Chicago, Illinois, is the 3rd largest city in the US and the economic center of the Midwest. The Windy City, as it is nicknamed, is famous for its architecture (its has a unique skyline of skyscrapers), its art & science museums and culture (Chicago was and is the frontscene for many Blues and Jazz bands).
If the city has a history of violence (Al Capone’s Chicago mafia and rival gangs during the 70/80’s), there has been a steep decline in crime since the 90’s. Still, the city has some run-down neighborhoods where violence is very common, and thieves commonly operate in the subway.
Avoid as much as you can the red areas on the following map.
HOW SAFE IS CHICAGO? FIND OUT THE MOST DANGEROUS AREAS IN CHICAGO
Chicago’s Downtown is city’s business district where national and international corporations are headquartered. Shopping centers, movie theatres, museums and beaches on the lake Michigan can be found in this area. The three areas that make up Downtown (The Loop, Near North and Near South) can get empty really fast after working hours, so try to avoid “shady” areas. Some beggars can have an aggressive behavior towards tourists, in that case just ignore them or enter a nearby store or restaurant.
Chicago’s North Side is an area of upscale neighborhoods like Lakeview, Boystown, Lincoln Park and Old Town, with a large choice of restaurants, bars and clubs. They are very safe areas compared to the rest of Chicago. Still, use the usual precautions and stick to crowded, well-lit areas.
Home to the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry and Chinatown, Chicago’s south side is a more popular area, great to find a jazz or blues bar. The Fuller Park area and nearby neighborhoods are among the most dangerous of the city and should be avoided by tourists, particularly at night.
The near west-side is a laid-back area which recently got gentrified. The area around Logan Square is very hip and has a lot of bars and concert venues.The neighborhoods of the “Far West Side” located after the West Avenue, are notably dangerous and have very few touristic attractions.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Chicago is an overall safe city, but has some rough neighborhoods. With a rating of 69%, the US is ranked 51th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There is some pickpocket-related risk in Chicago. They teams of thieves working on Chicago’s public transport, such as on the Blue Line. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.
MUGGING & KIDNAPPING RISK: HIGH
Chicago is a dangerous city regarding risks of mugging, some areas seen on the map are better avoided late at night, and it is recommended to travel in private cars rather than to walk at night.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
There are nearly no scammers in Chicago. Be aware of homeless people tricking you, and people offering help with your luggage.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
There might be some risk while taking public transport in Chicago, and fake taxis can be an issue sometimes.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
There can be some occasional natural hazards such as strong blizzard in Chicago.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Chicago has not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks, but it is best to stay alert.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Chicago is generally very safe for women travelers.
Avoid Being A Victim! 10 Tips for Your Personal Safety
It is best to carry a small bag across your shoulder or wear a concealed pouch rather than a back pack
Carry as little cash as you can
Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket
Beware of individuals who act strangely and who try to divert your attention in order to steal your belongings.
Pay special attention while seating on restaurants and café terraces, when you are withdrawing money from ATMs or near tourist attractions
Never keep your mobile phone or wallet on the table of a café or restaurant.
Don’t wear expensive jewellery in an ostentatious way
If an attacker tries to snatch your bag, don’t try to stop them as you will risk being injured
Thieves commonly work near tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports, subways and target vehicles with non-local license plates.
Most but not all of pickpockets work in groups, often as teenagers
The currency in the United States is the US Dollar. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted countrywide, and ATMs are found nearly in every city.
The costs can vary widely between the states, but it is fair to assume a $100 budget per day on average, $150 if you rent a car and around $300 for top end accomodation.
A 10% service tipping is customary in many sectors such as airport and hotel bag porters, bartenders , hotel maids, restaurant servers and taxi drivers.
The weather in the US varies greatly between the states : from the mediterranean weather of California to the Glaciers of Alaska or the subtropical Florida, each region has its best time to visit; although major cities can be visited all year round. This graph can be useful for finding the best time to travel.