Skip to Content

Is Chicago Safe? What Travelers Need To Know

The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed changed the lives of people in so many different ways. Guidelines and various restrictions have been put up to help manage the spread of the disease and lessen the number of victims that fall prey to it. Traveling from one place to another has become quite tough, but it does not mean it’s impossible.

You just have to take the necessary precautions and be extra careful, especially when you’re going to an unfamiliar place. When it comes to safety, Chicago is one of the cities that are affected by the rise in crime rates. As of late, there have been more reports about violent crimes and property crimes in the city.

However, this does not mean that Chicago is no longer safe. You can still enjoy your stay in the city as long as you take the necessary precautions.

About Chicago Safety

Chicago is the third largest and is one of the most visited cities in the United States. In the Midwest region, Chicago is considered the cultural hub, where a variety of culture-rich activities are celebrated each year.

While Chicago has its share of crimes big and small, that made it to the headlines, even since before the days of Al Capone, the overall murder rate of the city has decreased over the last few years.

You might be surprised to find out that Chicago’s overall crime rates are well below the national average, as the other reported crimes have lowered in number too.

Gang-related incidents, from drug dealing to burglaries or robberies, have also been minimized thanks to the city’s campaign to help and provide support for people from the projects.

Besides, statistical reports show a decrease in crime rates. This drop in the crime rate has also become evident in the increase in the number of tourists who have come to visit the city.

The dramatic decline in reported crimes has encouraged a lot of tourists to come and enjoy what the city has to offer. Just take a stroll around Navy Pier and Millennium Park to see a throng of tourists taking selfies and enjoy the panoramic views.

While visiting The Loop, found in the middle of the city bountiful of public art illustrations as well as the world’s top-class museums, keep an eye on your valuables. 

Whenever you are traveling to Chicago, or any other city for that matter, it is best to keep a close eye on your belongings.

Pickpockets can practically be anywhere, especially on public transport. Again, this holds for every other city you travel to, too, and is not just a Windy City problem. Vigilance is key when you’re a tourist no matter where you are.

Is it safe to travel around Chicago? How safe is Chicago? Is Hyde Park Chicago Safe?

Yeah, about as safe as anywhere else, so stop dilly-dallying! Pay a visit and take a stroll around this spellbinding city, enjoy the sights, and fall in love with the view.

Not only is Chicago’s crime rate well below the national average, but the good news is also that Chicago has been experiencing a steady decline in crime in the last five years.

However, it is still important to look at the type of crimes in Chicago to assuage your fears. Besides, it is better to prepare yourself before you come to visit any new town.

In recent years, Chicago’s crime rate is relatively low.

These may not be the kind of things you’d like to think about when planning any vacation, but it’s always sensible to know what to expect from the destination regarding crime and the risk you are exposed to.

Chicago is a big city with more than 77 varying communities. While it may have its share of crimes that made it to the headlines (mostly during the prohibition), police reports show that its murder rates have dropped significantly over the years. However, depending on where you are, Chicago could still be considered one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S>

Although there will always be doubts as to how safe the city is, it is important to note that the increase in the tourists who come to visit the city is saying a lot about its safety.

Despite the pandemic’s difficulties, tourism has thrived, and it has given employment opportunities during this trying period. People are no longer apprehensive about visiting Chicago.

As they say, no city is ever safe. Chicago is a very big city and amazing city. Neighborhoods in Chicago are like cities in their own right, they are that big. So, when you visit Chicago you’ll need to know what are the crime rates for each area.

Neighborhoods in Chicago

The Windy City is a city that is composed of many different neighborhoods. Each of these neighborhoods has its own unique history and culture. They also play an important role in the overall safety of the city.

North Side of Chicago

The North Side of Chicago is known for being wealthier and more affluent. This neighborhood is also home to many different tourist attractions, including the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Field Museum. The North Side is considered to be one of the safest areas in Chicago.

South Side of Chicago

The South Side of Chicago is known for being more working class. This area is home to many different factories and businesses. The South Side is also where you’ll find some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, such as Englewood and Garfield Park.

West Side of Chicago

The West Side of Chicago is a mix of both affluent and working-class neighborhoods. The University of Illinois at Chicago is located on the West Side, as well as many different cultural attractions.

The West Side is generally considered to be safe, but there are some dangerous areas, such as Austin, West Garfield Park, and North Lawndale. West Garfield Park is one of the most dangerous areas in Chicago.

East Side of Chicago

The East Side of Chicago is home to many different immigrant communities. This area is also where you’ll find some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, such as Pilsen and Little Village.

