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Chicago is laid out on a grid system making it one of the easiest major metropolises to navigate. The numbering system begins at zero marked downtown at the intersection of State and Madison.  Zero for all north-south streets starts at Madison, and for east-west streets, State Street represents zero.  One city mile is equal to 800 units on the grid system throughout most of the city.  Therefore, no matter what direction you head, any north-south street will have a constant east-west coordinate, and for every east-west street, there is a corresponding north-south coordinate.


Chicago’s public transportation is among the world’s finest.   The Chicago Transit Authority operates both the city’s bus system, as well as, the electric “el” trains.  You will find bus service in almost every Chicago neighborhood with 24 hour services.  In areas with limited service, the buses usually run between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.


The city’s electric trains, or the “El,” reach almost all areas of the city. There are 8 major train lines radiating in every direction from downtown Chicago.  These trains run both above the city streets on the elevated tracks and underground in the subway.  The Loop is Chicago’s central business district, and this is precisely how it got its name, the train literally made a “loop” around this district.  Many El trains operate 24 hours of the day.


There is also “commuter train” service known as the Metra.  These trains operate between downtown Chicago and most major suburbs surrounding Chicago.  There are four terminals downtown serving the different routes to surrounding areas. 


Northwestern Sta./Ogilvie Tran. Ctr., Canal &  Madison Streets

  •  Union Pacific North Line (Kenosha, WI)
  •  Union Pacific Northwest Line (Harvard)
  •  Union Pacific West Line (Geneva)


Union Station, Canal St. &  Jackson Blvd.

  • Burlington Northern Line (Aurora)
  • Heritage Corridor Line (Joliet)
  • South West Service Line (Orland Park)
  • Milwaukee District North Line (Fox Lake)
  • Milwaukee District West Line (Elgin/Big Timber)
  •  North Central Line (Antioch)
  • Amtrak (nationwide destinations)


Randolph St. Station, Randolph St. & Michigan Ave.

·         Metra Electric Line (University Park)

·          Blue Island Branch and South Chicago Branch

·         Chicago South Shore and South Bend (South Bend, IN)


LaSalle Street Station, Congress Pkwy. &  LaSalle St.

  • Rock Island District Line (Joliet)









Carol Duran
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
Ph: 312-368-5963  -  Fax: 312 242-5613
1800 N. Clybourn
Chicago, IL 60614

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