How Safe Is Chicago for Travel?

Chicago, United States
Safety Index:
65

Chicago, Illinois, on the west side of Lake Michigan, is one of the most dynamic and cultural hubs in the United States.

This city is rooted in a wealth of history but is also an ever-evolving ecology of art, fashion, trends, and foods.

Whatever you call it – Chi-town, The Windy City, “Chicawgo” – this is a place where you can go from the beach to Broadway to Bloomingdales in a small radius.

In fact, visiting Chicago in the summer will give you a completely different experience than visiting in winter.

The city has so much history, including the incomprehensible storyline of Devil in the White City, that you shouldn’t miss one of the tours by bus, boat, or foot.

You’ll learn why the Chicago River flows backward, where the mob bosses hung out, and what sweet treat was invented here.

With more than 40 neighborhoods to explore, you won’t be able to fit everything in.

The Loop is one of the top draws, being the central business district for the city of nearly three million people.

There’s a neighborhood for various cultures, from Chinatown to Little Italy to Beverly (an Irish neighborhood).

A trip to Wrigleyville might just have you leave Chicago as a Cubs fan.

Wicker Park will feed your inner artist, and the Magnificent Mile is a shopping paradise known globally.

Warnings & Dangers in Chicago

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

There's a medium overall risk in Chicago, and some neighborhoods rise to high risk. Chicago is notorious for its gun violence and gang crimes, which are being fueled by increased gun crime across America and the nationwide opioid epidemic. While there are a lot of websites that might scare you away from Chicago, we just want to prepare you for a safe trip. However, even Conde Nast readers say Chicago is the Best Big City in the U.S. to visit.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

You could spend a whole day learning all the ways to get around Chicago. The Chicago Transit Authority oversees rail lines and bus routes throughout the city. You'll use the Metra Rail to get to the Chicago suburbs. Taxis and rideshares are waiting around the corner everywhere. You can also use a water taxi or rent a bicycle to see Chicago on two wheels.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

There's a high risk of being pickpocketed or having a purse snatched in Chicago, with an average of 2500 happening a year. During COVID, the rates went down, but CTA has officially issued a pickpocket warning again in 2022. Pickpockets are always in the crowd waiting for a tourist to make one small mistake. They might bump you on a crowded street or go as far as to provide "help" while having another person waiting for your distraction to lead them right into your pocket.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

This is a medium risk as Chicago can get severe weather, including tornadoes and massive winter storms. You should always have a weather app with notifications enabled and know where a safe place to go is in case of a tornado. Most hotels will have a designated area.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

The robbery rate is more than three times the national average, and there's a medium risk it will happen to you. To lower your risk, stay off the streets at night. Never walk down an alley or side street. If you have a bad feeling about a group of people, move to the other side of the road or go into the nearest business. Should you be a robbery victim, don't fight back. Just do what you are told and remember as much as possible to be a good witness.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : HIGH

There's a high risk in Chicago as it's one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Former Deputy U.S. Marshal Ed Farrell told ABC7 in Chicago, "They're (terrorists) looking for events with mass casualties to further them. So that's why Chicago is such a priority." Chicago was on the original list of the 9/11 attacks, along with Los Angeles, added by Osama bin Laden himself. However, the list was whittled down to the New York and Washington targets. With this risk comes an abundance of Homeland Security and military oversight for the security and safety of residents and visitors.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

Everyone has a hustle in Chicago, and there's a medium risk they will come after you. Scammers in Chicago can be brisk and pushy, so stand up to them and avoid anyone trying to sell you a ticket or trinket on the street. As much as you might want to help someone in need, you should assume anyone who is begging for help is really trying to scam you. It's a sad statement, but you've got to protect yourself in this urban jungle.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Women should proceed with medium risk and avoid going out by themselves - especially after dark. Staying in groups or pairs will give a better sense of safety and avoid making one person more of a target than another. Have a secret word you use with a friend if one of you feels uncomfortable and needs to leave. When enjoying the nightlife, you can ask the bartender for an Angel Shot. This is a signal that you are being harassed and need help. They will handle the situation from there.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

The 2021 Water Quality Report shows all standards were met in all categories tested. The city also does more than 600,000 water analyses a year. You might read about the danger of lead in drinking water, and this is due to the pipes of a building or structure, not the water itself. The city is working to replace aging pipes. If you are staying at an older hotel, you might just want to use bottled water for drinking to be safe.

Safest Places to Visit in Chicago

The Choose Chicago website offers many ideas and suggestions for all seasons.

Since there’s so much to do, we can’t explore all the options here.

Let’s go through some of the highlights.

A CityPass is a great way for first-timers to explore the city.

This gives you deep discounts on five of the top attractions in The Windy City.

You’ll get access to:

  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Field Museum

Then you can choose from two of the following:

  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
  • 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
  • Adler Planetarium

There are other CityPass options, so you can choose the one that’s right for your family.

Taking a boat tour of the city is one of the staples of Chicago tourism, and you have many options to choose from; plus, there are bus tours with open-air double-decker styles for maximum enjoyment.

I was 12 years old on my first tourist visit to Chicago, and I was mind-boggled that there were beaches in the land-locked state, much less beaches right in front of the massive city landscape.

