One of the best things about the South Loop for both residents and visitors is how easy it is to get in, get out, and get around. The area is generally safe, extremely walkable and increasingly easy to navigate via bike. There are lots of public transportation options (both bus and the L), and we have direct access to several Chicago expressways (e.g., the Eisenhower, Lake Shore Drive). And if you want to leave Chicago – well that’s easy to do from here too!
To help folks understand and manage their transportation options, we offer our guidance and provide relevant services that are in, near, or serve the area.* Scroll down the page or click on one of the category links listed below to jump to a specific section.
We agree with the Active Transportation Alliance that making bicycling, walking and public transit safe, convenient and fun will help “achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel.” Fewer cars on the road greatly improves the quality of life for everyone in a densely populated area like ours, and we encourage the use of alternative means of transportation whenever possible.
If you know of a relevant transportation category, service, and/or resource we may have missed, please contact us.
*Service providers and resources are included on this page for information purposes only. Our listing them should not be viewed as an endorsement.
You can see all the public transportation options in the South Loop via Google Maps. Once you’ve opened the website or the app, click on the menu (three bars in the upper left corner of the screen) and then click on Transit. The map will then be overlaid with bus and train routes and stations. Or, simply click here to see a version already zeroed in on our area. 🙂
Google Maps can be very helpful in planning trip logistics; however, the RTA Trip Planner may be better. Although they don’t have an app, the website is optimized for mobile and is therefore easy to navigate while on the go. It also includes complete schedules, transit trackers and alerts for real-time updates. There’s also a map-based version.
If you use public transportation fairly regularly, you’ll want to get a Ventra card.
Click on the tabs below for quick guidance on how to get to and from and navigate around the South Loop using different public transportation options.
There are dozens of CTA bus routes that include the South Loop. Some of these routes are commuter focused and only available Monday through Friday, whereas others are available practically 24/7. Most South Loop residents and visitors are well served by being aware of these routes:
- #3, King Drive
- #4, Cottage Grove
- #12, Roosevelt
- #29, State Street
- #62, Archer
- #146, Inner Drive/Michigan Express
The South Loop offers relatively direct access to both of Chicago’s major airports, with Midway about 10 miles away (via the Stevenson Expressway) and O’Hare just under 20 miles (via the Eisenhower or Kennedy Expressways). One of the most reliable ways to get to each of them – and certainly the cheapest – is to take public transportation:
- Midway: the Orange line goes directly from the Roosevelt Road station to the terminal.
- O’Hare: the Blue line goes directly to the terminal. Depending on where you’re located, options for getting to the Blue line include taking the Red line into the Loop and transferring, and taking the #62/Archer bus to the Jackson station or the #29/State St bus to the Washington (Block 37) station.
Chicago is a great hub for both bus and train travel to other parts of the United States, as well as Canada. One resource for exploring options and booking travel is a site/app called Wanderu. And of course you can always book with providers directly. The South Loop’s central location means that it offers easy access to both train and bus stations:
Chicago is increasingly becoming a bike-friendly and cycling-focused city. Click here to learn more about the city’s commitment to cycling through the Department of Transportation’s Bike Program.
Both new and experienced cyclists can benefit from this article: A Beginner’s Guide To Biking On The Mean Streets Of Chicago.
Google Maps is a great resource for bicyclists to determine the fastest and safest route to get to a destination. Once you’ve opened the website or the app, click on the menu (three bars in the upper left corner of the screen) and then click on Bicycling. The map will then be overlaid with lines indicating trails, dedicated lanes, and bicycle-friendly roads. Or, simply click here or on the map image to see a version already zeroed in on our area. 🙂
Visitors to the city as well as residents who have cars are frequently challenged to both find and manage parking when they are in the South Loop. People who don’t own a car sometimes need one to run errands or go on a trip. And anyone who drives outside of the city wants help navigating traffic and tollways. Click on the tabs below for relevant car-related resources.
Parking in the City of Chicago can be a frustrating experience! Here are some services and apps that can help:
- BestParking.com (finding and booking garage parking, including monthly parking)
- Chicago Parking Map (parking garages and lots)
- ParkChicago (mobile payments for metered street parking)
- Parkopedia (crowd-sourced resource for managing parking)
- ParkWhiz (finding and booking garage parking, including monthly parking)
- SpotHero (finding and booking off-street parking)