The East Side is generally considered to be safe, but there are some dangerous areas, such as South Shore and Riverdale.

Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago is a bustling area full of skyscrapers, businesses, and tourists. While it may be safe during the day, some areas can be unsafe at night. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when traveling downtown Chicago after dark.

There are neighborhoods within downtown Chicago that are lively at night such as River North, the condos along Lake Michigan, and Michigan Avenue but crime can happen so be aware of your surroundings and don’t flash your valuables.

If you are downtown and need to take a bus or train home after dark, there are some safe places to wait for public transportation. The CTA website has a list of safe havens which are well-lit, have security cameras, and are staffed with police officers.

See Related: Ukraine Crisis: Do Vacation Rentals Help Ukrainian Refugees?

Other Considerations

These Chicago neighborhoods each have their considerations for property crime, violent crime, and motor vehicle theft. There are always exceptions to this rule, but in general, these are some basic guidelines for thinking about safety in Chicago.

When it comes to property crime, the North Side of Chicago is the safest area, followed by the West Side and the South Side. The East Side has the highest rate of property crime.

Violent crime is a bit more complicated. The North Side has the lowest rate of violent crime, followed by the West Side. The South Side has a higher rate of violent crime, but it is still lower than the East Side.

The rates for motor vehicle theft are similar to those for property crime, with the North Side being the safest and the East Side is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods.

In general, the North Side of Chicago is the safest area, followed by the West Side. The South Side is more dangerous than the North Side, but it is still safer than the East Side.

When it comes to violent crime, the North Side is the safest, followed by the West Side. The East Side is more dangerous than both the North and South Sides.

Some people might feel safe in any area of Chicago, while others might only feel safe in certain neighborhoods. It’s important to remember that crime can happen anywhere, so it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions when necessary.

See Related: Best Things to do in Chicago, Illinois

Safety Tips for Visiting the Windy City

Cloud Gate in Chicago, Illinois

When visiting Chicago, tourists need to be aware of the city’s safety recommendations. Although Chicago is a large metropolis with a lot of activity, certain areas are more hazardous than others. You should consider avoiding areas notorious for crime and violence as a visitor as you may not know the dynamics of the neighborhood.

Some general tips for staying safe in Chicago include (and these apply to nearly every major city):

  • Staying aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Avoiding confrontations with strangers
  • Not walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially in the middle of the night
  • Keeping your personal belongings close by
  • Avoiding high-crime neighborhoods

The best way to stay safe in Chicago is to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself. If you witness a crime, don’t hesitate to contact the police.

Chicago tourism programs benefit from health safety protocols. Even though Chicago is known for its history of highly publicized crimes in the city, the local government is trying its best to give its tourism programs the boost that it needs.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been the driving force behind policies that will encourage tourists to come and visit the city. The city itself values its tourists, tourism being a huge contributor to Chicago’s budget, and that’s why the city made sure that all those who come to visit feel the most comfortable during their visits.

Several revisions to the city’s budget have been implemented. The local government is looking at making the shift from austerity measures to bring a more serious approach to producing progressive revenue.

The new vision to increase tourism in Chicago includes modern gondolas that will give tourists a heightened experience of the city.

Suggestions to light up the city were also presented to help double the number of visitors that they had last year. On top of that, tourism activities and programs are very important to the growth and development of the city.

Not only does it create thousands of jobs, but it is also able to generate a kind of healthy cultural interaction among tourists and its citizens. The revenue it produces for the city is undoubtedly helping in its development too.

See Related: Hidden Gems in Old Town Chicago

Is Chicago safe to visit right now?

Chicago Skyline at Sunset

With regard to crime and coronavirus, Chicago is among the safest large cities in America right now. The mayor has recently announced the reopening of some of the city’s famous beaches. With all the necessary safety protocols in place, there is little need to worry about the possible contraction of the Coronavirus in the city, especially if you are vaccinated and are following local health guidelines.

Notably, the state of Illinois has a mask mandate, especially for those indoors. Take note of the following areas where you are required to mask up:

  • All indoor public settings like restaurants, bars, gyms, supermarkets, clubs, etc.
  • Common areas in condos, apartments, and other multiple residential buildings
  • While riding the public transportation
  • In healthcare settings
  • In school

Everyone is encouraged to wear masks even outdoors if there are a lot of people. A social distancing policy is implemented to prevent the spread of contagion. Every resident and tourist in Chicago are reminded to practice frequent hand washing and other good hygiene habits.