  • Oak Street Beach: Closest to the Magnificent Mile and great city views while sunbathing.
  • North Avenue Beach: Popular with tourists and close to Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Loyola Beach: This is a great choice for families traveling with kids, as the water is more shallow and the crowds are less dense.
  • 31st Street Beach: Ideal location for water sports. While most beaches offer a variety of water rentals, this is the main hub for the sporting types. Hollywood Beach is the place to go if you want calmer waters to SUP.

Chicago also has an array of major league sports teams, including the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, and Blackhawks. Chicagoans are a devoted fan base, so any game will be an exciting experience.

It can be overwhelming to see the number of theater performances in Chicago but to secure your transaction, explore BroadwayInChicago.com.

It will save you hours of searching and allow you to select show tickets at various theatres.

You’ll be amazed at all the dining options in Chicago.

It’s funny the little things we remember as children because I was five years old when my grandfather passed away.

My family went for a quick trip to Chicago for the funeral, and I vividly remember my cousin taking me down a stone staircase, and I was staring at the tallest pizza I’d ever seen.

The Chicago Deep Dish Pizza is something you just have to experience.

Being from St. Louis, our claim to fame was the ultra-thin crust, so this thick pie was just mesmerizing.

Other foods to try include:

  • Chicago-style Hot Dog (do not put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago unless you want to get a lot of sour looks and maybe a few snide comments)
  • Chicago Italian Beef: Meat piled high on a hoagie with sweet or spicy peppers brings many people to foodie heaven.
  • Original Rainbow Cone: For a sweet treat, check out this towering ice cream cone of color.

Places to Avoid in Chicago

It’s hard to give neighborhood-specific places to avoid because there are just so many neighborhoods here.

The city has more than 2.7 million people in it.

So, as a general guideline, south of I-55 and anywhere north and south of I-290 is a more dangerous part of town.

The west side has higher crime rates until you get into the more suburban areas.

Crime data can tell one story, but there are also people who know the city best and want you to have a great time.

These are the concierge and front desk attendants at your hotel.

They can give you street-by-street specific advice.

You can even consider tipping them a large amount upfront in exchange for ongoing help, or if they’ve been very helpful, tip them well at the end of the trip.

If you don’t carry cash tips, many tip-based workers have Venmo or CashApp, so you can easily leave a tip through a secure transaction.

Avoid being out after dark and just walking around.

Plan where you are going before you leave, and get door-to-door service with taxis or rideshares.

Having your own rental car sounds like a good idea, but there are a lot of safety steps to take so you can safely park in such a dangerous city.

Carjackings and thefts from cars are so common that police suggest you don’t even drive around with your purse on the passenger seat.

Instead, store it below your seat.

St. Patrick’s Day is a huge event in Chicago

That doesn’t mean avoiding the city during that time.

It just means you will experience higher prices, even larger crowds, and an incredible number of drunk people.

Just be prepared but also enjoy yourself, because this is one of the best events the city hosts.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Chicago

  1. You can review updated crime statistics on the Chicago Police Department website. They list crimes by the week and by different patrol districts. You’ll get a better look at crime trends during your visit and be able to better plan your trip.
  2. The police department also has a YouTube Page, @ChicagoPoliceNews, where you can get a better lay of the land and safety information right from the officers who work the streets. This could be a great way to pass the time on your flight to Chicago.
  3. There’s a document on the police department’s website that prepares you to be a crime victim. Yes, that sounds ominous, but you might not realize that even certain phrases an attacker uses could better help track them down.
  4. Don’t use an ATM in public or at night. Always go inside a bank if you really need to use an ATM. Don’t walk outside still arranging your cash in your wallet or in your pockets.
  5. While most violent crime is connected to gang activity, that doesn’t mean only gang members can fall victim. Innocent bystanders can be caught in the crossfire. This is why it’s important to avoid any dangerous situation or driving through unknown neighborhoods. It’s tempting to be a “Looky Lou,” but it’s not worth the risk.
  6. While audio tours are available for several of the districts in Chicago, you should avoid doing anything that will take away your senses. Wearing headphones while being enthralled during an architecture tour takes away your ability to hear or see danger coming, especially if you are really into the topic. Stick to one of the tours with a guide who is there for safety while still giving you a great tour.
  7. The CTA does have a variety of ways to pay, but you don’t want to be pulling out your wallet at every boarding station. Use the Ventra app to purchase tickets and add money to your account. When you swipe your card or mobile ticket, keep all other credit cards away from the card reader. This is called “Card Clash” and could end up charging additional money to a random card sitting in your wallet.
  8. If you are using taxis or rideshares, ask the driver to watch you walk into the building before they drive off (tip them a little extra for this). This will make sure that someone sees you getting safely inside, and if something should go wrong, you’ve got a quick call to 911 happening.
  9. You should call 911 for an emergency, of course, but Chicago also utilizes the 311 program. You can dial 311 to get city information, emergency details, or report non-urgent crime information.
  10. Sign up for emergency alerts through NotifyChicago.org. This will get severe weather information right on your device and will include other things like road closures, lake flood stage, or anything that could put people in harm’s way.

So... How Safe Is Chicago Really?

While most articles I can write, “It’s not as dangerous as Chicago,” obviously, that doesn’t work in this article.

