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rail sale

Train Attendant
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Mar 22, 2003
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43
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Chicago
Here's a map with all the Chicago area stations, pick a walkable station so you don't have to spend the layover in a park and ride lot.
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Also, the PBS station has a great video tour for whole city via the L, at
 

daybeers

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I ride Metra so little and it’s been a long time since I’ve done a “joyride” that I really can’t remember what’s at the terminals. It might be interesting to take the Heritage Corridor out to Joliet and then return on the Rock Island. Heritage Corridor is weekdays only, and with the limited COVID schedule, there’s only one outbound that would offer a decent (20-minute) connection to the return RI train. I was going to suggest Heritage to Joliet, RI to Blue Island, then Metra Electric back downtown, but it looks like there are no Electric District trains that return from Blue Island late enough for such a loop trip to work.

As for the Hiawatha, there’s nothing particularly special or scenic about it. Just a bunch of Horizon cars, and occasionally an out-of-service cafe car that is closed off to passengers (it’s the WiFi “brain car” for when the consist doesn’t have a cabbage car). If the weather is decent, you might want to walk over to the Milwaukee Public Market, walk along the river, or ride the Milwaukee streetcar. I’ll let you decide if that’s worth $50 and most of a day.
Thank you for the detailed response! I'll try to figure out the Metra schedule. Thanks for telling me about the Hiawatha, I'll skip it. Would probably do it if the fares were cheaper, that's unfortunate. Price/mile is high.

Here's a map with all the Chicago area stations, pick a walkable station so you don't have to spend the layover in a park and ride lot.

Also, the PBS station has a great video tour for whole city via the L, at
Thank you very much for both of those resources!

I agree that the Hiawatha isnt Worth a $50 ride, just do Chicago, plenty to see there!
Thanks!
 

caravanman

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Mar 22, 2004
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Nottingham, England.
I enjoy architecture, so recommend a visit to Oak Park on the EL, several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. I particularly liked seeing the Unity Temple.
Oak Park also has the home of author Earnest Hemmingway.
One can take several architecture "tours" in Chicago, I just enjoy walking around gawping at everything!
I also took an Amtrak day trip to Detroit, interesting, but a long day out.
 

bms

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Jan 29, 2018
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486
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Cleveland
CBS Chicago posted an article about life returning to Chicago's downtown area. This is extremely good news, as I was really dismayed by the ghost town conditions in the Loop over the past year.

For those looking to take a Metra train, I thought Kenosha, Wisconsin, was a really nice terminal destination. There is plenty to see within walking distance of the well-maintained 1855 station, great food, and the Metra train connects to the historic streetcars. Metra service to Kenosha is extremely light on weekends, though.
 
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NorthShore

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Sep 3, 2013
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Chicago
daybeers said:
I'll be in Chicago Friday morning June 4th coming in on the LSL until I head back on the LSL Sunday night the 6th. I have most the day Friday and most the day Sunday to explore. Will leave luggage in the lounge. I want to rail/transit joyride a bit and hit a couple of key places in my short time there. Tried to figure out getting off early in Toledo, catching a Thruway bus to Detroit and taking the Wolverine to Chicago, but the Wolverine is only running a single round trip these days. It's very annoying trying to find connecting trains without updated timetables. Looks like my best option would be taking Hiawatha #333 to Milwaukee and #388 back for about 2.5 hours there, but $25 is kinda steep for 89 miles. Props to Wisconsin for running a full schedule though! I can't find another Amtrak train I could take round trip from Chicago in a reasonable amount of time with current schedules.

Metra extended the $10 unlimited pass until June 30th so I'll definitely take advantage of that as I've only used it a few times. Looking for recommendations on places to ride to not in the middle of nowhere or in a non-walkable/endless suburbia area. CTA too, I haven't ridden much of that.

I'll be back in Chicago for two full days/one night in September on my way back from a trip, so I can save some things & train joyriding for then too. This will be my third time in Chicago, but all have been short trips usually taken up by family events so I hope to get in more exploring this trip and in September. Might save the South Shore Line til then based on the scheduling, but are there interesting places to easily walk to at some of those stations? Not all the trains run to South Bend and that takes a while anyway.
If you're up for a hike, you could consider the Indiana Dunes. South Bend is at the airport. You need to take a city bus to get downtown. There is a nice little history museum and the Studebaker auto museum within a reasonable walk from there. An art museum nearby. Notre Dame another bus ride or long walk north of downtown. You can make a nice daytrip out of it, if you want. Michigan City has a zoo and botanical garden, along with a beach and marina. You can ride South Shore there and Amtrak back to Chicago, if you want to work it out.

