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How to help the Wikitravel Chicago project

The Chicago article is a showcase for Wikitravel. The coverage is extensive, perhaps more so than for any other city. Updating and refining existing content is still needed, but before adding new content check that the information is not already in the article, and that there aren't already some examples of what you are adding. We want to avoid a guide that is too bloated or crowded, and we don't need to list every hotel, bar or restaurant to have a excellent guide. In addition the maps are so saturated that it may be difficult to add further listings to them.

If you are seeking to help, check the to do list. We need help to keep information current, so if you have current knowledge of a section of town, please scan the appropriate district article for out of date information, e.g., listings for businesses that have closed, outdated contact information, CTA station closures, etc.

If there is something important that is omitted, feel free to raise it on the discussion page, if you have found a hidden gem in your Chicago travels, let us know about it.

But above all, please do join the effort to keep this the best travel guide to Chicago there ever was.


To Do List

Here's what I think we need:

  • Itineraries for districts outside the city center
  • Improved coverage of Little Village shopping
  • Improved coverage of "do" activities in the Southwest Side


Many suburbs are covered on the Chicagoland page and have only one attraction of note. However, there are a few that deserve fuller coverage as a complement to the Chicago set of articles, and need work accordingly. Post 'em here (but only if you're willing to work on them).

Last updated by Peter Talk 04:04, 20 May 2009 (EDT)

Article status

Star Article Status

surely it is, or nearly is at that point, tonnes of maps (including slightly concerning one of crimes per a neighbourhood!) it feels like a guidebook (with more information and better written than some lonely planet and rough guide books) - what do other people think?

Prof Jack 17:59, 10 December 2007 (EST)

It already meets the criteria for certain, but Marc and I still have a bunch of content we'll be adding before the end of this month. I'd like to hold off on the nomination until then. --Peter Talk 13:40, 11 December 2007 (EST)
We are there! --Peter Talk 17:09, 7 March 2008 (EST)

Star nomination

I believe this long article is completely MoSed, has several nice maps, lots of good pictures, and (IMO) better quality information than any other guide to the city I've seen. That and every district article is at least guide status. If others agree, this will become our second huge city star. --Peter Talk 17:25, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Support. By the numbers, Chicago has 22 district/airport articles (seven stars, fifteen guides - not counting the nominations below), 2 itineraries (both stars) and a travel topic (also a star), all of which have maps. The main article itself has a great overview map, district map, and even a crime map. The writing is lively and ties the areas of the city together, it's up to date, and I'm quite proud of the work we've done with it. Gorilla Jones 18:42, 18 February 2008 (EST)
  • Support. You guys have done an absolutely magnificent job on this city. You've set a new standard for our large cities with thorough listings, great pictures and maps, and engaging writing. I don't think it would be much of an exaggeration to say that this is probably the best guide on Chicago ever written, period. And congratulations on getting it through Wikitravel Press! You guys have really outdone yourselves and done a great service to both Chicago and Wikitravel. PerryPlanet 01:42, 19 February 2008 (EST)
Anyone else care to pipe in and just say "support?" This would be only the second huge city star—kind of a big deal by WT standards, I think. --Peter Talk 14:13, 6 March 2008 (EST)
On a second look at the page, I've noticed that the Get In by train section seems oddly lacking. Not a big enough deal to make me change my vote of support, but I feel like there could be more info there (Addresses? Phone numbers? List of Amtrak routes which serve the station? I dunno...).
That's a fair critique. I'm avoiding listing Amtrak routes, because that would quickly turn into a list of all major US cities save perhaps Las Vegas, oddly. The lack of a Metra System map was actually kind of glaring, in retrospect, but I've put that in now, as well as the main out-of-Chicagoland termini, and phone #s for both companies. --Peter Talk 17:52, 6 March 2008 (EST)
Awesome, I'm satisfied now. :) PerryPlanet 18:13, 6 March 2008 (EST)

