How Safe Is Chicago for Travel?

Chicago, United States
Safety Index:
55

The third-largest city in the United States, also known as “windy city”, Chicago is located in the Midwest along the Great Lakes shoreline.

It has a population of nearly 3 million people and a huge annual influx of tourists.

It’s no wonder since Chicago is a huge music hub in America, well known for house music and electronic dance music, blues, and jazz.

Its nightlife is unforgettable and you won’t be able to choose between so many options once you get out in the evening!

There are comedy clubs, shopping opportunities, restaurants, dining spots, clubs, and numerous cultural venues. 

And don’t forget its magnificent views – just think of the famous skyline mirroring in the waters of the huge Lake Michigan.

It’s a rarity to find a city so beautiful yet so filled with everything and anything you might think of: world-class museums, sandy beaches, huge parks, public art, and perhaps the finest looking downtown in the world.

Warnings & Dangers in Chicago

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Chicago is generally safe for tourists, though some neighborhoods are best avoided. Avoid sketchy neighborhoods known for gang and similar criminal activities and take normal precaution measures.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

Public transport can be dangerous as there are teams of thieves operating on buses and trains. Fake taxis also exist and can cause many problems and, in general, though reliable, transport in Chicago might be tricky, especially after dark.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpockets are a common issue in Chicago, there are even teams of thieves operating on Chicago's public transport. You should always keep your belongings firmly by your side as bag snatching also happens. The best would be to keep your valuables in your accommodation.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

When it comes to natural disasters, the main concern for Chicago is occasional strong blizzards and heavy snowfalls that are known to hit this city, known for its extreme weather conditions.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : HIGH

When it comes to chances of being mugged or kidnapped, they do exist in Chicago. Muggers are lurking for tourists that are aplenty in this city. Violent street crime does happen but it can be avoided if you avoid dangerous areas of some neighborhoods that even locals rarely dare to walk around. Always remain informed on what areas are to be avoided in the part of the city you're at.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

The city of Chicago hasn't been recently targeted by any terrorist group, but the attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

Just like in other tourist destinations, there will be people trying to scam you in Chicago, too, but it's not too common of an occurrence. Be wary of anyone trying to distract you, flashing large signs in front of you or ATMs that look like they've been tampered with.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Chicago is very safe for female solo travelers. Following basic precaution measures should completely minimize the chances of anything going wrong. Just act as you would in any other country or your hometown, and you should be fine

So... How Safe Is Chicago Really?

Chicago isn’t the safest place to be in America: it’s on many “top ten” lists for violent crime in cities.

This reputation is spurred on by protests against a police force who are involved in many local scandals.

Add to that the general dissatisfaction of residents who have to deal with everyday construction forcing sidewalks and streets to close or divert in unexpected ways, and you’ve got yourself a rowdy bunch of people.

Don’t be surprised or scared, this is mostly normal in Chicago.

In other ways, Chicago is like all other major cities in America.

Crime can be an issue, and this goes for both petty and violent crime.

Given that the city attracts a huge amount of tourists with all of the tourist attractions, museums, and monuments, it’s only natural that it attracts pickpockets too.

Bear in mind though, that crime is usually confined to parts of the South Side and some particularly dangerous areas, that if you look from a perspective of a visitor who only visits safe tourist hotspots, it seems like a whole other city.

The areas you should avoid (or at least be extra vigilant when you’re there) while on the South Side are Englewood, Washington Park, Woodlawn, and Grand Crossing as these are known to be violent neighborhoods.

Apart from that, stay away from the southern half of Bronzeville (past Pershing Road), Back of the Yards, Chicago Lawn, Auburn Gresham, East Chatham, South Shore, Roseland, and West Pullman because these are areas known for gang shootings and similar activities.

When you’re on the West Side, avoid Garfield Park (except the observatory), Lawndale, and Austin.

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in Chicago. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - As for the weather, well, Chicago is known for it: for its cold instances, to be precise. Chicago is very cold, windy with extreme temperatures in winter, while Chicago's summers are milder, and not as hot as the southern U.S. Summer is a good tie to visit Chicago, as it offers an array of parades, festivals, and events.
  • Airports - O'Hare International Airport, usually known as O'Hare Airport, Chicago O'Hare, or simply O'Hare, is an international airport in the city of Chicago. It is located on the far Northwest Side of Chicago, Illinois, about 23 km northwest of the Loop business district.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Chicago, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Chicago Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -4° 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
303645556677828173635037
Low
°F
212534435463707063503927

Where to Next?

2 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 !

  2. Danger day or night

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

Rated 3 / 5 based on 2 user reviews.

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