Solo female travel is one of this year’s biggest trends, with many women from all walks of life setting off on trips alone, some for the first time and some for the 100th time.
No matter how experienced a solo traveler you are, there are of course always concerns to address in your trip planning.
Safety is, hands down, the most researched issue when deciding where to take a solo female trip, and it’s not uncommon to pick and omit places based on what you hear about them in the news.
One U.S. destination that is surprisingly good for solo female travel is Chicago, America’s third biggest city, and one that is often overlooked for a variety of reasons.
Many solo females end up skipping Chicago due to hearing about the city’s crime, which is a shame because many travelers will tell you that it has become their favorite place to explore on their own, and they have never felt unsafe.
@johnparkerbach 🍁 Where’s Chicago Tik Tok at!? #chicago #chicagobears #fall #citylife #chitown #chicagocheck #illinois #Boo #autumn ♬ Levitating (feat. DaBaby) – Dua Lipa
The truth is that with a bit of planning, Chicago is a great destination for solo female travelers. The city is seeing a record number of tourists this year and is especially beautiful in the fall, so why not start thinking about that trip?
Here’s Why Chicago Is Amazing For Solo Female Travelers:
If you watch the mainstream news, you are likely to hear that Chicago is a dangerous place and is best avoided by tourists. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and although there are many neighborhoods plagued by crime, they are not ones where the average tourist would find themselves anyway.
By sticking to the main neighborhoods such as The Loop (Downtown Chicago), The Magnificent Mile/River North/Streeterville, and practicing normal safety precautions, there is little reason to think that the female tourist will find herself in any trouble here.
One word is to make sure you don’t walk in areas you feel uncomfortable in after dark, and do your research to make sure the L trains you need to take are safe as well. There are some routes that are known to be rough, and locals often prefer the bus or Uber in these areas.
Museums, Museums, Museums
It’s hard to find a concrete answer as to how many museums Chicago has; some websites will tell you there are 50, others state it’s around 70, and some locals even claim it’s around 150!
While the exact number might be an enigma, the point here is that Chicago has a lot of museums to spend your days enjoying.
There is something for everyone here, and for many solo female travelers, museums offer the perfect activity to enjoy on your own in the cool (or warm) indoor comfort of a beautiful setting. One can’t miss the world-class Art Institute of Chicago, which is not only fantastic but offers some great views of nearby Millennium Park.
@chicago.explore Planning a solo Chicago vacation. Add these things to your itinerary. #solovacation #chicagovacation #chicagoil ♬ original sound – Chicago Explore
Aside from wandering, shopping, eating, and museum-going, there are literally endless activities to take part in while visiting Chicago.
Architecture cruises along the river and harbor are a must-do, and if you have the time, a day and nighttime trip is recommended to see the city in all shades.
There are also many different food, bar, tunnel, and specialty (think gangsters, ghosts, you name it) tours to join, not only offering you an organized way to spend the day and see the city from unique angles but also the possibility to meet up with like-minded travelers.
Note: Chicago’s most famous site, Cloud Gate, or “The Bean” as it’s commonly called, is closed for maintenance until Spring 2024. So, those hoping to get an iconic reflection photo will be disappointed. But fear not; just find a nearby rooftop terrace for a bird’s eye view, offering great photo spots from above.
Eat, Drink, and Eat Again
One thing you might notice about Chicago right off the bat is that this city likes to eat. This is a place for foodies, and the menu is bottomless. Pizza, hotdogs, Italian beef, popcorn, and steak are all some of the stars of the culinary scene, and the never-ending array of places to try is mind-boggling.
Chicago is a city full of workers, so you will also see many local people here eating alone, so there is no need to feel self-conscious asking for a table for one at most places. Don’t forget to try the food trucks as well, and if you are really curious, you can always take a food tour to try some secret haunts.
@trulynikki Vibing out in Chicago for a much needed Solo Trip! #chicago #solotravel #solotravelwoman #solo #starbucks #starbucksdrinks #starbuck #selfcare #selflove #selfimprovement #self #selfcareroutine #chitown #michiganavechicago #michiganave #michiganavenue #idontownrightstothismusic ♬ original sound – Nikki P
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is known to be one of the world’s best public transportation systems, and it connects you all over the city by 129 bus routes and 8 train lines.
Uber and other ride shares are easy and oftentimes not very expensive in the city center as well, and many of the tourist neighborhoods are very walkable. Aside from getting around the city, getting to and from Chicago is made easy by Amtrak, which is a nice choice allowing you to see the impressive Union Station.
And of course, O’Hare Airport is a hub for flights worldwide, and the smaller and closer to the city Midway airport is another option for domestic flights.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com