5 Tips for Women Traveling to Chicago Alone – My Experience as a Solo Traveler in Chicagoby jazminmarie United States, Illinois, Chicago
One of the first questions I get asked, being a Chicago local, is about safety. With it being such a congested city, you can find crime happening anywhere, but there’s a few things you can do to try to avoid these problems as a solo woman traveler in Chicago. I share free travel tips to inspire women to travel more and I also live in Chicago, Illinois; since I travel through the city alone, I’m sharing some advice to help other women safely travel around the city in the same way. Here are some tips that I think are really useful to women who are planning a trip to Chicago, Illinois:
My Tips for Solo Women Travelers in Chicago
1. Stick to walking the main roads & in more congested areas
My biggest tip for anyone traveling through Chicago alone is sticking to main roads while walking and finding congested areas. The area doesn’t have to be filled with people, but having different groups of people will provide you a bit more security than being alone on a residential street.
Stick to well lit streets at night.
While I recommend sticking to main roads and congested areas in the daytime, I also recommend sticking to a well lit roads at night. I am thankful for all the greenery around Chicago, but it also adds a lot of blind spots for lighting and security cameras. Avoid being on a super dark block at night and just walk the extra bit to something more lit.
2. Download an offline map of Chicago to your phone
Chicago has multi level streets, we also have underground public transportation and plenty of construction to have your phone rerouting you for days. Downloading an offline version of a map of Chicago will allow your phone to have a consistent GPS connection despite any dead network zones you may be in. There are only a few things worse than being alone in a new place with spotty network service & your phone is stuck on the rerouting screen.
While we are speaking about your phone, there’s also a few apps that you can download to make your time here easier. I recently wrote about 6 must have apps you should download before you come to Chicago; it includes things like finding better options for transportation, accommodations and your time in the city.
3. Separate some cash, just in case!
Theft happens here & in a variety of ways. Even though most thieves are looking for money and iPhones, they will take your bag and empty it all out on the street a block or two over. I don’t recommend chasing them, but I do recommend having some cash tucked away so that if it happens you still have a way to get home safely. I wrote a blog with unique ways to hide your cash if you’re traveling alone or rooming with strangers and it has great tips you can check out if you’re unsure of how to.
If you have a car, your bag should not be visible from the outside.
While we are on the topic of bags, if you are coming to Chicago via personally owned vehicle I recommend that nothing
of value is visible from the outside of your car looking in. It takes minutes for a thief to break a window and take anything they see. I’ve heard complaints of people even having empty backpacks stolen from their car.
4. Be super aware of your surroundings.
Being in a nice area doesn’t make you safer than being in an outdated area of Chicago. While you are here it will become more obvious which areas are funded well and which areas are forgotten; don’t confuse a nice location for nice people or safety. There are maps that can show you what area is a bit more dangerous, but understand that no area is somehow safe from anything happening to you. My best advice is for you to be aware of your surroundings so you can make your decisions as quick as possible. Keep your head on a swivel and watch how the people around you react to the things around you, especially if you’re unsure of things.
5. Research the neighborhood you’re staying in
Not every Chicago community is created equal. I recommend researching your accommodations’ area beforehand so you can preplan some transportation and costs. Some Chicago neighborhoods are more walk-able and have public transportation nearby, while others are better for having your own vehicle.
If you find yourself staying near the downtown area, you will be also paying downtown fees and prices. If you reserve accommodations near a residential area there may be less fees, but higher transportation costs/more time to get to touristic attractions. Figure out if time or money is something you want to spend on transportation so you can budget it.
Still looking for things to do in Chicago?
Now that you’re ready to visit Chicago, are you looking for things to do? I wrote a list of 25+ FREE things you can do in Chicago today it includes some tourist things as well as a few gems that I enjoyed myself even as a local.
6 Tips When You Visit Lincoln Park Zoo – Your Guide to Experience Chicago’s Best Zoo
One of my favorite activities is walking around Lincoln Park Zoo to appreciate all of the cute animals and green spaces. If you’re looking for something free to do in Chicago, Illinois then walking around LPZ will be one of your favorite activities as well. I share some Chicago travel tips for women, things to do in Chicago and free events in the city. Here are my best tips when traveling to Lincoln Park zoo:
10 Free Rainy Day Activities in Chicago, Illinois – Fun Indoor Activities in Chicago
The month of September is when Chicago’s summer turns into cool fall days. While some days off are a lovely cool breeze, others include rain and soon upcoming snow. Here is a list of fun and free indoor rainy day activities for your Chicago trip.
Chicago’s Best Skyline Viewpoints – Your Guide to Get Gorgeous Chicago Skyline Photos
There are a few must have photos when you visit Chicago and one of them is a photo with you and the Chicago skyline. If you’re looking for the best Chicago skyline photo location, worthy of your Instagram, I definitely recommend these Chicago spots. I’ve listed my favorite views of Chicago skyline along with address locations; use this Chicago guide to find your perfect spot, find things to do in Chicago and experience Chicago as a solo traveler.
Is Chicago safe for women to travel to alone?
Yes, as long as you follow a few instructions, Chicago is a safe city for a woman traveler to visit alone. You can see all my tips for solo female travelers visiting Chicago here.
Is Chicago a good city to visit alone?
Yes, Chicago is a great city to visit alone. With so many different activities available year round and events happening seasonally, there is so much to do no matter what style of traveler you are. If you’re planning a solo trip to Chicago, you can check out 25+ free things you can do in Chicago, Illinois.
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