Chicago had the most deadly years in a quarter of a century in 2021, and even pickpockets are making a raging comeback in the aftermath of COVID.

Anyone who isn’t used to the hustle of a big city and the inherent risks are going to feel overwhelmed and potentially scared while visiting here, but there’s really no need to avoid the city.

You need street smarts, situational awareness, and a balance of caution with calm to enjoy a safe trip here.

The vast majority of violent crime is among people who know each other, with a strong pull toward gang-on-gang crime.

“The last two years have been extraordinarily high when it comes to the rates of gun violence in our city,” Roseanna Ander, executive director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, said.

There’s a wider safety gap than there’s ever been in our city, between the most safe neighborhoods and the least safe.”

Chicago is a dangerous city, built for people with thick skin and a resilient spirit.

Stay in groups as much as possible while avoiding congested areas.

Always use the utmost safety, but even need to do that with caution.

If you keep patting your pocket or checking your bag, a savvy thief is going to notice you are targeting where your most valuable items are located.

One suggestion is also to carry a fake wallet loaded with scraps of paper, so if you do get mugged you can hand over the wallet without losing anything.

By the time the criminal realizes they’ve been had, you are long gone.

You can also make sure you carry a bag or purse with a zipper and keep it in front of your body where you can comfortably rest your hand on the seam.

Pay special attention to transition zones, like getting off the bus or train into a new section of town.

Don’t dress like a tourist since that will signal to crooks that you are not from here and likely carrying valuables on you.

If you are going shopping, do that last, so you don’t have to wrangle bags all day.

How Does Chicago Compare?

CitySafety Index
Chicago65
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Memphis54
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80

Useful Information

  • Visas - Start the U.S. visa process months ahead of time and check how long of a wait there is for an interview at the embassy. Some embassies are backed up for half a year. You'll need your visa at the airport upon arrival and departure, but you can freely travel throughout Chicago without having to show your visa.
  • Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar and don't bring a lot - if any - cash. There are too many pickpocketers around, and pulling out cash in public is just dangerous. Use a credit card or mobile pay app for all purchases. Don't throw receipts away in a public trash can.
  • Weather - You'll need all the winter clothing you can find as Chicago gets bone-chilling cold at times. While there isn't always snow on the ground, it happens enough that bringing snow boots is smart. Spring and fall have fluctuating temperatures, so wear layers. Summer will be hot and humid, so bring stylish but comfortable clothes that you can sweat in without ruining the fabric.
  • Airports - Chicago has two airports. O'Hare is the best option if you are traveling internationally. Midway is a great option for U.S. flights, but it does have international routes too. Both are very similar in distance and price to get to and from the city.
  • Travel Insurance - It doesn't make sense to practice all these great safety steps, but leave your trip unprotected. Travel insurance for flight security, driving issues, or health emergencies will give you one less thing to worry about while visiting Chicago.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Chicago Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -3° C
Feb -1° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 10° C
May 16° C
Jun 21° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 0° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
12713192528272317103
Low
°C
-6-4161217212117104-3
High
°F
343645556677828173635037
Low
°F
212534435463707063503927

Where to Next?

77 Reviews on Chicago

  1. S
    Shanika says:

    Terror on the nearNorth side

    There is plenty of violent crime in Chicago ‘s near north side too.

    This week alone 7 women were shot at Fullerton Beach !

    Bicyclists shoot random pedestrians, ladies are raped in the morning as they leave for work .

    Men , even big guys , are severely beat up in cell phone thefts!

    While the excellent Chicago cops are busy patrolling the South and West side, there are few police left to protect in the Near North side.

    Near Northsiders are targets in a crime infested shooting gallery !

    1. Nonsense

      This is amusing, but basically pure fantasy.

      1. Rebutting the "Amusing"

        So why are there police reports indicating such. I am sure its a beautiful city, and great for people who live there, but just last night saw where a man, around the LOOP area was beaten up pretty bad/mugged. Others shot around Lincoln Part and just other random shootings. I am sure its like most big cities, but crime itself has gotten out of hand.

    2. This review is not true at all

      This review is ridiculous. I live downtown and have for many years.

      1. J
        Joseph K says:

        Be serious.

        Are you kidding me? Chicago’s crime hasn’t been kept to the South and West sides for a long time. The North Side may be “more safe” than parts of the South and West, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to tell people that they’re OK on the North Side, that’s ridiculous.

        1. Gangs r running Chicago

          100 % agree I live on the most north eastern edge of “Chicago” and there are shootings, robberies and rape here alive and well

          1. L
            Left Chicago.. taxes/crime too high says:

            You are correct…. Rogers Park, a once quiet neighborhood home to Loyola University and older Jewish residents is now full of gang activity.

      2. Chicago cesspool

        Yeah, and you don’t go out at night. Property values have dropped 50 percent and no ones buying. The Mayor lightfoot is a true idiot.

        1. W
          William says:

          Zero stars avoid

          Light foot is an asshole and won’t support her own police. Like every other major us city run by Democrats Chicago has gone to hell. Lived there for 25 years. Won’t even drive through anymore without being armed

      3. T
        Think twice before visiting says:

        Agreed. Chicago has become scary during the day as well as night. Public transport is not safe either. No neighborhood has been spared of violent crime in 2020 and 2021. So sad.

