’s just so much great stuff.

  21. I found out recently that Harold Washington has rooms with pianos you can check out by the hour. Just hand them your ID and they unlock a piano room for you.

  22. Related to a previous comment we also have public bathrooms at 80 locations across the city. And if you have one of our cards on your keys and you lose them, if they get dropped off at a branch or in a bookdrop we will get them back to you.

  23. If you want some cheap furniture just go to the Loyola campus in late May/early June and all the underclassmen just leave their barely used furniture in the alleys.

  24. Parking at Rosemont is great, but don't forget to factor an extra $7.50 for CTA. ($2.50 to ORD, $5 from ORD)

  25. If you have kids the library has free passes to all of the major museums/zoos/botanical garden etc for check out. The passes will cover two adults as well. You can get a list of all available passes by branch on the Chicago public library website. Once you've located them you better get your ass over to the branch ASAP as they can go quickly.

  26. Great tip. Also you can rent out Wi-Fi hotspots at many CPL locations too! They also have their own streaming service, Hoopla. Libraries rock.

  27. 94 exit at Ashland, elston to Chicago, Chicago to kingsbury, kingsbury to kinzie, kinzie to lower Michigan, lower Michigan to lower wacker, lower wacker to Harrison, Harrison to Clark, Clark to 22nd st, 22nd st to express lane 94…it’s the fastest route through the city regardless of rush hour. My wife and I have been calling it the secret secret route for years!

  28. Good to know, I just figured they let me in with my large iced coffee because I looked particularly hungover and pathetic

  29. From the far north side you can take PACE line 250 to O'hare instead of trying to get to the blue line. It's going to be upgraded to an express route later this year as well.

  30. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theonion.com/grocery-store-bar-actually-has-great-little-happy-hour-1828464175/amp

  31. You can pick a raw steak and they will grill it for you too. Perfect with your Mariano’s bar drink.

  32. The entrance to lower Wacker is at the Post road just west of Wells on Lake St. It's like the Batman entrance. Larrabee instead of Halstead is 10x quicker.

  33. Lot of these quick alternates across town. When I had to go to Evanston from Lakeview, instead of Sheridan or Clark, I'd often cut up Glenwood and then Greenview, or down Ashland north of Devon.

  34. Peoria Packing has the cheapest butcher shop-quality meat anywhere. Buy in bulk, portion and freeze. Got me through the most broke times of my life.

  35. With Peoria Packing I can't tell you how nervous I am getting about all the buildings going up in the west loop. They have a pretty big slab of land and I am sure they have gotten some mighty big offers. How many zeros does a check need to have before you give up on selling chicken by the pound?

  36. Yeah but it’s so awkward sometimes to actually do it! I was on a date once with a guy who brought some really good IPA’s and the proper glass stemware for us to drink out of while on our way to an event in Lombard (we took the Metra from Ogilvie since both of us wanted to drink at the event). However, it was also rush hour on a Thursday, so the drinking part felt awkward to be doing in front of disgruntled commuters who were just trying to get home. Haha. I’m sure it’s different for a game day, or an event, or even going to Ravinia but I usually drive to those things so can’t say otherwise for the latter.

  37. Technically you cannot bring alcohol down to the Riverwalk, or move beyond each restaurant's zone with their own alcohol.

  38. Parking in the loop is technically free outside of the specific no parking times. For example if you are on laSalle street and it says no parking Monday thru Friday 7am-7pm you can park in those spots after 7 and on weekends. Be careful to read the sign because some say no parking Monday thru Saturday and always look for paper signs that overrule the metal ones

  39. The bus/train times on the Ventra app are an estimation of the next one (and a terrible one at that) unless there area lil green lines to the top left of the number.

  40. Don't try beating a yellow light anywhere, if you can stop without slamming the brakes just stop

  41. Always buy a good winter coat that withstands winter winds. I had a friend from California who moved here with nothing but a skimpy-looking leather jacket, she was in a fluffy winter coat by the end of the season.

  42. Chicago Shakespeare theatre has a deal for $20 tickets for people under 35. You just need to enter a code “under35” at checkout. You’re allowed two tickets to a show I believe. I take my mom all the time!

  43. only applies when these locations aren’t too busy, but any hotdog place that does fresh cut fries (Red Hot Ranch, Ricobenes, etc) order the fries well done. They come out significantly crispier.

  44. If you’re transferring purple to red for a stop after Addison, stay on the purple until Wilson instead of transferring at Fullerton. Then you skip the baseball crowds on the train.

  45. This only works on weekdays and not all day - the purple line express is designed for commuters, so you need to check if it’s running before assuming your purple line train will keep going after Howard

  46. Chicago Parks District has really cheap gym memberships at their fitness centers. $15 a month, closest gym to me in Uptown.

  47. So what do you choose if that location doesn’t pop up? Are you saying I can go to any locker and make a return even if it’s not the location I chose when starting the return?

  48. Don’t pay to go to the top of the Hancock Center. Take the elevator to the lounge (one floor down from the observatory) and you can have the great view AND a cocktail instead (best view is in the ladies’ room).

