Solo Trip To Chicago: A Muslim-friendly Guide

By Farihah
24 Min Read
Muslim Solo Travel Chicago

Solo Trip To Chicago: A Muslim-friendly Guide

Are you planning on taking your first solo trip to Chicago? Then you have come to the right place!

There are many things that Chicago is known for: its glistening skyline, the windy Lake Michigan, vibrant town and there is just no amount of shortage activities in Windy City.

Plus, Chicago is an amazing destination for Muslim solo travelers. The third-largest US city has been voted as the best city to visit in the United States four years in a row. It offers a unique, diverse midwestern culture and is one of the Muslim-friendly cities in the US!


Disclaimer: Some of the links here are affiliate links. I receive a small commission AT NO EXTRA cost to you if you use the links. Hope you find this guide helpful!


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Before You Go to Chicago:

Make sure you get any of these passes

Passes / TourGreat ForBest Price Guarantee
Go City: Chicago Explorer Pass – Choose 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 AttractionsA bundle pass with savings up to 45% on any of 2-7 attractions bundle of choice, among 25 top sites offered. Valid for 60 days.Book now on Viator →


Book now on Get Your Guide →
Chicago: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ AttractionsAll-inclusive Day Pass to any of city’s 25+ top attractions. Comes in choice of 1,2,3 or 5 day passBook now on Get Your Guide →
Chicago CityPASSA bundle pass with discounts up to 48% on any 5 Chicago top attractions within 9 daysBook now on Viator →


Book now on Get Your Guide →
Big Bus Chicago Hop-On Hop-Off TourGreat view of Chicago’s skyline and mapped out iconic sights on double decker bus on a flexible, hop on, hop off tourBook now on Viator →
Big Bus Chicago Night TourNon-stop 75-minute tour of Chicago’s history and iconic sightsBook now on Viator →

Is Chicago Safe for Solo Muslim Travelers?

You must be thinking, “Should I travel to Chicago alone?”, or “is it safe to travel to chicago alone?” It’s only natural to be thinking that way.

Being a walkable city, Chicago, in general, is very safe for solo travelers.

Do take some precautions to avoid dodgy neighborhoods, be aware of what’s happening and it will be fine.

Take it from me, I’ve walked the streets of Chicago city till almost after midnight, and made it safe to my accommodation.

Chicago Weather

Solo Trip to Chicago

Chicago has four seasons.

However, the best times to visit Chicago are April through May during Spring, and August through October in Summer.

During Spring, flowers are in bloom. The weather generally ranges within 50F (10-15C), and can reach up to 70F (21C) in May.

In summer, Chicago is hot, humid, and sunny. The temperature is between 68-73F (20-23C) and can reach up to 104F (40C). While it is warm, the frequent light breeze from the lake makes it an enjoyable time to stroll around Chicago.

During these times, a variety of events take place.

Muslim-Friendly Things to Do Alone In Chicago

Stroll at Magnificent Mile

Ever heard of the phrase “a stroll unveils the wonder in a city”? Guess what — Chicago is that kind of city!

And what better place to have a stroll in the city of Chicago if not along the Magnificent Mile? Some say a walk along the Magnificent Mile is what Chicago is all about!

Located adjacent to downtown, this is Chicago’s premier commercial district situated in Michigan Avenue District. It is bustling with department stores, and iconic landmarks and coupled with panoramic views of the city.

Water Tower Chicago

Pro-tip: Don’t miss out on the longest-standing structure on Michigan Avenue, Historic Water Tower. The washed-out brownish-grey building survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Visit Devon, a Muslim-majority neighborhood in Chicago

One of the Muslim neighborhoods in Chicago is Devon Avenue

Sometimes known as “Little India”, Devon Avenue can also be mistaken for a Bollywood film backdrop, world’s away from the skyscraper panorama the city is known for if one comes here for the first time!

This place has a vibrant mix of cultural influence, much like what Jackson Heights to NYC is.

If you’re wondering, “Is little India Chicago safe?”

Despite being a bit grungy in spots, it is a perfectly safe city for Muslim solo travelers to walk around!