      4. As someone who’s never lived in Chicago I can confirm.

    3. G
      Gabriel Mejia says:

      Pure comedy

      This is hilarious. Grew up in the area and have lived and taught in the city proper for 17 years. I’ve never known anyone who was pickpocketed.
      Stay away from the West Side past Humboldt Park if you don’t know where you’re going. Everything else is fine. Yes, even the South Side. Like anywhere, just don’t be stupid or aggressive.

      1. Lovely city

        I live in River North: safe and close to downtown
        Of course, at night always best to be cautious !

  2. Danger day or night

    Day or night .Very very very dangerous on th Near North side .

  3. Stay away please

    Stay away it’s so dangerous on the near north side, I got a gun permit and a vest I’m not messing around anymore

    1. Bulletproof vest required

      Exactly mike has the right idea

  4. a
    angela woollen says:

    Is the observation building n looking at the Christmas tree lights dangerous

  5. Back of the Yards Revival.

    The Back of the Yards area is really getting nice. There are some great bars and restaurants in the area now. I never felt in danger at all and never saw even a hint of anything sketchy. Even there several times last summer and fall. Use Uber or Lift for transportation.

    1. J
      Joy Scott says:

      Is this Pisner area (Thalia hall) safe?

      1. G
        Gabriel Mejia says:

        You mean Pilsen. Yes it’s very safe these days near Thalia Hall and there are excellent bars and restaurants all around. Get there early and check out the National Museum of Mexican Art nearby.

    2. F
      Former South Sider says:

      Back of the Yards is not safe

      Back of the Yards WAS a nice neighborhood up until the 1960s.and early 1970s It was populated mostly by Irish back then.

      It’s not the worst neighborhood on the South Side now, but certainly not an area one would wish to visit after nightfall.

      The only improvement in Back of the Yards is that the smell of the old stockyards is long gone.

  6. Don’t believe this rating

    I live in Chicago. This rating is hilarious. Yes, there are unsafe neighborhoods in Chicago- like any other city. However, I feel very safe in any of the neighborhoods that tourist would want to visit

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Which neighborhoods

      1. some good places are gold coast and edgewater

    2. B
      Bob Jones says:

      Enjoying Chicago

      Most of the crime in Chicago is gang related. However, innocent parties can be victims as well. Clearly, certain areas should be avoided,but downtown and the magnificent mile area are reasonably safe. The thing to remember is that you are in a major metropolitan area, and you should always be mindful of your surroundings. I wouldn’t say that you should keep your head on a swivel, but stay alert, avoid night travel and isolated areas. If you see something suspicious, get away from it as quickly as possible and if necessary, report it to a police officer.

  7. Chicago is not Safe

    I love Chicago and have spent months and month working there. I even met my current wife there and we’d love to go back for a visit but it is just too dangerous. There are 100 of people being shot every month and rioting. We are both sadden by it decline, but Chicago is no longer a safe place any more.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      In 2020, Stay Away!

      Unsafe

      1. M
        Mutual Combat says:

        Where can I watch “ Mutual Combat” gun fights?
        According the the State Attorney it’s legal in Chicago.

  8. A
    Anonymous says:

    What should I do, if I just rent a car from the airport

    1. Chicago, a Sheet hole

      Born and raised in Chicago and still live in a western suburb. I travel downtown every day. Stay in any western suburb of Chicago thats at least 20 miles from the City. No problems. The south and west sides of Chicago are where most of the crime is and they are 99.9 percent Black. The downtown and north side, gold coast gets bad at night because kids come from the South and west sides to prey on people. They figured out there is more opportunity there to commit profitable crime than on the south and west sides. This post will be regarded as racist, but it is just stating fact. Take it any way you want, ignore it and get mugged, robbed, carjacked or shot.

      1. This is true. Its a fact, look at the data compiled by CPD. They can’t fix the problem because there hands are tied behind there backs. They no longer get support from city hall. Many senior officers have gone into early retirement as morale is at an all time low.

  9. A
    Anonymous says:

    Lived in the city most of my life. It is not the same city now. I was robbed by 4 teens in hoodies at gun point in Lincoln Park, my granddaughter was robbed at an ATM in Logan Sauare. Mag Mile looted 2x is still boarded up, number of stores are not coming back. No Chicago is not the same and the mayor dosen’t care, it’s all political for her.

  10. S
    Southsider says:

    Chicago crime.

