Downtown Chicago is an after-work safe haven and also home to a diverse, popular nightlife. Windy City bars, restaurants, theaters and off the wall dance clubs, are what men and women working those typical, everyday “9-to-5 jobs” look forward to when their weekend begins; and when living in the suburbs, typically the only means of transportation to the Chicago nightlife is by car — but when living downtown — the choices are endless.
After clocking out from a long day at a stressful job, the last thing working men and women seeking a little carefree after hour entertainment want to worry about is how they’re going to get home if they’ve had one or two drinks too many. From public transportation, such as, the Chicago Transit Authorities trains and buses, to taxi cabs and the Metra, if you live in the city, you have choices. Not to mention walking.
“Whenever I go out, it’s usually pretty easy to just take a cab,” Sophia Diaz, resident of downtown Chicago said. “You don’t have to worry about having a designated driver, which eliminates the chances of somebody driving drunk.”
While taxis might be one easy way to go from place-to-place, other options of getting around the cities well-known nightlife scene include the “El” train and public buses.
“The El is easiest for me,” Jose Lozano, 22, resident of Logan Square said. “I only go out like twice a year since most of my time is spent working, and there’s a train stop right by my job, so it’s the most convenient whenever I do go out.”
Chicagoans are constantly in a battle of which side of town is better, the North Side or the South Side, while some fear their safety is in jeopardy the farther south they go, others find that the drinks are cheaper, and parking is easier on the North Side.
“I definitely think that the North Side is safer, especially in Wrigleyville,” Diaz said. “Drinks are cheaper, parking is cheaper if you’re driving, but it’s easier to get around if you’re walking.”
“I like the bars in Bucktown,” Nelly Hernandez, 23, resident of Bucktown said. “There is a lot of diversity, and there’s one bar called Stone Lotus, which is right by my apartment so it’s really close.”
One concern of many “riders” of public trasportation is the level of public intoxication in the evening hours.
“I see drunk people on the El everyday,” Donnie Levy, 22, resident of Hyde Park said. “I usually go out only once a month, and when I do go out to the bars or clubs, it’s really irritating to walk onto a train and be surrounded by such erratic behavior. It can also be extremely frustrating when intoxicated people get on the bus right before me and they have no fare money.”
Public transportation is a safe, easy and hassel-free way of getting home safe after a night of fun. Just be sure to know which buses and trains run throughout the night. The CTA Red and Blue Lines both provide 24-hour service. It is important to know your route home before heading out, certain buses do not run all night, and those that do may stop in isolated areas that are not well-lit.
“I’ve had to wait over an hour for a bus to get home before,” Levy said. “The train station I live by doesn’t run 24 hours-a-day, which makes it difficult which is probably why I don’t go out that much. I mean the clubs are great and I’m all for the nightlife scene, getting to and from them is a problem.”
No matter how you get home, public transportation, taxi cab or by walking, be sure to be safe.