Visitor Information Centers
Chicago has three downtown Visitor Information Centers. Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St., and Chicago Water Works, 163 E. Pearson St., are open Mon.-Thurs. 8am-7pm, Fri. 8am-6pm, Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 10am-6pm and Holidays 10am-4pm. Millennium Park Welcome Center, 201 E. Randolph St., is open daily 10am-4pm and in spring and summer 9am-7pm. Information counters are also available at Midway and O'Hare Airports. Call Chicago Visitor Information toll-free at 877-244-2246 or 866-710-0294 (TTY).
Chicago's Street Numbering System
Chicago street numbers start at State and Madison downtown. State Street divides east and west addresses and Madison Street divides north and south addresses. Even- numbered addresses are on the west and north sides of the street and odd-numbered addresses on the south and east sides.
CTA Visitor Pass
The Chicago Transit Authority's Visitor Pass offers unlimited rides on CTA buses and trains all day: $5.75 for 1-day pass, $14 for 3-day pass, $23 for 7-day pass, $86 for 30-day pass. Full fare per ride with CTA fare card is currently $2.00 (bus) or $2.25 (train); the cost of the first transfer is 25 cents, the second is free, good for rides within 2 hours. Cash fare (bus only) is $2.25 per ride. Passes may be purchased at the airports, certain train stations and at retail locations around town. For advance purchase, call 888-968-7282 or 888-282-8891 (TTY) or go to www.transitchicago.com/.
If you plan to visit numerous attractions in Chicago, then you may save money by buying a pass that covers admission to the top sites. There are two passes to choose from: CityPass (888-330-5008, www.citypass.com/Chicago) and Go Chicago Card (800-887-9103, www.smartdestinations.com/Chicago).
Chicago Guidebook of Special Values
This coupon book from the Chicago Office of Tourism has discounts and 2-for-1 offers for attractions and sightseeing, entertainment, museums, dining and shopping. There's also a long list of free attractions and events. The Guidebook is available online at www.chicagoofficeoftourism.org/chicagocoupons/ and at Visitor Information Centers.
Free Tours from Chicago Greeter
Get an inside perspective on the Windy City, with more than 40 special interest areas and 25 neighborhoods to choose from. These free 2 to 4-hour tours, guided by local volunteers, all begin at the Visitor Information Center at 77 E. Randolph. For details, call 312-744-8000 or go to www.chicagogreeter.com.
MP3 Tours of the Loop
The Chicago Loop Alliance website offers free, self-guided audio tours that can be downloaded to MP3 players. Three tours with maps-Art Loop, Landmark Loop and Theatre Loop-are available online at www.chicagoloopalliance.com. Or you can reserve a fully-loaded "Loop the Loop" MP3 player at the ArchiCenter, 224 South Michigan Ave. (across from the Art Institute), 312-922-8687.
Download Chicago Tours
The Chicago Office of Tourism offers free downloadable tours which can be listened to and viewed at home or downloaded to an MP3 player. Tours include "The History of Chicago Blues, Narrated by Buddy Guy," "Millennium Park Enhanced Audio Tour," and "Chicago for Kids." All are available in English, Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese Mandarin. Go to www.downloadchicagotours.com.
Chicago Parking Locator
Finding the closest public parking lot or a garage is a snap when you use www.chicagoparkingmap.com. Just enter the street address and an area map showing all the nearby parking pops up. Then a click on the desired garage displays exact address, website and phone number.