  49. If you want insanely good pizza (tavern or deep), go to Pizzeria Ora inside the Best Western in River North. You’ll likely have the place to yourself and friendly people waiting on you. Trust me.

  50. Those used tire places that look shady and only accept cash will give you super quick and great service. Check reviews though.

  51. I hate giving this one away but here goes - for free parking at United Center events, park next to the Pipe Fitters Unionhall on Washington/Ogden. That stretch is never metered and has no zone parking. Usually can find parking for events up to an hour before start time.

  52. Walk into the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center like you own the place and head straight back, take a slight right, and go straight to the shitter. Chances are a Nobel laureate has sat in that exact same seat.

  53. A good chunk of N. Ravenswood Ave is one giant free parking lot. Some of it is permit parking during weekday business hours, but not all of it.

  54. If you are at Clark and Lake and it's insanely crowded on the platform with people trying to head toward O'Hare, jump on a train toward Forest Park and go a few stops until the platform is clearer, get off, and THEN get on the next O'Hare train.

  55. If you need a place to empty your tour bus sewage tank but don’t want to pay for it you can just dump it while driving over one of the open deck bridges into the loop!

  56. You better be in the intersection before that light turns red if there is a red light camera in that intersection.

  57. When you're coming into the city from the East and you come to the construction on 90W, stay RIGHT when the road splits. It gets you around all the traffic caused by the poor signage in the area. You end up right back on 90, past where the traffic backs up.

  58. This might seem obvious depending on where you’re coming from, but the bus network is mostly pretty great, at least it was pre-Covid. I only took the train for longer than I care to admit when I lived there, until I realized the bus stops were much closer to my apartment than the El stops were.

  59. Go to Kingston Mines for the best live music in the city. Johnnie’s Italian Beef in Elmwood Park (if you’re willing to drive) is the best beef in town. Learn where all the speeding cameras are located.

  60. Learn lower Wacker and the other lower streets. Start at lakeshore dr and take every turns n and exit possible so you see where it puts you back on the top level.

  61. Learn the pedway if you have to go downtown. There is an entire network that is worth knowing how to navigate in the winter/rain. Including multiple train access points.

  62. Rogers Park to Ogilvie in 20 minutes. Way cleaner, safer, quieter, faster than the red line. Obviously just less options for getting of and on.

  63. When I lived on 1700 block of N Sheffield, there is a triangle no-man’s land dead space formed by Sheffield/Concord/Clybourn which is used by local residents for free parking. Enter through 3 various alleyways. First come, first serve. No zone stickers. Easy access to North/Clybourn Red Line.

  64. Also, it's best to get up and leave if a creep is staring at you or trying to talk to you. Go with your gut. You do not have to be polite. You'll have enough time to switch train car when the door opens.

  65. If your CTA station is crowded and you want a seat or at least a comfortable spot to post up, catch a reverse-direction train to a stop earlier in the route, hop off and get on your train there. Obv harder to do closer to The Loop but useful along most of the lines.

  66. This is my leaving DisneyWorld at the end of the night trick… everybody’s waiting for monorail to parking lot, hardly anybody going to the Contemporary Resort.

  67. If you are getting on a northbound/outbound Red line train after a Cubs game, walk to Belmont and board there, you’ll get a seat and the crowd may have thinned out a bit during the walk

  68. One of my favorite places/views is the Adirondack chairs at the west end of the river walk. Awesome spot to chill, maybe have an adult beverage, a little weed, and watch the boats and people go by. Good place to start or end a walk.

  69. Ok I’ll give it up: you can rent Alice’s karaoke lounge for $50 an hour before they open public karaoke at 11pm. Effectively you have the whole bar/KJ to yourselves and can order in food. Just don’t try to book on my birthday

  70. When you become a member of most museums, you get free access to other museums. Often museums in the same city will be on different systems, so I became a member of The Walker Museum in MLPS and now I can get into most museums free in Chicago and elsewhere. Just look for reciprocal membership parts of sites. This means free clean bathrooms in most places. As a beachgoer this also allows you a lot of places to change in peace.

  71. Billygoats (lower Hubbard) is a tourist trap - but they do have good breakfast sandwiches - Egg and cheese (freshly made) with coffee - $.5.50 with free coffee refills

  72. Worked at navy pier for years, you know it’s a good breakfast spot when all the construction workers eat there

  73. We have some of the best Mexican food anywhere in the US, including regional styles they don't have in the Southwest except maybe in SoCal. Also, there is a lot of excellent vegetarian Mexican food if you order gorditas, sopes, or huaraches with non-meat toppings/fillings.

  74. Real Chicago people understand this post. Everyone else has no idea what you are talking about

  75. You can save a little money on rideshare from O’Hare into town if you’re willing to take the blue line a few stops down to, like, Montrose or so and then call the car from there. (Travel time is comparable depending on what traffic out of O’Hare is like.)

  76. I mean at that point why not just stay on the train the whole way? You’re almost there and already paid your train fare.

  77. This one is huge. If I had stayed at O’Hare and called an Uber last time I was there it would’ve been 90 dollars- got off at Jefferson park instead and it only cost me 27

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