Questions about Chicago visit safety this summer

I’m going to be in Chicago this July for a family get-together via a sister-in-law out in the suburbs. Prior to that I’d like to spend 2 days in the downtown area. I know larger cities have areas that are generally safe for tourists and places that are less so. I’m figuring the Loop area should be safe.

How about the Museum of Science and Industry which is somewhat south of the city? And would it be safe to take public transit there, or better off with a car? Is there a general boundary where you’d say “don’t go past X without a good reason?”

Also researching our family history it turns out that two of my great-grandparents and their siblings lived in Chicago. They are buried in Oak Woods cemetery, which is in in the Greater Grand Crossing area of Chicago’s South Side. Is it safe to visit this cemetery? I know in New Orleans, for example, we were told not to visit the cemeteries on our own.

I am not a Chicago expert by any means.

The museum of science and industry is a very favorite of mine! It’s a ways from downtown so if you are staying there, I would Uber to the museum, it would be easiest imo.

Do the boat tour if you have time. Chicago is such a fun city.


I am not a Chicago expert either but a couple of years ago I participated in an NEH seminar at the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry was close to campus. There was a bus (can’t remember the number) that ran north/south up to the Art Institute, etc. I took this bus numerous times and one thing I really enjoyed was the Chicago Architecture Foundation cruise along the canals. The bus was fine, no problems, no danger. Of course many cities now are more dangerous than they used to be (NYC, where my husband works, is terrible now. Very dysfunctional.). I don’t know about Chicago currently but I hope it’s okay because I had a great experience there, and I’m fond of that city.

Chicago native here. If you’re going to be staying in the city it’s not really the loop you want to stay in but more like the River North/Streeterville Area. Basically right along the river there are some great hotels right along Wacker and just North of there.

Navy Pier is going to be opening soon. Of course everyone (not sure why) is infatuated by The Bean. You can walk along the Lakefront (longish walk) to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and the Planetarium. Closer in is the Art Institute which is amazing. Museum of Science and Industry which for some reason I’m not sure if it’s fully open, but if it is the big thing they’ve been talking about is the Marvel display, is further south in hyde park. Some public transportation routes are ok, others eh. You just need to be aware of your surroundings really. Personally, I would take a ride share down there. If you want to take a bus then it is MLK bus most likely but on google directions (whatever it’s called) you can check which public transportation to take.

Parts of the Loops you still have to be careful. There are a lot of homeless that are more of a nuisance than anything but you still have to be alert. South Loop has some shady areas, as does West Loop but much of it has been regentrified quite nicely. If you fly into Midway there have been a lot of car jackings lately there and south as well so again just really need to be on high alert like anywhere though in my opinion.

That cemetery looks like it’s near Woodlawn. Woodlawn is probably a no, but I can’t tell how far from Woodlawn it is and you’re not far off the expressway to go there. Harold Washington our former Mayor is buried there. But, I would just do a search on crime statistics nearby to really know if it’s a place worth going to or not.

Maybe ask your sister in law what she knows.

Also jumping on what @njsue said, 100% if the Chicago Architectural Cruises are running, you should definitely do that. It is fantastic. My kids would get to go on that for their photography class every year and I last went on it about 25 years ago. Can’t say enough how amazing it is. There’s also a boat ride that you can take along the lake front and see the skyline. I can’t remember what it’s called …maybe something like seadog…my son used to love it…get that near Navy Pier. The Architecture Tour by the River.

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Behind the Science Musuem is Jackson Park and the Japanese Garden… Was just there.

So… You can take the busses or the El train etc. You can walk along Michigan Ave and the above suggestions. West Loop is awesome but bring your appetite and check book. Some really great restaurants there.

If here during this time… This is just awesome…

It’s a wonderful safe way to enjoy Chicago. Free to Illinois residence with free art exhibit…

Chicago is made up of neighborhoods. So if time check them out depending on what you want to do.

The Museum of Science and Industry is about 7 miles south of the loop and, IMO, is safe to travel by public transit. The cemetery you mention is not far from MSI- maybe a couple of miles but for safety reasons I would not travel there alone and would suggest you drive, not take public transit.
Agree with the recommendations above- I just had dinner in the West Loop tonight - summer like weather here today!

Except today the weather is for crap, back in the 40’s! :frowning:

@Knowsstuff I forgot about that Japanese Garden in Jackson Park. It’s so pretty.

Also, if one likes to gamble you can take a ride to Rivers in Rosemont near Ohare. Tables are higher limit than the Indiana casinos but a nicer setup and ambiance than those. At times I like to go to Indiana (before covid) for the casinos, but now Rivers has a sports book so not really necessary to go all the way to IN to gamble anymore.

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