Visit any Chicago Museums

One of the solo things to do in Chicago is to visit any of the museums!

Whatever your preferences are, there are plenty of Chicago museums you can check out. Most of them are located Downtown.

Depending on your preferences and interests, here are a couple of museums that will interest you:

Some great museums that you should consider are:

Type of Museums in ChicagoGreat forBest Price Guarantee
History MuseumFor historians and those who want to learn about Chicago’s development and its influence on American HistoryGet your Skip-the-line History Museum Admission Ticket →
Chicago: Art Institute of ChicagoFor Art lovers who want to see a world-class art collection spanning 5,000 yearsGet your Skip-the-line Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago Skip-the-Line Ticket →
Field Museum of Natural HistoryFor dinosaur and prehistoric enthusiasts and natural history aficionadosGet your Skip-the-line Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History Ticket or VIP Tour →
Shedd AquariumSee marine animals like dolphins and etcGet from Chicago Go City All Inclusive Pass
American Writers MuseumFor writers of all levels!Get from Chicago Go City All Inclusive Pass

Pro-tip: Purchase your tickets earlier as passes are sold in a limited capacity. Some museums do not accept walk-ins.

If you can’t decide which museum would you like to visit, get the Chicago Go City All Inclusive Pass as these attractions are included inside the pass!

Walk along Chicago Riverwalk

Another walk that’s worth the mention.

Chicago Riverwalk is a 1.25-mile path sprawling across 4 distinct districts; The Confluence, The Arcade, The Civic, and the Esplanade.

What’s unique about this walk is the many life elements you will encounter along its waterway banks. It’s perfect for a jog out, it’s a public art gallery, and the bluish-green waters make it perfect for a kayaking time out in Lake Michigan!

Not to mention the skyscrapers found here are super gorgeous!

Chicago Riverwalk

Go Up Skydeck & Ledge Chicago at Willis Tower

When one thinks of American architecture, Manhattan NY, or Chicago IL would immediately come to mind. True enough, there’s nothing quite like Chicago’s skyline. It is the inspiration that has influenced a lot of American architecture.

Make your first solo trip to Chicago a memorable one by checking out the best view of the city’s skyline from the highest observation deck in the US, the Skydeck Chicago located on the 103rd floor of the iconic Willis (Sears) Tower.

A much more thrilling experience is at The Ledge, a 4 glass-paneled box that extends out of the building with an unobstructed view downwards! Talk about adrenaline!

Do not attempt this if you have vertigo.

Solo travel to Chicago
Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Operating hours: daily, 9 am – 10 pm

Admire Chicago Architecture from A River Cruise

If you are especially interested in architecture, don’t forget to join an architectural river cruise on your “Things to do solo in Chicago” itinerary.

It will be an experience that is packed with great views, and informative commentary on the city’s architectural history.

Sunset cruises are available too.

Types of CruiseHighlightsBest Price Guarantee
Chicago Architecture River Cruise60/75-min tour of more than 40 of the city’s famous buildings, sailing under historic bridges with expert architecture commentaryBook from Viator → 

Book Your Skip-the-line ticker from Get Your Guide →
Chicago Sunset CruiseAn open-top vessel cruise that cruises along the Chicago River, with views of the city skyline, and then Lake Michigan for sunset viewing.Book from Viator →
Chicago Solo Trip

The Bean Millennium Park

Your solo travel guide to Chicago is incomplete without visiting The Bean, an iconic giant bean sculpture that’s become the landmark of Windy City.

The Bean, Millennium Park

Trivia: Officially, the sculpture is named ‘Cloud Gate’. How the sculpture became known by its “The Bean” nickname was because Chicagoans found out about the sculpture while it was still in working progress. Artist Anish Kapoor only gave the Bean its title after work has been completed.

Located in Millennium Park, at the Loop. The Bean’s curved surface not only invites the reflection of Chicago’s surrounding skyline and green spaces, but also yourself into the concave sculpture! Cool right?

While in Millennium Park, check out other FREE things to do like exploring a variety of flowers at Lurie Garden, or get a quick splash at Crown Fountain, where you’ll see the centerpiece of the fountain would change faces every second.