External research links

I'm moving Kevin Forsyth's link to the Blues Brothers filming locations map here, because it conflicts with our external links policy. As much as I like the map and his page, I can't really countenance going against such a time honored policy, nor can we nominate the Chicago article for star status as long as it violates policy. Hopefully interested parties may find it here. Also, it could be adapted for WT format, either by adding especially noteworthy locations to the district articles, or ideally by creating a Blues Brothers driving itinerary (which would be awesome). --Peter Talk 14:55, 18 February 2008 (EST)

Jazz truths

I understand the anon objection to the phrase "the truth of jazz," since it is a bit fluffy. But the anon's replacement sentence, "Chicago is the home of the blues, the heart of comedy, and the idea of the skyscraper," is an ugly list and a considerable degradation in style. Perhaps we could come up with something to replace the truth of jazz, preserving the existing syntax? My brain's fried right now (reading too much Machiavelli) and I can't seem to come up with anything better. --Peter Talk 17:59, 16 April 2008 (EDT)

Taxi tipping

Do taxi meters include tips or are those extra?-- 23:54, 23 May 2008 (EDT)

They're extra. Gorilla Jones 00:56, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

CTA rail map

The CTA map needs updating. The Blue line no longer makes any runs along the 54/Cermak (Douglas) branch, which is now exclusively served by the Pink line. Eco84 22:09, 2 July 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for pointing this out! Unfortunately, this is the only graphic used in the Chicago guide for which we don't have an svg source (argh...), so it'll be a pain to update. I'm going to dawdle and see whether someone from Wikipedia doesn't take care of this first, but if not, I'll create a new CTA map by the end of the month. (Note to self: also remember to update this change on the Far West Side map.) --Peter Talk 19:40, 4 July 2008 (EDT)
The version of this map on Wikimedia Commons has now been updated by myself. It still needs to be updated here. Eco84 01:38, 8 July 2008 (EDT)
Alright, I uploaded the new version to Wikitravel Shared, so everything should be okay now. Eco84 22:15, 9 July 2008 (EDT)
Great! Thanks for taking care of that. (I still have to remember that Far West Side map change, though.) --Peter Talk 01:38, 10 July 2008 (EDT)

Long mug of a consulates list

The consulates list is long. Would it make sense/be acceptable to move it to a subpage of Chicago, dedicated solely to the list? --Peter Talk 20:04, 11 August 2008 (EDT)

In any rate, I supressed the list from appearing in the WTP print guide. --Peter Talk 14:56, 27 August 2008 (EDT)

Why are taxi fares being removed?

Gorilla Jones removed on 18:52, 15 October 2008 a list of taxi fare web apps for Chicago. Why have they been removed? In Wikitravel:External links it is not explicitly forbidden (in the What not to link to section) to have links to services like these; although I agree these may not be strictly primary sources, they do provide VERY useful information for visitors of Chicago.

It can be argued that they qualify under the External link usage, In-article text links section

Links within the article text should be kept to a minimum and should point only to primary sources. Examples of valid links might include airline companies, bus companies, and sites offering daily updates and warnings about a destination's condition

Moreover, just in the next paragraph there is a list of actual taxi companies of Chicago, so I do not see the sense in allowing taxi companies to be listed, but not services that will inform about exact prices to expect from these taxi companies.

So once again, I do not understand why this list of links are not acceptable. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Because those aren't primary sources, and the actual taxi companies are. It's as simple as that. That last clause of the section you quoted refers to severe cases like the roads to Siem Reap or civil unrest in Myanmar, not whether you're in danger of being overcharged by a taxi driver. If you disagree with the external links policy, please discuss on the talk page there. Gorilla Jones 20:22, 16 October 2008 (EDT)
I do not want to enter into a flame war here, but, quoting myself although I agree these may not be strictly primary sources, they do provide VERY useful information for visitors of Chicago. There is the textual description of the fare system, but that will help no one new to the city to get an estimate of how much she can expect to pay for a taxi. It's pretty much a perfectly accurate but mostly useless piece of information. If this is to be an useful travel guide, then VERY useful tools that provide actual information like these should be allowed to be linked. I know that the external links policy page is where this issue has to be brought up, so no need to repeat that. But I want to clarify my position also here. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)


Is there anything that you Chicagonians need added to the Chicago section that I could look for? Or are ye guys pretty much set?

