10 of Chicago’s Busy Spots Turned Empty During COVID-19


When you think of the city, which buzz words come to mind? People? Traffic? Crowds? Noise? Imagining Chicago without those things is strange; what once was a bustling city is temporarily a ghost town. While people shelter in place, Chicago gets to take a breath and heal from the constant action of city life. Crowded places like train stations and main drags are emptying out. The vacant streets allow people to see Chicago in a different way than ever before. There is something stunning about seeing the stillness of an unfilled city. These Instagram users have captured images of some of Chicago’s most crowded places, empty – see for yourself.

1. “L” train stations

The train to ghost town has arrived, but no one is there to ride it. Before COVID-19, over 700,000 people rode the “L” per day in Chicago, yet there is no one waiting to catch this train. Public transportation is getting a rest from daily commuters and tourists. Photo credit to @benjaminjsuter

2. Cloud Gate (“The Bean”)

Located in Millennium Park, this tourist attraction has been standing without tourists for days. “The Bean” is one of Chicago’s most beloved landmarks that people come from out of town to see. During the outbreak of COVID-19, the sculpture will be surrounded by an empty Chicago. Photo credit to @espetersen

3. Midway Airport

This travel hub is normally jammed with people going to and from Chicago. Lately, this busy spot has been home to echoes bouncing off the walls of empty hallways. On the bright side, flights are really cheap! Photo credit to @pilotbo

4. City Highways

These Chicagoland highways are normally bustling with tourists and commuters from all over the place. Rush hour traffic is a non-issue now that people are social distancing, and the roads look pretty deserted these days. Photo credit to @itsryan

5. Grant Park

Home to concerts, festivals and more, Grant Park is looking eerily people-less. This tourist location is normally filled with food and music but is now filled with… fog. Hopefully, the fun will start back up soon! Photo credit to @angelagarbot

6.  State St.

Home of the Chicago Theatre, State St. is lacking its usual foot traffic. This crowded street is looking a bit drained of life during social distancing. Hopefully, people will be back to walk around in no time. Photo credit to @espetersen

7. Metra Trains

One lone rider seems like the new normal for the Metra these days. Just like the “L,” not many people are climbing aboard these vacant trains. Photo credit to @lordills

8. Shedd Aquarium

After its temporary closure, the Shedd’s empty hallways made the perfect playground for their penguins. These curious animals get to explore the building while it is unoccupied and closed to the public. Photo credit to @shedd_aquarium

9. Wrigley Field

Whether you root for the Cubs or the White Sox, opening day was different this year. Wrigley Field is just waiting to be played on by some of the best baseball players in the world. An empty Wrigley Field is a strange sight to see. Photo credit to @angelaconners

10.  Lake Shore Drive

Lake Shore Drive is a popular route to take into the city and gaze at the skyline. This street runs parallel to a bike path and Lake Michigan, making it a nice spot for tourists. COVID-19 has this road cleared out and its traffic down to a minimum. Photo credit to @shellyshooots


Written By: Emma McVady



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