Time in Millennium Park: 2-3 hours.

See Chicago from above!

If the skydeck, cruise or double decker tours do not interest you, and you’re feeling a bit fancy on your solo travels in Chicago”, how about we take it way, way up high in the sky?

The Helicopter tour lets you see Downtown Chicago in a new light, and is extremely safe with professional care.

You’ll depart from Willis Tower’s Skydeck, passing by Wrigley Field, Navy Pier and other stunning landmarks in Chicago!

Pro-tip: Do join in the activity when the weather is clear for the best viewing experience.

Check out Chicago’s public art

Besides the museums, Chicago’s city streets are an urban art museum on their own. You’ll surely stumble upon interesting art pieces like The Picasso at Daley Plaza.

Chicago Public Art

Visit your favorite movie locations

Chicago is long home to various movies. Movie lovers are bound to recognize Chicago from its iconic structure.

If you are a The Dark Knight Fan, you’ll want to check out some locations like:

  • Daley Plaza at Washington Street: Wayne Enterprise HQ
  • Lake Street, from Upper Wacker Drive to State Street: famous Bruce Wayne’s Lamborghini chase under ‘L’ train tracks.
  • Metra station, Millennium Park: where the famous Batpod chase took place
Solo Travel Guide to Chicago

Pro-tip: Make sure to rewatch your favorite movie made in Chicago and figure out where exactly you’d want to go so you won’t miss out on anything during your Solo Travel to Chicago!

Explore Navy Pier

As a top waterfront attraction in Chicago, there’s a lot to do at Navy Pier.

You can go for a spinning ride on the Centennial Wheel at the Pier’s Amusement Park; or just watch ducks swimming along the pier.

Ferris wheel Navy Pier Chicago

The pier is also home to plenty of free programs. Check out its calendar of events so you can plan ahead.

When it comes to shopping for some memorabilia, get it from here. Either if it’s Chicago Blackhawks merchandise, customized photos of letters, or Garrett Popcorn, they’re all available here.

Related ?? 11+ Things To Do Alone at Navy Pier, Chicago for Muslim Travelers!

Estimated time spent at Navy Pier: 5-6 hours

Check out United Center

The home arena to many Chicago-based sports teams like Chicago Blackhawks of NHL, and Chicago Bulls of NBAUnited Center is a must-visit location for solo Muslim travelers who are avid fans of these sports teams!

United Center Chicago

Where to Stay in Chicago? 

Your first-time solo trip to Chicago should choose The Loop/Downtown. It is the best area. Home to the city’s business district, this area of Chicago is packed with skyscrapers, bustling activities and picturesque architectural landmarks.

However, there are both pros and cons to staying here.

Pros? Easily accessible to attractions.

Cons? It can be quite expensive.

Where to Eat Halal Food in Chicago?

I have to admit, finding an eatery that serves halal food in Chicago was tougher than it was in New York City. But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any.

The Halal Guys

While The Halal Guys is more synonymous with New York City, you can also get one in Chicago.

Go for their hot platter of Beef Gyro or Chicken, served with pita bread. And let me tell you, for an Asian like me, the platter is a huge serving that makes you full a whole day!

If you’re still unsure between the two of them? Their ‘combo platter’ serves the best of both worlds (beef and chicken).

The best part of it all? Topping it with their signature white sauce. If your spice tolerance is low, take it easy on the hot sauce.

Price: $-$$

Location: 172 N Wabash Ave Chicago, IL 60601

Operating hours: 10:30am – 10:00pm

Oasis Cafe

Just nearby the Millennium Metra Station, this little cafe serving Halal Mediterranean cuisines is a gem that’s worth your time walking along hidden at the back of rows and rows of jewelry stores.

Halal food in Chicago

Try out the Kefta Kebab Sandwich. It comes with some hummus (to die for!), falafel, and tomatoes. 

Take note that the portions are big with quick-serve.

Price: $-$$

Operating hours:

Mon – Fri : 10 am – 5 pm

Sat: 11 am – 3 pm

Asada Mexican Grill

Asada Mexican Grill is one of the halal Chicago outlets that you should check out. The shop serves halal Mexican staples like burritos, tacos, quesadillas and so much more.