Edmontonenthusiast 19:19, 22 October 2008 (EDT)Edmontonenthusiast

Aside from keeping listings current, there really isn't much to be done here. Although we are short on good pictures for the Near West Side, so if you have them, they would be appreciated ;) --Peter Talk 19:28, 22 October 2008 (EDT)
Well I have never been to the 'Windy City'. Like, I mean, I think Chicago is beautiful, and whatnot and I'd not mind researching some stuff for this article-but I have no pics :(. Sorry! Keep smiling, Edmontonenthusiast 11:50, 3 November 2008 (EST).


Thank you so much for whoever wrote the Understand section. It reads well and is very informatvie & inspiring. happy holidays, edmontonenthusiast [ee] .T.A.L.K. 12:14, 25 December 2008 (EST).

B&B aggregator

I removed a B & B aggregator that was added to the overview article today, but a casual glance at the site revealed some inns that we have not included in the Chicago guide that probably should be added. So I'll leave this link [1] here for research. --Peter Talk 12:41, 18 February 2009 (EST)

Get Around - Street "numbers"

The section on navigating Chicago is confusing (and I might be contributing to the obfuscation), but here's how I read the following:

"Each street is assigned a number based on its distance from the zero point of the address system, the intersection of State Street and Madison Street. A street with a W (west) or E (east) number runs north-south, while a street with a N (north) or S (south) number runs east-west. A street's number is usually written on street signs at intersections, below the street name."

This is not talking about house numbers, it's talking about the numbers assigned to streets. One example given in the article is Western Avenue, at 2400 W. This number tells us that Western (a north-south street) is 24 blocks west of center, that it crosses east-west streets at the 2400 address. Yes, it's confusing and seems counter-intuitive the way it's written. I'm still pondering a better way to phrase it. Kevin Forsyth 08:34, 6 March 2009 (EST)

Hmm. So you are saying that each street is assigned a number? If so, is this relevant for the traveler? I would think that the main thing is for travelers to understand where the address is located that they are traveling to, or for that matter that an north-south street is named N or S depending on what side of the city you are on. That's relevant for very practical things, like telling a cab company where you are, or making sure you go to the correct address. --Peter Talk 16:34, 6 March 2009 (EST)
Yes, each street is assigned a number: Racine=1200W, North=1600N, Cermak=2200S, etc. I think it is relevant for a traveler. For example, let's say you want to go to 2801 N. Pulaski. Knowing that Pulaski=4000W is helpful because that gives you a grid coordinate to aim for — (2800N, 4000W) — and enables you to estimate your distance from it. Knowing that Diversey=2800N gives you a major intersection (Diversey and Pulaski) which improves your chances with cab drivers who might be insufficiently familiar with obscure side streets (Pulaski not being an example of this). If you still doubt the relevance, check out the CTA: their maps are full of green numbers alongside the major street names, and every train station is marked with its position on the grid — not its street address.
That said, the paragraph remains confusing. As is, perhaps, this explanation. Kevin Forsyth 13:55, 10 March 2009 (EDT)
That makes a lot of sense, but I still worry that this information might simply overwhelm a visitor, especially since it is easy to get mixed up with the address system, which I think is more important. Visitors will not likely know these grid numbers, and even if they did, it would probably be easier for them to just check the maps throughout the guides which have relevant locations marked. This just seems to me like a level of expertise beyond the needs of travelers. I'll leave it alone for other opinions to decide, though. --Peter Talk 15:02, 10 March 2009 (EDT)
Fair enough — as it's written, I agree it's overwhelming and/or overkill. I'll ponder a fix/clean-up/simplification. One way or another I think it's worth explaining to visitors why the street signs at major intersections (and train platforms) have these inscrutable numbers on them. Kevin Forsyth 13:04, 11 March 2009 (EDT)

Putting in clearer images in the Chicago guide?