Notably, they also have a vaccine mandate for all government employees, and many private businesses in Chicago are introducing their own mandates for employees. Currently, the city is exploring if it will implement a vaccine mandate for the entire city.

This means showing a vaccination card or a recent negative swab test result to access businesses or public transport for example.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Boston?

Things to See and Do in Chicago

People who have grown up and lived in Chicago all their lives would describe that city as a city of two faces. One aspect of the city is represented by its vibrant metropolis with famous parks and museums for tourists to discover. The other half, however, is the one that is greatly affected by crime, poverty, and gangs.

And yet, these two faces of the city are not something to be surprised about. While they may be extremes in nature, they are akin to the faces of most large American cities and they are the fabric that has been woven to give Chicago its unique culture and fascinating history.

They present realities that tourists would appreciate in the long run. Which spots should you not miss out on?

  • Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago

Home to a number of world-class artworks. Its diverse collection took years to build and it includes spectacular paintings, sculptures, textiles, decorative arts, and architectural drawings.

Some of the post-Impressionist paintings in its collections are made by Renoir and Monet – maybe you’ve heard of them…?

  • Millennium Park
unique places to stay in chicago

The Millenium Park features a magnificent centerpiece called Cloud Gate. It is an 11-ton sculpture made from a mirror-like stainless steel surface whose design is inspired by the form of liquid mercury.

Apart from the beautiful sculptures including the Crown Fountain, one of the popular things to do in Millennium Park is to watch performances in their outdoor venue. Or visit Maggie Daley Park, which is a 20-acre public park near Millennium Park.

The park, which is managed by the Chicago Park District, was initially built on land donated by the Daley family in memory of their late mother Maggie Daley. It is bounded by Randolph Street to the north, Columbus Drive.

The Taste of Chicago is an annual food festival held in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the world’s largest food festival, taking place for five days in Grant Park. The event is free to the public and features over 200 vendors representing various cuisines from around the world.

Most of these sites are accessible all year round without additional costs.

  • The Navy Pier

Established in 1916, The Navy Pier is one of the oldest landmarks in Chicago. This shipping facility also doubles as an amusement area which is basically a 50-acre nirvana with gardens, attractions, parks, concert venues, and a wide variety of the best restaurants in Chicago.

It has also been the home to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the six-story botanical garden called Crystal Gardens.

  • Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Among all the museums in the city, this one proves to be among the most impressive. Devoted to applications of natural laws in industrial and technological advancements, the museum is also known to be the first to incorporate the concept of offering hands-on exhibitions, making visitors’ experiences more interactive.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Bloomington, Illinois

Are you looking into visiting the famous Windy City? Perhaps your first question is about your safety.

  • Is Chicago safe to visit?
  • Will I be able to move around without worrying that I might contract the virus?
  • Are there safety protocols I need to remember to follow?
  • Is Chicago water safe to drink from the tap?

If that weren’t enough to give you pause for thought, there is another aspect of the city that you might be worried about.

  • What is the crime like in Chicago?
  • Will downtown Chicago be safe for me and my family?
  • Is uptown Chicago safe for us?
  • Is downtown Chicago safe? What about the other parts?

There are just so many questions such as whether is it safe to go to Chicago, but there is no need to worry.

See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights

Final Thoughts

Chicago is a safe city for tourists to visit and is an amazing city with a lot to offer. There are world-class museums, restaurants, and nightlife options. The city is also very accessible, with a great public transportation system.

Chicago is a great place to visit any time of year. However, it is still important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe

With that said, go ahead and enjoy everything that Chicago has to offer. Sign up for our free travel newsletter to get the latest travel tips and guides delivered right to your inbox.


Is Chicago safe to travel alone?

It’s a lovely city with excellent safety that is ideal for solo travelers. This Midwestern treasure has several iconic buildings, attractions, museums, and other activities that an overseas metropolis has to provide. When someone asks about American cities, Al Capone’s house will undoubtedly be compared to New York or San Francisco.

What can I do to stay safe in Chicago?

Some tips for staying safe in Chicago include being aware of your surroundings at all times, avoiding areas that are known to be dangerous, and traveling in groups when possible. It is also important to reach out to the police if you see any suspicious activity.

Which part of downtown Chicago is safe?

Downtown Chicago is safe, but certain areas are safer than others. For example, the Loop is a very safe area, as is River North. These areas are well-lit and have a lot of people around, so they’re less likely to be targeted by criminals. If you’re traveling to Chicago, it’s important to stay in these areas.

Other Safety Guides

Relevant Resources