The good news is that if you’re Asian like me, you’ll never guess that you can add rice as one of your servings in burritos. One burrito can easily make you full till dinner.

Halal Chicago burrito

Check out Asada Steak Burrito & mild green sauce. Fast service.

Price: $-$$

Address: 180 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60606, United States

Operating hours:

Mon- Fri: 7:00 am – 3:30 pm

Mosques in Chicago Area

There are a lot of mosques in Chicago area.

However, most of them are heavily concentrated in Little India/Devon Avenue in West Ridge, north-side of Chicago, which is about 11 miles car-ride away from Downtown. This is also the most-populated area for Muslims in Chicago

Here are some mosques that you can check out according to the neighborhood:

Downtown/The Loop: Downtown Islamic Center

Efficient for those traveling, or residing in Downtown area.

Kenwood: Masjid Al-Fatir

Initially known as Muhammad Mosque of Chicago, this masjid was established by Boxing World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali and his then manager Jabir Herbert Muhammad (son of Elijah Muhammad) in 1983. It is the largest mosque in Chicago

Little India/Devon

Roscoe Village: Masjid Abu Bakar

This mosque is an 8-min walk away from Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs since 1914, and the 2nd oldest baseball stadium in the majors.

For the updated prayer (salat) timings in Chicago, click here.

Getting Around Chicago

Getting around Chicago is fairly easy! And there are many options available when it comes to navigating around the city.

You can get around Chicago by:

Walking

It’s FREE, it makes you sweat and the surrounding architecture around Chicago makes walking around Windy City an enjoyable one!

The city is built on a grid system, making it easy to move around. 

Renting a bike

Divvy bike-sharing in Chicago

If you’re the kind of person who can’t wait for the next train or walk miles and miles away, how about exploring the city with a bike?

Chicago has a bike-share program called Divvy, with stations at about every corner of the city. Around 6,000 bikes are available for you to use at various rates (day pass/single rides available)

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) — ‘L’ train and buses

One of the easiest ways to explore on your solo trip to Chicago is by hopping onto any of the public transport under the CTA. The CTA operates Chicago’s 8 ‘L’ train lines and about 120 bus routes—all interconnected with stops every few blocks.

What’s cool about the train lines in Windy City? Some of the platforms are located above ground, some in the subway, and some on the street level!

Chicago L train

If you are in Chicago for a week, or say, a month, get a reloadable Ventra card (available at every Ventra vending machine) and get unlimited ride passes for the best travel value.

The card is also reloadable for PACE (suburban routes of Chicago), and Metra (commuter rail in Chicago Metropolitan Area).

More info about CTA fares is here. Look out for Summer discounts as well.

Download the Ventra app for real-time updates of the buses and trains, and to reload as you go.

Taxi

Rather expensive, it is only recommended you take a taxi/uber should you plan to go further beyond the cities of Chicago!

Water taxi

Getting on board the bright yellow Chicago Water Taxi provides a unique way of seeing the city in a different light. With the taxi, you can get a tour along Lake Michigan’s waterways.

Chicago Riverwalk water taxi

Hop on the water taxi at any of the six stops.

Purchase passes here.

By Tours

There are many tours available for a sightseeing adventure during your Solo Trip to Chicago. You can choose to:

?? Hop on a helicopter ride exploring Downtown Chicago, admiring the skyline from above.

?? Go on the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Ride, where you can hop on, and hop off at any of the iconic stops. Or see the best of the city on limited time

⭐️ Journey through the waters of Lake Michigan and Chicago River (speedboat, architecture cruise, and laid-back cruise options available)

Conclusion – Solo Trip to Chicago Muslim-friendly guide

And there you have it! Your Solo Trip to Chicago Muslim-friendly guide!

Ideally, it is best if you can stay at least 3 days (or more) in Chicago, because there is just so much to experience in Windy City.

Definitely, one to tick off on your ‘Solo Holidays to USA’ bucket list. What are you looking forward to the most in Chicago?

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