Explore Chicago by Bike
When you visit Chicago, one of most bicycle friendly big cities in the United States, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the city by bike. It’s cheap, fun, and environmentally friendly. Moreover, you can arrive to your destinations faster by bicycle than by car
without being stuck in traffic. You can even combine cycling with public transit as there are also bike racks on trains and buses. Currently, there are more than 200 miles of bike lanes in Chicago, with more than 14,500 bicycle racks. Those bike lanes includes the protected, buffered, and shared bike lanes, as well as many off-street trails. Cycling in Chicago is very easy and generally safe as long as you follow the rules of the road like stopping at red lights and crosswalks.
Another thing that makes Chicago a biking paradise for tourists is the Lakefront Trail with spectacular views of Lake Michigan along 18.5 miles of car-free bicycle paths. If you don’t feel comfortable riding in the traffic, you can still explore top tourist attractions of the city using the Lakefront Trail. This route allows you to explore both nature and made made attractions. Along the trail, you can reach many sandy beaches, parks, lagoons, and popular tourist attractions like Lincoln Park Zoo, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, etc.
The Loop or Chicago downtown is where most of the skyscrapers located with big theaters, museums, and art galleries. While you are in the area, you should stop at Millennium Park with beautiful modern sculptures in steel and glass. There, you will see the iconic Cloud Gate, a giant bean-shaped structure made of stainless steel. Visitors love it as you can see all the surrounding skyscrapers in the reflection on the Bean. Apart from that, there is the Crown Fountain, a favorite hangout place in the summer. It has a shallow reflecting pool between a pair of mini-skyscrapers which act like waterfalls. You are welcome to splash around.
On the north side of Chicago, you can visit the Old Town, a historic neighborhood, and Lincoln Park. In the Old Town area, you can see old structures that survived the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 which include St. Michael’s Church, Chicago Water Tower, and Chicago Avenue Pumping Station. At the Lincoln Park, there are many interesting places to visit including Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago History Museum, and many other museums with North Avenue Beach nearby. You shouldn’t miss Lincoln Park Zoo and the conservatory as they are very well-maintained and free. If you are a sport fan, you can go further north to visit Wrigleyville, a home of the Chicago Cubs, with Wrigley Field and many great sport bars.
The south side of Chicago in the Hyde Park neighborhood is where the University of Chicago campus is located. There are many beautiful Gothic buildings in the campus. The area has also been the home of U.S. President Barack Obama since 2005. You can ride pass 5046 Greenwood Avenue to see the President’s family house. There are also many interesting museums in the area including DuSable Museum of African American History, Museum of Science and Industry, Smart Museum of Art, Oriental Institute Museum, and Robie House.
Here is where you can download and request Chicago bike maps:
Here are the rules of bringing bikes of public transit: