Chicago has very good public transportation and it doesn’t get much more local than riding the el (short for elevated train). This is very beneficial because the traffic in Chicago is typically horrible and cab drivers like to take the long route when they know they have a tourist on board. So, whether you need to get to the north side for a Cubs game or the west side to hang out with hipsters, the el will help make it cheap, convenient, and on occasion, very interesting.
A single fare is $2.25, a 1-day pass is $10, a 3-day pass is $20 and a 7-day pass is $28. One reason I recommend the el is because most of the interesting things for locals are not downtown. Chicago is a city made up of very unique neighborhoods, so to experience the city like a local, you’ll want to leave the loop. Not to say that there is nothing to do in the loop – because there is – and the el is a great way to experience the loop. For example, hop on the brown line and take it around the loop – it is above ground and will provide great views. It’s also a great way to get to and from both Chicago airports – O’Hare and Midway – by taking the blue or orange lines.