You're definitely off the tourist map on the Far West Side of Chicago.
- Far West Side (Austin, Humboldt Park, East & West Garfield Park, North & South Lawndale, Hermosa, Belmont Cragin, and Montclare) — famous mostly for being impoverished and crime-ridden, but it has some fabulous parks and Mexican "Little Village"
The Forest Park branch of the CTA Blue Line runs from the Loop through the Near West Side and on into the Far West, with stops in South and North Lawndale.
The Pink Line runs through Pilsen and the Lower West Side before heading to South Lawndale.
The Green Line runs to the Far West Side, with a stop in Garfield Park (Conservatory) and on to Oak Park across the city border. This is the oldest part of the CTA system, although the tracks and stations were renovated in the late 1990s. Looking through the window of the train gives you a picture of a different part of Chicago. On the trip from the Loop, you might also notice the gentrification spreading west from downtown—there are startlingly rapid changes from gentrified to decayed neighborhoods.
The CTA runs several bus routes through the West Side:
- 20 Madison runs from the Loop west through the West Side, passing by the United Center.
- 49 Western runs down Western Avenue for nearly the full length of the city, passing by Ukrainian Village/Pilsen to the east and Humboldt Park/Garfield Park to the west. It's an all-night route.
- 66 Chicago runs from the Near North through the Lower West Side, to Ukrainian Village, and onward to Austin. It's also an all-night route.
- Garfield Park, (Conservatory Green Line). History-filled Chicago park a mere 15 minutes west of downtown, with some fun outdoor sculptures and green space. It's in a rough neighborhood, though you can take the El right to the park, which is safe.
- Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave, . M T W F 9AM-5PM, Th 9AM-8PM. Amazing botanical conservatory, one of the largest indoor gardens in the world. Free admission and parking.
- Lou Malnati's, 3859 W. Ogden Ave., ☎ 773.762.0800, . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 12:30-4PM. Deep dish pizza in Lawndale.
- Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W. Armitage (73 Armitage bus), ☎ 773-342-0452, . Tu-F 8PM-2AM, Sa 8PM-3AM. Blues bar since 1984, opened in tribute to the classic lounges of the South Side. Live music most nights Tuesday through Saturday.
Hotels in Oak Park, Berwyn or Cicero should be relatively close to the Far West Side as well.
- Grand Motel West, 4925 W Madison, ☎ 773-921-1900. Accommodations on the Far West Side. Rooms from $50.
The following libraries offer free public internet access:
- Austin Branch, 5615 W. Race (Central Green Line), ☎ 312-746-5038, . M,W 12-8PM, Tu,Th-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In Austin.
- Douglass Branch, 3353 W. 13th St (Kedzie Blue Line), ☎ 312-747-3725, . M 12-8PM, W 10AM-6PM, Tu,Th-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In North Lawndale.
- Galewood-Montclare Branch, 6969 W. Grand Ave (65 Grand bus), ☎ 312-746-5032, . M,W 12-8PM, Tu,Th-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In Montclare.
- Humboldt Park Branch, 1605 N. Troy St (72 North bus), ☎ 312-744-2244, . M-Th 9AM-8PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. Across from Humboldt Park itself.
- Legler Branch, 115 S. Pulaski Rd (Pulaski Green Line), ☎ 312-746-7730, . M-Th 9AM-7PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. Five blocks south of the train station.
- Marshall Square Branch, 2724 W. Cermak Rd (California Blue Like (Forest Park Branch), 21 Cermak bus), ☎ 312-747-0061, . M,Th 12-8PM, Tu-W,F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In South Lawndale.
- North Austin Branch, 5724 W. North Ave (72 North bus), ☎ 312-746-4233, . M-Th 9AM-8PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In Austin.
- North Pulaski Brunch, 4300 W. North Ave (72 North bus), ☎ 312-744-9573, . M,W,F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Tu,Th 12-8PM, Su closed. In Austin.
- Portage-Cragin Branch, 5108 W. Belmont Ave (77 Belmont bus), ☎ 312-744-0152, . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In Belmont-Cragin.
- Toman Branch, 2708 S. Pulaski (53 Pulaski bus), ☎ 312-745-1660, . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM. In South Lawndale.
- West Belmont Branch, 3104 N. Narragansett Ave (77 Belmont bus), ☎ 312-746-5142, . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. One block south of Belmont.
- West Chicago Avenue Branch, 4856 W. Chicago Ave. (66 Chicago bus), ☎ 312-743-0260, . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su closed. In Garfield Park.
- The Green Line is a good way to reach Oak Park, the Frank Lloyd Wright fiesta.
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