    This shit isn’t completely accurate. I’m a white male that’s spent his whole life on the south side of the city. Yes the south side is dangerous and majority of major crime happens there. And also the west side. But there’s crime no matter what side of the city your on.
    I’ve driven through,walked through (day/night) and have stopped and ate in every neighborhood around the south side and haven’t had any problems whatsoever.
    Just like anywhere else in every city it’s how you carry yourself. Obviously if your some easy looking mark that stands out like they def don’t belong and doesn’t Look like their going to put up much of a fight and basically gonna be an easy pay day well sorry to say your chances of being robbed is a lot higher. But that’s anywhere in this country.
    And gang wise in my experience if your in the neighborhoods (south side for example) and u don’t look like your a part of the gangculture or look like your a member of a gang then u don’t get bothered with It’s all how you carry yourself. AND WITH THE SOUTH SIDE IF YOU GIVE RESPECT YOU’LL GET RESPECT PLAIN AN SIMPLE

    1. L
      Lifelong Chicagoan says:

      I mostly agree with you, Southsider, but I say it entirely depends on the neighborhood and time of day. I’ve been around different parts of the south and west sides, and some places I would go in the daytime but not at night. Some areas get rough late at night and fighting does break out, so I wouldn’t recommend inner city areas to tourists because one does not want to get caught in the middle of anything.
      As for the mugging issue, it happens sometimes, but I don’t think it’s a big issue like the author of this posts presents it. I think tourists need to just be smart, don’t try to display valuables and not wander around deserted parts of the city late.

    2. A
      Anonymous says:

      You may have become accustomed to the criminal acrtivity, but no, that is not true anywhere in this country.

      1. I agree. Chicago was safe when I was growing up. Since when is crime acceptable – if it’s similar to other crime ridden areas? Our standards have tanked. Shame on us.

  11. CHICAGOISAFE

    I WIIL GO TO CHIGAGO,NOT LISTENING TO THIS DUMBY

  12. K
    Katwichdu says:

    Chicago

    I said its medium. I’d maybe go to Chicago, Its a big city.+ WHO SAID THERE IS TERRORISM IN CHICAGO??? Absolutely no

  13. Chicago is very safe

    All of these people saying the North Side is dangerous are completely out of their minds. I have lived in Chicago for 5 years and it is a beautiful and safe city with plenty of amazing things to do and see. Go to the beach, walk along the Mag Mile, rent a boat or a bike and cruise along the Riverwalk. There are some very affluent neighborhoods in Chicago, gorgeous 3 flats, large homes in the Gold Coast and Lincoln Park, amazing restaurants. The areas that are considered dangerous are miles away from any neighborhood a tourist would visit, and the crime stays very confined to those areas. I suspect many of these reviews are from people who have a personal vendetta against the city or who have not actually been to the city. At most, there is petty crime in the touristy areas, like literally every other major city. Come visit Chicago, and you will see what a beautiful and safe place it really is.

    1. Is it safe now in july 2021. We will be staying in a chicago downtown hotel in streeterville for just two nights..

    2. L
      Lifelong Chicagoan says:

      I have lived in Chicago for over 50 years. I say how safe Chicago is depends on where you go, what time of day, and if you are in a group or alone. Part of what you say is true, Mariam, but I want to add that people should just be prudent, stick around the tourist areas and north side and be careful where they go when it’s late. I suggest asking a concierge or Chicagoan for advice when they come. The review about a pickpocket problem, and how the public transportation is dangerous is ridiculous. I haven’t had pickpocket problems, but I also don’t go displaying my money or my smartphone. And you can go on most bus routes or trains at day hours, but I don’t recommend the Red Line at night or any deserted area. Some things changed since 2020. People mostly need to use common sense when visiting Chicago.

  14. Don’t be put off

    I’ve been twice and loved the city so much I committed to visiting at least once a year.

    I felt perfectly safe at all times but bear in mind I’ve only been in the north and near west side. Downtown was the cleanest city I’ve ever known.

    Buses and the L were brilliant. Never bothered with taxis or Ubers.

    Common sense and precautions are advised when visiting, but the same can be said for anywhere.

  15. Uncontrolled violence

    Murder, robbery and rape are alive and well all days of the week north East Chicago.

    It’s like the purge here at night

  16. This is not a vacation spot.

    Every night in Chicago is like the purge not isolated to the south west sides anymore. Do not walk around at night! Big stupid.

  17. A
    Anonymous says:

    AHHHHHHH TO MUCH MAFIA

  18. R
    Rachael says:

    Every night like the purge?! Are you kidding? I lived there for two years and it is way safer than the right-wing media would have you believe. They just hate black people, they associate them with violent crime, ergo in the ancient, shriveled white male mind of Fox News, anywhere with a lot of black people is a nightmarish crime pit.

    Not true at all! I really love to visit because of the great shopping, friendly atmosphere, liveliness, and lots of great vegan places where you can get stuff you can’t get in central Illinois, where I live. I loved living here. There weren’t roving gangs of thieves on transport at night – there are mentally ill homeless people who jabber incoherently about the lizard people or whatever, people begging, some sincerely in need, others not so much, and intoxicated people.

    On St. Patrick’s day or after a Cub’s game, expect transportation to be clogged with rowdy drunk white tourists, who were much more of a nuisance to me than any local residents! The city lost its goddamned mind in 2016 when the Cubs won the World Series. Took about a week for it to regain sanity and order. But normally, life here is just boring and filled with the usual stuff you expect from any major big city in the Midwestern United States.

    Just don’t wander too far south at night, I guess? I don’t even know if the south side is as bad as they say it is. I don’t have a ton of experience with it, but I have been around the White Sox’s stadium and that area might be called “south side” and it was fine to me? I’ve been on shopping trips all over the city. If you go shopping in poorer neighborhoods you can save money.

