Chicago is one of the more interesting cities in the U.S., especially in terms of the contrast between its friendly tourist side and its rougher reputation.
There’s no end to the attractions for locals and for tourists, including world-class galleries, sporting events, musical heritage, and simply sightseeing.
The Windy City regularly makes various lists of places to visit in the U.S., due to its unique Midwest charm, and unique culture, especially when compared to what you might find in other big U.S. cities like Los Angeles or New York City.
At the same time, Chicago has often made other “Top” lists for factors like violent crime and murder rates. It has a history of corruption, violence and gang activity, but interestingly, current crime data shows that it’s either less violent overall or other cities are growing worse.
For instance, Chicago didn’t even appear on the 2023 Forbes list for the 15 Most Dangerous U.S. Cities. A suburb, Naperville, also made it to the top of the “Safest City” list. Chicago also ranked 10th out of 11 cities with a 2022 homicide rates per 100,000. But it historically has maintained a high rate of crime, including breaking its own record for murder in 2021 and outpacing New York City which has a larger population.
This begs the question if Chicago is safe. Generally, the answer is yes.
In a letter, Lynn Osmond, president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Tourism Group, stated that they have spoken with law enforcement and other city officials about the situation and are confident that the action plan will allay the worries of those seeking to do business in or visit the city.
“They have provided assurances that they will be putting forward additional resources in response to the incidents this weekend,” the letter read, in part. “They have made it clear that all those engaging in criminal activity will be arrested and held accountable.”
According to police, at least 15 people were arrested during a series of large gatherings in the city over the weekend. Most of them were concentrated on local beaches and part of the Loop near Millennium Park.
Choose Chicago’s 2023 Visitor Guide has just been released and includes both indoor and outdoor activities.
Choose Chicago President and CEO Lynn Osmond spoke with ABC7 about Chicago’s tourism statistics.
The spokesperson also discussed the benefits of the guide for locals.
TikTok city historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas selected “can’t miss spots” for the guide.
To see the guide, visit Choose Chicago’s website.
Experts agree that Chicago’s downtown area is safe, especially for tourists. There are plenty of people around and a heavy law enforcement presence. Because Chicago is a popular tourist destination, there are many attractions in this area and access to many services. There are pedestrian corridors as well.
Another area of Chicago that ranks low for crime is Edison Park, a community to the northwest of the downtown corridor, where there are a lot of shops and restaurants along with a good deal of foot traffic.
Crime patterns show that the northern and eastern areas are considered safer, in terms of historical numbers of reports of crime.
The Loop and the Millennium Park areas also boast less crime than other communities.
Tourism officials even say that the downtown is fine for people to walk around at night. There are well-lit areas and plenty of open businesses, including restaurants, nightclubs, and shops.
The downtown core is also known for an extensive trail system that’s favored by bicyclists.
Conversely, the area’s southern and western areas are considered rougher and certain areas aren’t recommended for tourists.
Crime patterns show that the West Garfield Park and East Garfield Park areas especially encounter higher than average reports of crimes, along with Englewood, Washington Park and North Lawndale, generally found on the western side.
Though the Loop area has few reports of violent crime, it does lead the region in terms of reports of pickpocketing. Studies show that this is the most common crime, especially in the downtown area.
Visitors to the city wanting to stay free of crime happening to them are encouraged to be realistic. It is a large American city, so people should be aware of the environment around them. Staying in groups is recommended, as well as staying close to places like hotels.
Staying close to recognizable landmarks is also a good idea, such as a hotel, restaurant or gallery. This cuts down on the possibility of taking the wrong path and getting lost or separated.
If you’re traveling by yourself, there are some options to make sure you get your share of visits to interesting attractions. For instance, you can often join a travel group. You don’t have to follow a larger group on their journey, but if you feel more comfortable being around other tourists, you can approach the director.
I’ve been living as a digital nomad for 8+ years. I’m from Slovakia and I’ve visited 75 countries but for now, taking a little break in Barcelona. I love writing and publishing content for digital nomads, remote workers, and passionate travelers like me.
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