Milwaukee is also a nice daytrip. Not as worthwhile on cost just for the train ride. Though Greyhound and Megabus go to the same station, at a better cost.

Ann Arbor can be a good round trip out of Chicago, especially if spending a little time rather than just fan tripping.

Springfield is a solid full day trip, for around the same ticket cost as Milwaukee. Interesting Lincoln sites and history in the state capital.

The Ford Museum in Michigan is worth a trip of its own.

Even on a long layover, like earlier this summer, I'd suggest visiting Pullman for its rail and labor history. One can ride Metra Electric or combine the Red Line and a bus.

The suburbs and exurbs of Chicago often have historic character. Along with Kenosha, WI (museums, PCC streetcar, historic downtown with shops, Lake Michigan), consider Woodstock (historic town square used for Groundhog Day) on UPNW, Elgin (museums and history) on MDW, Geneva (history/local museums/Fox river) on UPW, Oak Park UPW or Green Line L...also for Garfield Park Conservatory.... (history/architecture/shops), Fox Lake (basically the same line as Amtrak to Milwaukee with a left turn to the chain of lakes on MDN, the aforementioned HC/RI trip sounds interesting for history/nature/I&M Canal, Metra Electric for Illinois Central history and street median running on South Chicago branch.
 

20th Century Rider

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Oregon Coast
I'm with you, Bob - that's what I eat them with.
Gimme a hot sizzling dog that pops when you bite into it... slathered with hot hot hot mustard... and a little sweet pickle relish. Guess I'll burn in hell for liking it the way I do... but it's sooooooo good!

BTW don't forget to slather on sauerkraut, raw onions... and a dill pickle... mmmmmm! Good!
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ms garrison

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 26, 2018
Messages
33
I'm a lifelong (80+) Chicago senior and yes, the Pullman Museum is well worth a visit. But due to recent uptakes in bad, often dangerous behavior I have stopped using the Red Line. Still use Metra and the occasional bus, but now the Red Line is off limits for me. BTW I'm a lifelong south sider . When I need to go downtown I take Uber to the nearest Metra station .
 

MARC Rider

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Apr 5, 2011
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Baltimore. MD
Since I have to endure flex dining on my trip out to the Gathering, I am planning to eat well when I get to Chicago. I've searched around on Google maps to find some places reasonably accessible to my hotel in the Loop, and I thought I'd share what caught my eye with everybody. These are all pretty highly rated by the reviews in Google Maps. I'd appreciate any comments from locals or those in the know about which might be extra special. As you can imagine, this is not a complete list, so any additional suggestions are always welcome.

Bon Apetit!

River North/Magnificent Mile

Bijan's New American 663 N. State St Bijan's Chicago | Bijan's Chicago
The Brasserie French 11 E. Walton St. The Brasserie - Waldorf Astoria - Chicago, IL on OpenTable
Bistronomic French 840 N. Wabash BISTRONOMIC
The Kitchen American bistro 316 N. Clark St. Chicago | Hours + Location | The Kitchen American Bistros
Nico Osteria Italian 1015 N. Rush St. Nico Osteria
Blue Door Kitchen and Garden Southern style 52 West Elm St. Menu — Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
Il Porcellino Italian 59 W. Hubbard St. il Porcellino -
Quartino Italian 626 N. State St. Chicago's Italian Restaurant | Quartino Ristorante
Volare Ristorante Italiano 201 E. Grand Ave. Volare®
Le Colonial Vietnamese 57 E. Oak St. Le Colonial, Chicago's Famed Vietnamese Restaurant | Home

Loop

Russian Tea Time Russian 77 East Adams St. Russian Tea Time Restaurant | United States
The Bereghoff German 17 West Adams St. The Berghoff | Historic German Restaurant | Downtown Chicago IL

Northwest


Lula Cafe New American 2537 Kedzie Blvd (Logan Square on Blue Line) Lula Cafe | Inventive, market-driven food in a casual, funky space that hosts an especially popular brunch in Chicago, IL.
 

Gary Behling

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Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
65
I don't know about ANY of the other places, but I have eaten at Russian Tea Time right across the street from the Art Institute on Michigan Ave and Adams. If you are into walking, you can use the Union station Adams exit and walk there. It's a bit over a mile. Nice walk too.

