Why you should go to Chicago !

Chicago has a deep history of LGBT community resilience and power. Rooted in a history of covert, provocative and self-created arts and entertainment spaces as a means of pleasure and survival, some of which still exist today, LGBT Chicagoans used to wear pieces of scarlet-colored clothing to slyly signify their affiliation with each other in bars and nightclubs. Today, Chicago holds its own through its work in developing the first city-designated LGBT neighborhood in the country, dozens of LGBT-centered bars, bookstores and community centers, a city-sponsored Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, Leather museum, and one of the largest-attended annual Pride fests in the country.

While Chicago has the city-designated LGBT neighborhood of Boystown in Lakeview to boast, Chicago is also known for its L-centric (and more LBT-friendly) Andersonville neighborhood, which includes the famous Women and Children First feminist bookstore. There's also a growing LGBTQ community in the Rogers Park neighborhood, specifically along the Glenwood Avenue strip near the Morse red line station where you'll find a handful of lively, gay-owned bars adjacent from some gorgeous community murals. Unfortunately many lesbian-owned and operated bars have shut their doors in the past few years, so many LGBTQ communities are more mobile nowadays, offering queer nights or ladies nights at various gay-owned and/or friendly establishments in the city on designated nights.

Chicago's historic LGBT community didn't make national headlines with direct action against police repression and homophobia in the public sphere like New York City and San Francisco did, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen!  Chicago was the first city in the nation to create a gay-designated neighborhood (Boystown), and Illinois made history by being the first state to repeal its sodomy laws in 1961.

Be inspired

View itineraries for a sample day out in Chicago

606

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Lesbifriends Cartel

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Maggie Daley Park

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LGBT-friendly
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I visited Chicago just for a concert and decided to stay some days more. I loved Chicago. It's like a ittle New York, but more chilly and relaxed.

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Beautiful City. Friendly people. Have some standing and modeling but all cities do. Great food and lively party scene.

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Getting around

Chicago offers a variety of ways to get around the city, whether it be by train, bus, taxis, bike rentals, tourist trolleys, and even some water taxi service! Chicago only runs second to New York City in having the largest public transportation system in the United States, so getting around should be the least of your worries during your visit. The city recently adopted the Ventra electronic fare card system, which is something you should consider getting if you're going to be relying on public transit for 2 days or more.

This bike sharing system, Divvy Bike, is new to Chicago and everyone uses it, even the locals. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can get a 24-hour pass at any Divvy station for $7 USD and get unlimited 30-minute rides to wherever you want to go (that has a Divvy station). With over a hundred bike stations in the city, including in Andersonville and Lakeview, this is the perfect option for beautiful, leisurely days when you want to run small errands, try different places to eat, or just not feeling like it's a CTA-kind-of day.

You will most definitely hear people refer to "the El" when referencing how you should get somewhere. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has both an underground and an elevated train that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The train costs $2.25-2.50 USD and allows you to transfer to another train or bus twice within a two-hour grace period. The "Red Line" is definitely the most populated train, connecting you to a majority of neighborhoods in Chicago, including gayborhoods like Lakeview (Boystown), Andersonville and Rogers Park. Expect massive crowds where you're expected to pack in like sardines during the rush hour times of 7-9am and 4-6pm Monday thru Friday.
The CTA also offers a public bus transportation system that includes over 200 bus lines that will take you to literally any Chicago neighborhood you want to visit. Same prices as the train and must be exact change if paying in cash.   
Chicago's current taxi rates start around $3.25 USD for the first 1/9th of a mile, with an additional .20 cents USD every additional 1/9th of a mile. There are a handful of companies to choose from, but most people use Flash Cab or Yellow Cab. Flat rates are offered to and from major airports and should be no more than $40 per person. All taxis should also take credit card, so don't let them give you a hard time about that, although it's usually helpful to confirm before the ride starts to avoid conflict. Being totally honest though, most people (with smartphones) usually use the Uber or Lyft apps.