Friday, April 06, 2007

Rules for tourists

[I want to apologize in advance for the slightly snarky tone of this post; however, I work near the Magnificent Mile, and let me tell you, leaving work to go get some lunch and trying to get back during tourist season can be like trying to get through an extremely difficult obstacle course. It gets frustrating.]

That time of year has arrived. Tourists are again flocking to Chicago. Actually, it started a few weeks ago when various schools started having spring break. Whether you are coming to Chicago from another part of the country, or whether you live in Chicagoland but rarely come Downtown, here are some pieces of advice for you to keep in mind during your visit. This advice won't make your trip any easier for you, but trust me, it will make your visit to Downtown Chicago easier for me and everyone else who works here.

1. If you are using an escalator to come up from the subway, stand on the right, walk on the left. Just because the escalator is wide enough for two people to stand shoulder to shoulder doesn't mean you should do that.

2. Learn how to use a sidewalk before trying to navigate one during rush hour or lunch hour. There are wide sidewalks downtown, probably wider than you are used to, but that doesn't mean that your party should spread out and take up the whole width of the sidewalk. There are two reasons for this. First, there are people walking in the opposite direction. Those people should not have to practically step into traffic to go south while you go north. Second, and this may seem shocking to you during your leisurely tourist trip, but some of us actually work in Chicago and need to get somewhere quickly. If you are in a group, travel in a small pack so that when you are moving at a snail's pace we can get around you and get to work/make our train on time. Also, don't stop dead in your tracks to take out a map. Move to the side. Please. I'm begging you.

3. When you get on public transportation, have an idea of where you are going to get off. Public transportation can be confusing at first, and sure, us locals are usually willing to help out with directions, but there is something fundamentally wrong with people who get on the Red Line before they figure out that Wrigley Field is at the Addison stop. If you have seen The Blues Brothers you should be able to put two and two together on that one. I am not joking, every single time I'm on a northbound Red Line train before a Cubs game I hear at least one group of people ask which stop Wrigley Field is at. IT'S AT ADDISON!!!

4. If you go through a revolving door, say at Water Tower Place, do not under any circumstances stop right in front of the door once you are through it. That leaves the rest of us trapped. Get out and move to the side if you haven't decided the direction you want to go in. This also goes for stopping at the top of an escalator. You can do that if you want to be bowled over by the people behind you on the escalator who then have no where to go but to plow into you. Move!!!

Really, I am not a mean person. I love Chicago and I want everyone who comes and visit to fall in love with it, too. I just think that, sometimes when we are on vacation, we forget about common courtesy. I will admit to having been a clueless tourist as well. Then I started working in an area that is heavy with tourist traffic, and now I am much more conscious about how I navigate in another city.


Blogger Fargo said...

Thank you! I couldn't agree more. Too bad that many of these points are not unique to tourists. There are plenty of locals who need to get on the clue train, too.

3:12 PM  

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