How Safe Is Chicago for Travel?

Chicago, United States
Safety Index:

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


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


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 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


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


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


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


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


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 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

Where to Next?

41 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.

    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.

      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.

  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.

  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

  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!


      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.

  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.



  12. K
    Katwichdu says:


    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. 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:


  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 dumb 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 are 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. 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.

  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 yours emergency button is but also set up your phone for emergency by pressing the power button 3 times or however your phone does it. Kids now days 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 very fancy will make a thief think you have $ even if you dont. 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 but 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 advise 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 life time. 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 it’s 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 not instigate on 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. hispanicks and whites are part of the problem too

  25. 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!

Rated 3.24 / 5 based on 41 user reviews.

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