Wow, Chicago is such a great guide and I'd love to contribute. Is it worth substituting some current images in the articles with more fresher and clearer Flickr CC images? I changed the first image in the Chicago article but I'm hesitant to do more unless everyone is ok with it? Thanks. --MarinaK 18:59, 9 March 2009 (EDT)MarinaK.

Sorry, but that image was awful. If the sky is that yellow anywhere on Earth, I'm glad it isn't in Chicago, and angle made my neck hurt. We can always use more images, but the district articles are generally more in need of help than the main article. Gorilla Jones 19:02, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I just thought it was an unusual and striking image for Chicago rather than the standard 'Chicago skyline at night' (which is still quite beautiful). Point taken though! : ) --MarinaK 19:08, 9 March 2009 (EDT)MarinaK.
Heh. Thanks — sorry if that came off as harsh! Gorilla Jones 19:11, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I think a good number of the images throughout the Chicago articles could stand to be replaced with higher resolution, sharper images. Especially those taken by me with a crappy digital camera. I'm a partisan for the composition of the lead image, though (which is not surprising, since I took it). The night skyline itself is generic, although that particular view of the historic Michigan Ave front has a lot of Chicago soul in it, but more importantly the subject is more the Frank Gehry Bridge. It looks welcoming. The Sears Tower photo you uploaded is a cool shot, but suffers from the coloring and a general lack of love for the Sears Tower.
On a broader note, no need to be shy about editing the Chicago articles, just keep in mind that new edits to them are probably patrolled more rigorously than for any other articles on Wikitravel ;) --Peter Talk 20:20, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Non-Stop Flights

I've removed the lengthy lists of cities that have non-stop flights to O'Hare, Midway, and Milwaukee's Hiawatha Airport. In Hiawatha's case, that info belongs in Milwaukee, not here. For the other two, those lists belong in O'Hare International Airport and Chicago/Midway Area respectively, although I'd argue that those lists are not as vital for Chicago as for some smaller cities — as demonstrated by the lengths of the lists, plenty of airlines fly direct here. Gorilla Jones 00:36, 2 April 2009 (EDT)

Milwaukee airport

I removed this: Midwest Airlines [2] has its main hub at Milwaukee. AirTran serves 14 destinations from Milwaukee, versus 5 from Chicago Midway.

Milwaukee has its own article, which is where a list of airlines serving the Milwaukee airport logically belongs. There is no need to duplicate that information here. It's fine to note that Milwaukee's airport can be considered as an alternative to Chicago's two airports — although I've never heard of someone actually doing it — but when you're getting into which airlines fly there and how often they fly, that belongs on Milwaukee, not here. Gorilla Jones 13:58, 4 April 2009 (EDT)


While the discussion on where to place this information is ongoing, I'd like to bring up a related idea. The Consulate sections here and elsewhere strike me as dull and lifeless, and very boring to scroll through. I've experimented with a way to breathe some life into these sections: User:Jtesla16/Sandbox. I think it makes the section more fun and doesn't take away from any of the value, thoughts? --Jtesla16 22:07, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

Very nice! I'd love to see that implemented. Gorilla Jones 22:55, 8 April 2009 (EDT)
Definitely—I'm intrigued that those listing tags still work when embedded in a table! --Peter Talk 02:31, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

Makes no sense

What's the point of being able to edit articles here or on Wikipedia when an administrator is simply going to revert it back? I can understand if something silly or absurd is written, but when you are writing a logical statement in a better form than it currently is and its just changed back, well,... I don't know. Are the administrators getting offended? The point of this website is to be able to edit sometimes, right?. So when Wikipedia asks for money to continue operating, I think hmmm. Even if you change a statement like say, "Chicago is a large city" to "Chicago is the nation's third largest city", within seconds its changed back. Why should I contribute to this when its not living up to its initial function? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

