Solo travel is a common things, whether you’re traveling alone by choice, on business or maybe just all of your friends hate Chicago. In which case, you should get new friends anyways. Luckily, there are a lot of friendly people in Chicago, and tons of ways to make a new friend, even if it’s just for one trip. If you’re used to traveling solo, you might have a few tricks of your own up your sleeve, but there are a few tips specific to the Windy City when you want to meet new people
Take a Tour
Chicago is famous for it’s guided tours. Whether you’re in it for the architecture, the food, the city sights and photo ops or you’re just looking to keep completely entertained on a boat tour, one of the best things to do in Chicago if you’re flying solo is to take a guided tour. Not only are they stimulating ways to spend the afternoon and learn about the city, but they are filled with tourists who are either traveling by themselves or open to meeting new people who are. Plus, the tour you pick will also draw in people with similar interests, so it’s way more likely that you’ll get along with the new people you’re meeting. Fellow architecture lovers, beer drinkers or photo-obsessed travelers unite on these tours every day in Chicago!
Visit a Brewery
Another great way to meet people is the classic “sittin’ at a bar” technique. And in Chicago, you don’t have to waste your time sipping on a Miller Lite alone at the bar. You can go to many of the bars or breweries around here and order a great, local craft beer and start up a conversation with a local, bartender/brewer or another traveler who came for the same reason you did: because you enjoy a good beer. There are lots of great breweries in Chicago, and many of them are top attractions for travelers who are looking to throw a few make and have a friendly conversation.
Stay in the Loop
We’re talking both in-the-know and in the Chicago Loop. This is the main part of the Downtown area, and you’re most likely to run into other travelers and people who are looking to meet other people when you stay in this busy neighborhood. It’s beneficial in the sense that you’ll meet more people and get more done though. The Loop is home to some of Chicago’s most popular attractions (The Art Institute, Willis Tower, the Chicago River, etc) so it’s not hard to spend time here. Many of the hotels in Chicago’s Loop offer the convenience of being within walking distance of the best attractions, and most of them have great on-site bars to mingle in.
Stay in a Hostel
Hostels are ideal for solo travelers and budget travelers. Chicago has some great hostels, and the best one is HI-Chicago, which is located Downtown, so you’re not only paying less and meeting more people, but you’re also right in the mix of all the action. They offer some single rooms, and then rooms that sleep up to 6 and offers quick access to airports, bus terminals and train stations. They also provide a free breakfast, free Wi-Fi so you can keep all your other friends up-to-date with facts about all your new friends, and there are no age restrictions. In your room, you’ll probably have one or two other solo travelers or a few that are traveling together and wouldn’t mind including one more in their activities.
There are tons of ways to meet people while you’re traveling, but Chicago has several places that make it even easier than many other cities do. Chicago is a popular destination for solo travelers, so you’re not alone when you’re flying solo to the Windy City.
This article was written by Lizz Riggs, editor of ChicagoTraveler.com.