    Public transit and biking are great and cheap options. Downtown they even have rental bikes you get from a kiosk. I rode one such bike alongside the lake shore one summer – highly recommend the experience. You should check out the Field Museum, Harold Washington Library, the Sears (now called Willis officially, but not by Chicagoans) tower, the Hancock tower which is also called Chicago 360 (because you can walk around and get a 360 view of the city from the top of the 100-story tower), the Art Institute museum, Maggie Daley Park, Grant & Millenium parks near it, the lake shore area in general in the summer, take an architectural tour by boat or bus, eat authentic Chicago heart attack food, get a souvenir at the world’s fanciest Walgreen’s on Michigan Avenue, which is also a great place to look at clothes that are too expensive to actually buy, you can take carriage rides near the Water Tower place mall near Hancock, Water Tower place being a neat little skyscraper with a mall inside that features American Girl and Lego stores and as such is a great place for kids, but the sports bar on the 7th floor is a good place for dads.

    There’s just so much to do and see that is positive that I wish everyone could experience, without being put off by inconceivable, exaggerated tall tales reporters have made up about this place. Peace.

    1. T
      The oracle says:

      Don’t be stupid

      Those were the good old days. I live in the Gold Coast … don’t wear anything gold there anymore.. not worth your life. This lady is a moron…how about this ppl…look at the crime stats and decide who is telling the truth..this moron who lived here for 2 years in 2016 before the world lost its mind.. or the data that shows killings and shootings are out of control.. or how about this…google it and watch the crimes that are blatant in broad daylight.. you’ve been warned.. instead of vacationing here.. rent a cabin and canoe with your family and then watch amovie that’s been filmed here… and it’s too bad.. chitown was awesome… best city in the country.

      1. Chicago that toddling town

        I grew up in the burnside and South Chicago neighborhood. Left in the 1970s.Chicago is a great city. Don’t kid yourself, it is dangerous. Why would you shop in a poor neighborhood, to make yourself feel good! Chicago neighborhoods are very territorial and was the same way when I grew up in the 50s,60s and 70.
        The difference now is that the punks go into areas that were out of bounds years ago.
        Plus the criminals go about their craft knowing they probably will not get arrested.
        2 friends of mine were shot dead, one friend raped, I was knifed.

    2. a
      anonymous says:

      by far african neighbourhoods are bad in Chicago

      FALSE! the areas where the majority racial population is black are by far the WORST in the city! the most crime riddled areas by far folks. I’m a hispanic/white (not mestizo) I know how this city really is like it’s becoming worse and worse by each and every day.

    3. Unsafe

      You are so misinformed. Right wing media? You mean left. Also wether you want to believe or not Chicago worst places are mostly black. Not saying that all neighborhoods with black people in this country are as bad as the ones here but it’s a war zone out here. Many shootings and raping. There is a reason why so many people trying to speak out on black vs black crime including black people.

    4. Loved Rachael’s review! She really captured the essence of Chicago.
      It’s important to employ both common sense and “street” sense when walking around or using public transport in any urban area. Chicago is an amazing city…comparable to others of similar size when it comes to safety. Every city has some areas that are less safe than others.

    5. A
      Anonymous says:

      Not safe to visit

      Raechel’s comment purposely puts potential visitors in harm’s way. Saying public transit is a “great option” is a dangerous comment, as visitors are being attacked on both the CTA trains and platforms even during daylight hours throughout the system.

      Random street crime is a common occurrence in the “upscale” Gold Coast, River North, and Streeterville neighborhoods, as South and West Side gangs know that they will not be prosecuted for violent crimes. Carjackings, while a problem in all big Democrat-run cities, are particularly common in Chicago, again at all hours of the day and in the nicer areas. My wife and I left and sold our condo on East Delaware Street, as we no longer felt safe walking the neighborhood, and we are in our early 50s.

  19. C
    ClaireM says:

    Unsafe in any area

    Grew up in Logan Square (before it was a yuppie wonderland) and lived there the first 35 years of my life. Moved away for 30 years, career e.t.c, and wanted to come back. No way that’s happening now. High taxes, high crime everywhere, and lots of hate between every racial and ethnic group. Police don’t control the streets anymore, gangs and criminals do. Very sad, I loved the city.

  20. E
    Estrella says:

    That's life

    There is crime everywhere, my advice is don’t carry a purse, don’t get lost in your cell phone 100% look around, and always be ready to call 911 at any given moment. Know where your emergency button is but also set up your phone for an emergency by pressing the power button 3 times or however your phone does it.

    Kids nowadays don’t look around, don’t communicate well with their parents so when they go missing or need help parents can’t even guess where to check first.

    Just know dressing to impress and be very fancy will make a thief think you have $ even if you don’t. Avoid porting too much information on social media, believe me, there are people following right now as you walk, look around as you read this article.

    Don’t live scared but be cautious and learn self-defense most important join a track team to run if need to.

    Remember if you wear heels to a party, always have a pair of comfortable shoes in case you have to walk back home. Anyway, I feel like a mother giving advice LOL just avoid, South Side Chicago, North Chicago, Waukegan, zion, etc at all times, and to all cities avoid walking at night either by yourself or someone else it doesn’t matter. ✌️

  21. P
    Patrick O'Connell says:

    Chicago is not as bad as you think

    I have visited many cities, and many places in my lifetime. I would have to say Chicago is the best, if not one of the best cities I have ever visited.