This website has no connection to Wikipedia, despite using the MediaWiki software, so nobody here can speak to what happens there. Wikitravel isn't asking for money to continue operating. You may want to read Wikitravel:Welcome, Wikipedians, Wikitravel:Be fair, and Wikitravel:Tone to understand why the kind of writing that's done on Wikipedia differs from what is done here. Wikipedia requires a neutral point of view; this site places an emphasis on lively writing, and reducing lively writing to bare "logical statements" isn't preferred. Also, if you add duplicate information to an article of this length — or references to articles that don't exist — that's likely to get reverted as well. Gorilla Jones 23:06, 19 May 2009 (EDT)
Nothing more frustrating then your first attempt at editing being largely reverted, though...
This is my first visit to the Talk page for Chicago - and my take on it is that it seems to be crying out "Don't edit me" - unless you are local, and know something has changed. I'd like to think that every traveller to a place has at least one bit of good info to point the next traveller to, or can clarify something they didn't understand. Who wants a travel guide just updated by locals? --Inas 00:13, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Only one person is ever going to get to note that the Blue Line goes to O'Hare. Everyone else has to find a different piece of info to add if they want to contribute to this guide. All we can do is note in the edit summary and/or their talk page why the duplicate information isn't there any more. There are plenty of areas ripe for contributions from travelers, such as new bars, restaurants, and tourist attractions, especially in the district articles. See for example Chicago/Lakeview-North Center, which took a huge jump in size thanks to a slew of bars from a recent contributor. I do invite your feedback on the disclaimer at the top of this page if it comes off as forbidding. Gorilla Jones 01:13, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Well that comment in itself sounds more inviting, in addition to being quite down-to-earth. I'd personally steal your words and put them at the top. We're looking for new and better content. I've no problem with setting the bar high for contributions to guide level articles. They should be formatted well and maintain the high standard of the article. --Inas 01:34, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
The intent of the disclaimer was mostly just to soften the landing for when newly added content is drastically cut down in size. The tendency of wikis is to grow, but at a certain point you can get too much content. Cramming more hotels onto the Chicago/Near North map, for example, is only going to make the map less readable. As for the "locals" bit, I think I wrote that only because I was not a local to some of the areas I wrote about and hoped someone would proof my work! But absolutely, being a neighborhood resident is in no way a prerequisite to having good information.
Please feel free to edit that blurb further. --Peter Talk 04:09, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Done. --inas 20:29, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

Home of the Blues?????

Well, Urban Blues perhaps, but the blues worked its way up to Chicago from the South so claiming Chicago as the home of the blues is pushing it a bit?Shep 15:29, 3 June 2009 (EDT)

It's certainly not the birthplace of the blues generally, but the electric blues (i.e., the Chicago blues) was born here, and was what popularized the music. There's more than one claim to the moniker, but for Chicago it's a commonplace motto. --Peter Talk 16:33, 3 June 2009 (EDT)
Home isn't necessarily where you were born — it's where you live. With the largest annual blues festival in the world, the Blues Brothers, "Sweet Home Chicago", Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Chess Records, and the dozens of blues clubs covered in this guide (see Chicago#Jazz_and_Blues for a start), this is definitely where the blues lives. It's just on tour everywhere else. Gorilla Jones 18:55, 3 June 2009 (EDT)


I just noticed that this article never actually mentions that the city is in Illinois. It's in the breadcrumbs, but that's about it. Is that intentional? LtPowers 15:45, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

