Guide to Chicago: Ins and Outs for
Someone New to the City
Public Transportation is Your Best Friend
Living in a city means that gas is expensive, and parking is usually metered. As DePaul students, we have a U-Pass included in our tuition which gives unlimited Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus and train rides during the school year. This can save tons of money, and taking the train is an everyday event for DePaul students to get to the downtown campus. It is pretty simple to navigate using Google Maps, which will tell you when the train is due, what direction it is going, and what stop you get off at. After a month or so, you will recognize the stop names like the back of your hand. Since it’s free to travel with the U-Pass, use it to explore! Find new neighborhoods and explore the many different areas of Chicago.
Look for the Water
Chicago is well-known for its vicinity to Lake Michigan and access to beaches as well as various trails. Take the time to enjoy a nice bike ride, walk, volleyball match, or swim at the beach and along the lakefront trail. Especially in warmer months, it is the place to be. The lake can also be a guiding point for navigating the city- it lies to the East, so if you get lost and see the lake, you can find a spot to find your way. The Chicago River is a central point of downtown in the Loop, within walking distance from DePaul’s own Loop Campus. Enjoy the Riverwalk and all the shops and restaurants lining the river. Even in colder months, the lake and river always result in a good time.
Explore Beyond Lincoln Park
For many students, attending DePaul University is their first time in the city. It seems convenient to spend most of your time exploring Lincoln Park since it is more familiar, with many classes and residential halls there. However, to get an experience of all that Chicago has to offer, explore! Take the train and check out neighborhoods beyond your class route. You may find your new favorite place, and it will help you figure out directions around Chicago. Get some Pho in Chinatown or tacos in Pilsen, maybe some plant-based food in Wicker Park. You can’t grow unless you go beyond your comfort zone, so take this opportunity to try new things and see new places.
As most people know, Chicago winters are super cold. Being in the windy city, it is important to prepare for all temperatures and the cold that the breeze can bring. Wool socks, tights under pants, and thermals are great base layers. Pack a warm coat and hat and be prepared to get chilly! A nice hot coffee always counters the cold, so stop into one of the numerous coffee shops around the city to beat the frigid weather. Remember: you can always take layers off, so it is better to be over-prepared!
Chicago offers endless concerts, street fairs, and various events year-round across the city. There is always something to do if you know where to find it. Stay updated with neighborhood event boards to see if communities are hosting any events. Check concert venue lineups to find your favorite artists- smaller venues tend to have great value and surround DePaul’s campuses. Chicago is also home to famous sports teams such as the WhiteSox, Cubs, Bears, and Bulls- just a train ride away! Make sure you stay aware of things that are happening near you and around Chicago in general. You lose so many opportunities by living under a rock! Staying updated allows students to experience so many new things that may become their next favorite Chicago tradition.
There is more to Chicago than deep dish pizza!
Deep dish is a staple for identifying Chicago, with restaurants like Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s acting as a staple for tourists and locals alike. That being said, Chicago has so much more to offer. This city is a hotspot for endless genres and styles of restaurants beyond pizza- Chicagoans eat more than deep dish! Popular restaurants surround DePaul’s campuses, with even more options in other neighborhoods. If you have a craving, there is somewhere to satisfy it. There is a common misconception that deep-dish is the #1 dish for all of Chicago, so reach beyond that: if you want a thin crust, it is within reach.
Join me in Chicago!