Chicago has an excellent public transportation system, including the 'L' or elevated train that runs throughout the city. Start your custom neighborhood tour for just the cost of a train ticket. Exploring the city by 'L' train is easy. You can buy fare cards and money-saving, multi-day passes from vending machines at most train stations, online at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) website or from more than 1,000 currency exchanges, grocery stores and drugstores throughout the city and suburbs. For full fare information, schedule details, transit card retailers and maps, visit transitchicago.com. Create your own hop-on, hop-off Chicago tour with these sample 'L' train itineraries. HOPLEAF BAR NEIGHBORHOOD: ANDERSONVILLE Get off at the Berwyn Red Line stop to enjoy a pint and comfort food at gastropub Hopleaf Bar or take in the eccentric charm of Andersonville's Hamburger Mary's. Be sure to stop in to the Andersonville Galleria for three levels of independently owned booths selling antiques, jewelry and more. WRIGLEY FIELD TOUR NEIGHBORHOODS: BOYSTOWN | WRIGLEYVILLE | LAKEVIEW Exit at Belmont (Red and Brown Lines) or Addison (Red Line) for Boystown, the epicenter of Chicago's LGBTQ community, and Wrigleyville, home to one of America's last great neighborhood ballparks and the Chicago Cubs — MLB’s 2016 World Series Champions. Get a famous Chicago-style dog at Clark Street Dog and take a Wrigley Field Tour. Visit Lakeview's Belmont Theater District, where more than 20 theaters and 100-plus bars, restaurants and cafes guarantee a good time. CHINATOWN SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD: CHINATOWN The Cermak-Chinatown Red Line stop will deliver you to one of the largest Chinatown neighborhoods in the country. Stroll Chinatown Square for zodiac sculptures, a two-level outdoor retail center and delicious authentic Chinese cuisine (MingHin is a winner). For a fascinating cultural experience, spend some time at the Chinese-American Museum of Chicago. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS TOMB NEIGHBORHOOD: BRONZEVILLE Stop at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT or 47th on the Green Line for a dose of African American culture. The Bronzeville Visitor Information Center offers heritage tours and gallery exhibits. Other attractions worth visiting are the Stephen A. Douglas Tomb, the Victory Monument and Gallery Guichard, which specializes in the art of the African diaspora. Hungry? Dine on to-die-for salmon croquettes and cheese grits at Peach’s Restaurant on S. King Drive, or sample authentic Senegalese dishes at nearby Yassa African Restaurant. SHEDD AQUARIUM NEIGHBORHOOD: SOUTH LOOP Culture awaits in Chicago's South Loop at the Roosevelt stop (Red, Orange and Green Lines), where you can discover The Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium at Museum Campus. For a historical look at the neighborhood, take a tour of Glessner House Museum, Clarke House Museum and Second Presbyterian Church. GREEKTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD: WEST LOOP Hit the Morgan stop on the Pink and Green Lines in the West Loop and browse Randolph Street's restaurants and retail. Treat yourself to culinary masterpieces at Little Goat, Grace or Nellcôte. Or grab a bite in Greektown after visiting the National Hellenic Museum. BANG BANG PIE & BISCUITS NEIGHBORHOOD: LOGAN SQUARE The Logan Square Blue Line stop and neighboring California Blue Line stop will take you to Chicago’s hipster headquarters, where bars and food-critic-approved eateries abound. Try the inventive biscuits at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, savor hearty curries at Michelinrated Fat Rice or sip vintage bourbons at Longman & Eagle. THE 606 NEIGHBORHOOD: WICKER PARK/BUCKTOWN Hop off at the Damen or Division Blue Line stops for vintage boutiques and nightlife along North, Division, Milwaukee and Damen avenues. Get cozy at The Bedford for Prohibition-style cocktails or The Violet Hour for an award-winning, seasonally rotating libations list. Explore the Flat Iron Arts Building’s three floors of studios, or one of the neighborhood's many other art galleries. Then, stretch your legs on The 606, a 2.7-mile elevated trail. NEIGHBORHOOD: WEST TOWN Exit the Chicago Blue Line stop to discover exciting music at the Empty Bottle, delve into Ukrainian culture and explore independent theater companies and colorful museums. Don't miss the Woman Made Gallery. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MEXICAN ART NEIGHBORHOOD: PILSEN Stop at 18th on the Pink Line and dive into the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood. Take in Mexican-American culture, detailed murals, galleries and authentic Mexican eateries. The must-hits: National Museum of Mexican Art and Thalia Hall for food, drinks and intimate music performances. NEIGHBORHOOD: LINCOLN SQUARE Use the Brown Line's Damen or Western stops to access Lincoln Square and Ravenswood, a historically German area. Attend a concert at Old Town School of Folk Music, immerse yourself in German culture at DANK Haus German American Cultural Center and browse gems like Timeless Toys and Amy’s Candy Bar. NEIGHBORHOOD: OLD TOWN The Sedgwick Brown Line stop brings you to Old Town, where Wells Street tempts with independent art and specialty shops selling everything from cigars to fudge. Get some belly laughs at The Second City or Zanies comedy club, peruse the Chicago History Museum and make time for a meal somewhere classic like Orso's Restaurant — or a hip watering hole such as Old Town Social. NEIGHBORHOOD: LINCOLN PARK Exit Fullerton (Red and Brown Lines), Armitage (Brown Line) or North/ Clybourn (Red Line) to explore Lincoln Park. Wander the free Lincoln Park Zoo, see a play at the award-winning Steppenwolf Theatre Company or pop into boutiques along Armitage, Clybourn and Halsted avenues. There are also primo shopping ops at NEWCITY Lincoln Park. CHICAGO GREETER BOOK A FREE CHICAGO GREETER TOUR Completely free and uniquely customized to your interests, the popular Chicago Greeter service is offered year-round in multiple languages covering numerous neighborhoods and interests, including food, public art and history. Booking your 2- to 4-hour guided sightseeing walk is simple: • Visit chicagogreeter.com at least 10 business days before your trip. • Register for a visit with your group size, from one to six guests, and select neighborhoods or interest areas. • Receive email confirmation that you’ve been paired with a Greeter. • See sides of the city you may not have seen on your own, and experience a truly authentic Chicago. INSTAGREETER: AN IMPROMPTU OPTION No need to pre-register. These hour-long guided walks are a wonderful last-minute alternative to a full Greeter visit. Just drop in during open hours: Loop InstaGreeter (Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St.) offered year-round. Departing every half hour on Fridays/Saturdays 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. & Sundays 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Check out chicagogreeter.com for details on the Loop InstaGreeter and seasonal Millennium Park InstaGreeter tours.
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