It's pretty explicit in the Learn and African-American History sections, but yeah, it would be good to have it mentioned directly in the beginning of the understand section (shouldn't be too hard to do). The "Chicago is in Illinois" bit disappeared when the intro was rewritten (since that "X is in Y" formula is terribly boring). --Peter Talk 16:32, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, I actually stumbled onto it because I was trying to punch up the intro to Walt Disney World/Hollywood Studios and was hoping to find star articles that deviated from the traditional phrasing. =) LtPowers 16:50, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
It wasn't intentional, although there has been a Chicago vs Rest of Illinois split throughout their mutual history, which probably influenced how the article was framed. Anyway, I like the way that Peter worked the state into 'Understand'. And kudos, Lt, on the effort to get Wikitravel away from these horribly bland "X is a thing in Y, Z" intros. Gorilla Jones 17:46, 22 June 2009 (EDT)


Under the "By Car" segment it states "Chicagoans have a maddening habit of referring to some expressways by their names, not the numbers used..." Well, this is actually not a maddening habit for Chicagoans because they all know the names of their expressways and refer to them as such. Its not appropriate to say its "maddening" when its something the whole Chicago metropolitain region does and is very familiar with. A more appropriate statement would be, "Unlike many other cities, Chicagoans tend to refer to their expressways by their names instead of numbers. You would be wise to make yourself familiar with the name of the designated numbered expressway if you intend to travel by car during your stay". This way it doesn't make it seem like the entire region is doing something wrong when, in fact, they're not. —The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

The point is that it's maddening for non-Chicagolanders. Please see Wikitravel:Tone; lively writing is encouraged. LtPowers 16:19, 15 July 2009 (EDT)

Okay. I read Wikitravel:Tone and I get what you're saying. But just like in New York City, they tend to use the name as well... i.e. the Van Wyck, Brooklyn-Queens, Cross Bronx, etc. Some cities simply prefer names over numbers. Los Angeles, to a degree, will also use names: The Santa Monica Freeway, the Hollywood Freeway, the Pasadena Freeway, Long Beach Freeway, Pomona Freeway, etc. And in these cities, the names are also on the expressway signs, along with the number. But if this is the statement that will be used ("its maddening"), then it should be under the New York City article as well sense they do the same thing. This really appears to be a preference that the nation's three largest and most dominate cities do. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs)

It would be better that we find the creativity to use original writing in each guide. I think Chicagoans are not an oversensitive bunch—we should be able to suffer this slight. And please sign your posts. --Peter Talk 17:51, 15 July 2009 (EDT)
Does the Brooklyn-Queens not run between Brooklyn and Queens? Is the Hollywood Freeway not a means of getting to Hollywood? In Chicago, the Dan Ryan doesn't start in, go through, or end at anything called Dan Ryan, so it's not exactly the same thing. Gorilla Jones 18:35, 15 July 2009 (EDT)

Your right. Chicagoans are not a sensitive bunch so it can be overlooked. But I must say to Gorilla Jones, it is actually the same thing. Bottom line, numbers aren't used, names are. Chicago calls many of its highways after people, but it also has directional highway names like Lake Shore Dr (which runs along the lake shore from north to south), and the Chicago Skyway (which carries Indianians into Chicago. This highway was built by the city of Chicago). And while New York uses mostly directional "names" (still not numbers, however), lets not forget New York has the Dr Martin Luther King Jr highway, the JFK Expressway, and its West Side Highway is alternately called the Joe DiMaggio Highway. So while one city mostly calls its expressways after people with a few named after destinations, and the other names them after destinations with a few named after people, both Chicago and New York have come to the same conclusion: They don't like calling them by numbers. But as I said above, it can be overlooked.

The JFK Expressway goes to JFK Airport, I don't think I've ever heard anyone (even the most rabid Yankees fan) use the West Side Highway's "official" name, and I'm not aware of any MLK Jr. Highway in NYC... so these may not be the best counterexamples to use. Additional names get tacked on to many a New York surface street, but are near-universally ignored and don't exclude the numbered name. - Dguillaime 19:24, 15 July 2009 (EDT)

It goes to the JFK Airport but its named after John F Kennedy.