Thriving in Chicago sans car - Car-Free & Loving It 🚗

Yes, it is absolutely possible to live in Chicago without a car!

As someone who has been living a car-free lifestyle in this vibrant city for over a decade, I can assure you that Chicago is a great place to get around without a car. With its extensive public transportation system, walkable neighborhoods, and bike-friendly infrastructure, you'll find that living car-free in Chicago is not only doable but also enjoyable.

Public Transportation in Chicago:

Chicago is known for its excellent public transportation system, which includes buses and trains. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates an extensive network of buses and trains that can take you virtually anywhere in the city. The "L" trains, as they are commonly called, are especially convenient for getting around the downtown area and nearby neighborhoods. The CTA also offers a variety of fare options, including unlimited ride passes, which can save you money if you plan on using public transportation frequently.

Walking and Biking in Chicago:

One of the best things about living car-free in Chicago is the city's walkability. Many neighborhoods, especially those closer to the city center, are designed with pedestrians in mind. You'll find plenty of sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian-friendly amenities like parks and plazas. Exploring the city on foot is a great way to discover hidden gems and experience the unique character of each neighborhood.

Biking is also a popular mode of transportation in Chicago, thanks to the city's extensive network of bike lanes and trails. Divvy, Chicago's bike-sharing program, offers a convenient and affordable way to rent a bike for short trips or leisurely rides along the lakefront.

Best Neighborhoods for Living Car-Free:

While it's possible to live car-free in any neighborhood in Chicago, there are a few that are particularly well-suited for those without a car. Some of the best neighborhoods for car-free living include:

  • Lincoln Park: This neighborhood offers a mix of residential and commercial areas, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options within walking distance.
  • Wicker Park: Known for its hipster vibe, Wicker Park is a lively neighborhood with a thriving arts and music scene. It's also well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.
  • Lakeview: Located near Lake Michigan, Lakeview offers beautiful lakefront parks, a vibrant nightlife, and easy access to public transportation.

Benefits of Living Car-Free in Chicago:

Living car-free in Chicago offers a multitude of benefits. Not only will you save money on car-related expenses like gas, insurance, and parking, but you'll also contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly city. Additionally, living car-free encourages a more active and healthy lifestyle, as walking and biking become your primary modes of transportation.

So, if you're considering living car-free in Chicago, rest assured that it's not only possible but also a fantastic way to experience all that this amazing city has to offer. With its excellent public transportation system, walkable neighborhoods, and bike-friendly infrastructure, you'll have no trouble getting around and enjoying everything Chicago has to offer!

Avery Chen
Travel, hiking, biking, sustainable living

Avery is a freelance writer and avid traveler who has been living a car-free lifestyle for over a decade. She is passionate about exploring new destinations and finding creative ways to get around without a car.