    Between the food, architecture, beach, walking tours, and other things to do. There is never a shortage of fun or adventure in this city. With this being said, we do need to address the crime. In my experience, I have had good luck being downtown, the north side, and the surrounding areas.

    Although these areas are safer, still take normal safety precautions. Lock car doors, hide valuables in your car and keep your belongings close to you.

    I personally have never felt unsafe walking around at night downtown, or the surrounding areas with friends, or family, but like any other city of its size; always take normal safety precautions. Stay out of dangerous neighborhoods (IE: Englewood, South Shore, Little Village, North Lawndale, etc.).

    Don’t instigate the homeless people either. Most of them are drug addicts and just want money, it is best to not instigate on their business and have the potential to be attacked. Although I have never personally had any issues with crime in the city, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. Although the right-wing media will have you believe Chicago is an evil city, it is not.

    Essentially, if you mind your own business, and do not instigate others’ business, you should be fine.

    Other than that, here is the fun stuff. Things to check out: tourists definitely need to see the field museum, Shedd Aquarium, Cloud gate, The Sears Tower, and go shopping down the magnificent mile. There is so much more than that, but I think those things are a good place to start your adventure.

    Another cool thing to check out is China Town. China Town has a lot of good restaurants and cool little shops to check out. If you’re hungry in the downtown area, Miller’s Pub is definitely a good place to eat.

    The food is fantastic and the service was amazing. Even though the right-wing media will lead you to believe Chicago is dangerous and scary, it’s really not. If you decide to take a trip, it will be one that you won’t forget.

  22. I will take the bypass

    I read all of the reviews. I’m not from Chicago. But when I see a medium rating that means do not go there. From the national news, crime in Chicago seems to be getting worse. There are so many other places to see, why take the risk?

  23. Dangerous Democrat controlled

    Not safe! People from the rest of Illinois won’t go towards Chicago anymore. It’s very dangerous and you are taking a chance with your life walking around Chicago. Rape , home invasions, murder , gangs and shootings, looting and protests with crime.

  24. C
    Chris "Money" Brandon says:

    I was born in Chicago

    I was born in Chicago. Raised on 134 west LaSalle in Roseland from 84 to 92. I never got shot, beat up, robbed, or anything. Probably because I’m super aware of my surroundings and I respect everybody and I mind my own business!

    Curtis school 85 to 92.

  25. Wrong turn scared

    Driving home from Indiana to Chicago I took a wrong turn and ended up in a bad part of Chicago by the subway I never been so scaredy in all my life never again!!!’

  26. hispanicks and whites are part of the problem too

  27. J
    Jessica says:

    Reputations are for a reason

    Sadly, jJust the fact that this is a full on discussion lets me know it is not worth my safety to visit!

  28. This comment section is absolute lunacy.
    If you haven’t been to Chicago yet, go. It’s the absolute greatest downtown in America. Architectural beauty, incredible parks, a beautiful riverwalk and lakefront path, incredible sports environments (Cubs, Hawks, Bulls, Sox, all of it), some phenomenal historic music venues, museums, and bars. Take the architectural boat tour, go eat a Chicago Dog or Italian Beef, check out the amazing Art Institute, grab a cocktail at the Green Mill or Kingston Mines.

    Chicago, like most big cities in America, grapples with crime. Unfortunately, it follows the same trend as the country where it has gotten worse after 2020. There are indeed still “bad neighborhoods” as everyone mentioned above and crime can absolutely happen anywhere. But to say it regularly happens is false. 3 million people live & go about their day every single day here. Keep aware of your surroundings at night, take an Uber or taxi if you aren’t familiar with where you are going and you’ll be fine. Enjoy one of the greatest cities in America.

  29. As safe as any major city

    This review is sort of silly. Any major city of Chicago’s size is going to have good parts and bad parts, but for tourists visiting The Loop and Streeterville and those areas, you only need to exercise basic common sense and you will be fine. I lived in the West Loop and worked downtown by Millennium Park and, as a woman, I walked home from work every night after dark without fear. I had many out-of-town guests visit me and we walked the Magnificent Mile and took boat rides through the city and it was always a fantastic time.

    Just because you hear about gang shootings on the news doesn’t make Chicago an unsafe city – these are shootings in parts of the city you will never visit and targeted at specific people, not random tourists. Chicago is a huge city, and every city has more crime in certain areas. But if you want to visit Chicago and aren’t an idiot, you will avoid bad areas and have a great time.

    1. A
      A thirty-year former resident says:

      Katie, you must work for the Chicago Chamber of Commerce. Millennium Park is not safe. On the afternoon and evening of 12/4/21, bands of “youths” terrorized and attacked people in the park and the Loop. This occurs frequently. We lived on East Randolph and moved away five months ago because of the rampant crime and violence, even in the “good areas.”

      1. N
        Northsider b4 it became all white says:

        Segregation & disinvestment

        Hope all the gentrified residents leave so investment of South and West neighborhoods can happen. As long as funding stays only North there will be consequences or crime. Taking Black peoples homes and job opportunities started in the 70s. Destroying our communities by not addressing crime or the fact that many of CPD are criminals helping gangs. Now you know how it took 40+ years to get to this point.

