Get us in your inbox

lower wacker drive
Photograph: Shutterstock

Eight Chicago experiences scarier than a haunted house

The CTA and Lower Wacker bring fear to Chicagoans.

Jeffy Mai
Written by
Jeffy Mai

While haunted houses and spooky events provide frights during the Halloween season, there are plenty of scares that happen year round. We asked Time Out readers what Chicago-specific moments spark fear without fail and received numerous responses. From driving on Lower Wacker Drive to ghost buses, here are eight experiences more terrifying than a killer clown.

Speed cameras

Commonly installed near parks and schools, speed cameras are a scary sight for many drivers. It’s an even bigger shock when you receive a ticket in the mail—the fine is $35 for going 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit and $100 for 11 miles per hour or more.

Driving into Lower Wacker Drive

Chicago’s most notorious multilevel street can be a confusing labyrinth, not just for out-of-towners but locals as well. Thanks to spotty GPS signals, navigating Lower Wacker Drive is a bit tricky if you aren’t familiar with the layout. And one wrong turn is all it takes to end up in Lower Lower Wacker Drive, a small, short section that’s also home to a drag racing scene.

Chicago Air and Water Show practice day

One of the city’s most popular summer traditions, the Chicago Air and Water show brings millions of people to the lakefront to watch dazzling stunts performed by daredevil pilots plus boat demonstrations. The Friday before the shows is a practice day, with jets noisily zooming around and often startling residents who have forgotten about the annual spectacle.

The Red Line on the day of a Cubs game

Although having a train station near Wrigley Field is convenient, the actual experience of riding in a packed car is less than ideal. Especially for commuters who are not headed to see the Cubbies.

Dave Matthews Band coming to town

On August 8, 2004, a tour bus that belonged to the Dave Matthews Band dumped human waste from its tank as it drove across the Kinzie Street Bridge. Unfortunately, a boat hosting a tour of the Chicago River also happened to be going under the bridge at the same exact time, resulting in dozens of passengers being exposed to the waste. A legal settlement was eventually reached between the band and the state of Illinois.

CTA trains running express

Waiting on a delayed train is frustrating enough, but finding out it’s running express and skipping your stop once you get on is (arguably) worse.

Ghost buses and buses not in service

CTA buses are often late or sometimes even non-existent. We’ve all waited for a bus that’s supposed to arrive according to the tracker but nowhere to be found. Perhaps worse, though, is seeing a bus go by that’s not in service.

Arguments over which era of Wicker Park was the best

Good luck reaching a consensus.

You may also like
You may also like