Can you live without a car in Chicago?

By Product Expert | Posted in Community, FAQ, Tips & Tricks on Friday, February 21st, 2020 at 2:13 PM
Several sleek glass buildings are seen in Chicago.

Having a car opens a host of possibilities within one’s life, but it has its share of drawbacks as well. Though the car-owning individual has the freedom to travel where they want, when they want, they also have to pay insurance, fuel, and service fees, not to mention the cost of the car itself. And while some draw great pleasure from their daily drive, others find it stressful and unpleasant.

The main barrier to going “carless” is, for many, the seeming sheer impossibility of living life in America without a vehicle. So how possible is it to live in Chicago without a car?

Benefits and Drawbacks to Living in Chicago without a Vehicle

While not always convenient, living in Chicago without a car is doable depending on one’s life situation. If one can get to the essentials of their life using public transportation or their own two legs, they can get by without a vehicle. If one’s life has more complicated elements to it, like children who need to go places or travel obligations, then living without a car can be much more of a challenge.

If you decide you do want a car, we recommend a look at our new Honda Inventory.

A man driving a public transport vehicle watches as two humans get in.

What do I need to be able to do to live without a car?

Essential elements to contemplate the possibility of doing without a vehicle typically include getting to work and back, and having some method of getting groceries. This could be taking the bus to a grocery store, or utilizing a grocery delivery service.

Is Chicago bike-friendly?

Chicago does have lots of bike paths. In fact, a few years ago, it was dubbed the most bike-friendly city in the USA.

You May Be Intrigued to Know: How long is the commute in Chicago?

Public Transport in Chicago

The Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, carries more than a million passengers every year on their daily commute. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and these neighborhoods are typically developed around local train stops and main thoroughfares.

Buses run on major streets going north to south or east to west throughout the city. Major streets run every half mile, so a walk to a bus stop is usually not too long. The bus can be taken all the way to one’s destination, or to a train station. Trains and buses generally run every 10 to 15 minutes.

Fun Fact: The train system in Chicago is known as the “L” system.


Chicago is certainly cold in the winter, so if you are getting around without a car, it’s essential that one learn to dress appropriately. Layers are a key element of this.

Also, be careful in navigating sidewalks and other pavement in this season, as there is likely snow and ice around. The cleaning conditions can vary depending on the neighborhood you’re in, but most major streets should be clear.  

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