        1. N
          Not My Kind of Town anymore says:

          On the South Side

          It’s the other way around. The law-abiding residents were forced out by gangs and criminals. Once nice Chicago neighborhoods such as South Shore, Marquette Park, Englewood, and Roseland were destroyed.

          The Chicago Loop was once an area where ladies dressed up with white gloves for shopping at Marshall Field’s. Now it’s a cesspool with derelicts, criminals, and drug addicts preying upon the infirm, elderly, and the tourists who wander there.

          We love the Chicago Police Department.

  30. Chicago great city

    I’m from London, England went to Chicago in 2019 stayed at Palmer house hotel in the loop was therefor 6 days took the train to Wrigley field see the game as a Cubs fan, buddy guy club, some other clubs in the city, other than that walked everywhere, from Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, soldier field did all tourist stuff, mag mile, Hancock tower navy pier, etc, lots of places Chicago river tour great, down to goose island brewery (best beer) great bars, restaurants, etc also the cleanest city I’ve ever been to I include London in that.

    Been to Boston, NYC, Miami, & Atlanta, Chicago beats them all.

    Me & my wife walked about 50 miles according to her steps thing on phone & we felt very safe, we both are not gullible just be sensible & confidence hopefully will get back out there soon.

  31. A
    Anonymous says:

    There are no safe areas in Chicago anymore. Even the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and River North are not safe. Even in the daytime, carjacking, freeway shootings, and robberies are commonplace. I’ve lived in the Chicago area for sixty years, and I have never seen things so bad.

  32. The windy city is nice

    What’s up with the water in Chicago? Why aren’t they doing more to keep it clean? I like the city but the water is terrible. I can’t believe this is happening in a city from the US, in this day and age! Anyway, the city has a lot of fine places to visit and it will take you months to properly see it all (parks, bars, cafes, etc). Millennium Park, especially at night, is a must see.

    1. L
      Longtime White Sox fan says:

      Safety issued

      I would advise against visiting Millennium Park after night, and the Grant Park area in general.
      Too many tourists, even in groups of three or four, have been attacked and robbed.

      Farther north, Lincoln Park was once considered safe after nightfall for a couple’s stroll, but not any more.

      Posters who say “only a few Chicago neighborhoods are dangerous” are not to be taken seriously.

  33. A
    All known Traveller says:

    Do not walk the streets anywhere or be ready for anything

    So many people are getting mugged or attacked to the point you have to drive all over the city from point A to point B. It’s sad because one of the most beautiful cities in the world is getting destroyed and it seems that nobody cares. Rideshare companies are making money hand over fist just for transporting people a mere 4-10 blocks. Long gone are the days when you can stroll through what was the most beautiful city in America.

  34. D
    David C. says:

    Used to be a nice city

    North Michigan Avenue is now a shopper’s ghost town.

    Macy’s in Water Tower has moved out. The remaining high end stores limit access. There are more security people than shoppers. This used to be such a nice area, even just five years ago.
    Now it’s armed robberies and shootings, all over the Gold Coast.

  35. S
    Streeterville Chicago resident says:

    Chicago criminality

    For those of you wondering if downtown Chicago is safe…. read about the riots on 5/14/22 at the Bean in Millennium Park. This is a typical occurrence in even the “nice” areas of Chicago.

    I’ve seen Chicago go downhill so much in the past few years. No area is safe, and that includes daylight hours as well.

  36. K
    Kathy J says:

    No longer safe

    During the last few years, the west and south side Chicago criminal element are making their way to the Gold Coast, Streeterville, River North, Lincoln Park and other once-safe neighborhoods to carjack, assault, and rob both residents and tourists.

    I’ve lived in Chicago since the 1970s, and it’s really gotten bad living here. And nowadays, there are few police patrols, as the police force has been decimated by Mayor Lightfoot.

    I would advise against travel to Chicago. And that’s hard for me to say, as I have been a Chicago booster all my life.

  37. N
    Not visiting says:

    One of my co-workers attended a trade show in June 2022 at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
    He was in a “good” area ,walking back to his hotel about 9:00 at night, and was robbed and assaulted ending up in the emergency dept at a hospital.

    Our family was planning to stop in Chicago to see the museums and a ball game, but we’ll bypass Chicago. It is just too dangerous

  38. B
    Bill W. says:

    Travel recommendation

    Just don’t drive your car in Chicago. The city averages about a dozen carjackings each and every day, in both the good and bad areas of Chicago. Plus, parking is very expensive downtown and on the near north side, both on the street and in public ramps. And with the dearth of police officers, stop signs and speed limits are merely suggestions. The subway/El is not very safe either, especially the Red Line. If you must travel on public transportation, I would suggest taking the city buses, and sitting up front close to the driver. CTA bus route is probably the best for tourists, as it goes up MIchigan Avenue to Lincoln Park.

    Hotels are always expensive in Chicago, but they are having problems filling them up unless a McCormick Place convention is going on. Not as many everyday business travelers, and the numbers of the typical average American family aren’t visiting Chicago in the numbers as in past years because of the high crime.

Rated 3.12 / 5 based on 77 user reviews.

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