Russian Tea Time was the restaurant in the opening scene of Julia Roberts movie "My Best Friends Wedding". Any time I got a new girlfriend over the last 25 years or so, THAT is the place I took them to REALLY impress them. If you go there, order whatever you want. It's all great---- but you MUST order Carrots Tashkent. Maybe the other places are as good or better, but Russian Tea Time ALWAYS impressed my new girlfriends and they always wanted a second date. If you are unsure or considering this place, simply go to their website and pull up their menu. This is a classy place--- not "a diner--drive-in or dive"
 
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Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
288
Since I have to endure flex dining on my trip out to the Gathering, I am planning to eat well when I get to Chicago. I've searched around on Google maps to find some places reasonably accessible to my hotel in the Loop, and I thought I'd share what caught my eye with everybody. These are all pretty highly rated by the reviews in Google Maps. I'd appreciate any comments from locals or those in the know about which might be extra special. As you can imagine, this is not a complete list, so any additional suggestions are always welcome.

Bon Apetit!

River North/Magnificent Mile

Bijan's New American 663 N. State St Bijan's Chicago | Bijan's Chicago
The Brasserie French 11 E. Walton St. The Brasserie - Waldorf Astoria - Chicago, IL on OpenTable
Bistronomic French 840 N. Wabash BISTRONOMIC
The Kitchen American bistro 316 N. Clark St. Chicago | Hours + Location | The Kitchen American Bistros
Nico Osteria Italian 1015 N. Rush St. Nico Osteria
Blue Door Kitchen and Garden Southern style 52 West Elm St. Menu — Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
Il Porcellino Italian 59 W. Hubbard St. il Porcellino -
Quartino Italian 626 N. State St. Chicago's Italian Restaurant | Quartino Ristorante
Volare Ristorante Italiano 201 E. Grand Ave. Volare®
Le Colonial Vietnamese 57 E. Oak St. Le Colonial, Chicago's Famed Vietnamese Restaurant | Home

Loop

Russian Tea Time Russian 77 East Adams St. Russian Tea Time Restaurant | United States
The Bereghoff German 17 West Adams St. The Berghoff | Historic German Restaurant | Downtown Chicago IL

Northwest

Lula Cafe New American 2537 Kedzie Blvd (Logan Square on Blue Line) Lula Cafe | Inventive, market-driven food in a casual, funky space that hosts an especially popular brunch in Chicago, IL.
Quartino I find the food to be just meh. And the atmosphere inside is really loud and annoying, it is really hard to have a conversation in that dining room, there is something about the design that all the noise just bounces off the walls and ceiling.

I'd skip Nico and go half a block farther up Rush to Carmines for a more old-school Chicago Italian eatery. And it's on the part of Rush St. that they closed off to make room for outside seating, right next to Mariano Park (which is referred to by us locals as "Viagra Triangle"). Ask for a table in Danny's section if he's working.

Blue Door I've only had brunch there and it was really good. Can be hard to get a table, the garden seating is lovely if you can book a spot out there, but like I said that place is really popular now so can be hard to get a spot without an advance reservation.

Russian Tea Time and Berghoff are institutions and in my opinion are worthy of that status. Check the symphony schedule if wanting to go to Russian Tea Time as it is busy prior to curtain at the Symphony Center.

Le Colonial is to me just an inauthentic white people rendition of Vietnamese food. People love it but I just don't get it. The best Vietnamese is going to be in hole in the wall places in neighborhoods where Vietnamese people live. And cost about a fifth of the price of a meal at Le Colonial.
 

denmarks

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Sep 21, 2003
Messages
599
Location
Chico, CA
I will be staying in Chicago near Michigan and Wacker Drive next April. I am dying to go to a good Jewish deli. I have lived in Chicago and Los Angeles and there is nothing where I live now. Is Manny's the only place to go or is there a great deli closer to where I will be staying.
 

trainman74

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Apr 7, 2011
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Sherman Oaks, CA
In the Pilsen neighborhood southwest of the Loop, this is a pub specializing in British-style meat pies, which a friend of mine from college owns with her husband: Pleasant House Pub

It's a little over half a mile from the Halsted station on the Orange Line, or about three-quarters of a mile from the Cermak-Chinatown stop on the Red Line.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
288
I will be staying in Chicago near Michigan and Wacker Drive next April. I am dying to go to a good Jewish deli. I have lived in Chicago and Los Angeles and there is nothing where I live now. Is Manny's the only place to go or is there a great deli closer to where I will be staying.
Manny's is the only place. After that you have to go to Skokie.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Russian Tea Time Russian 77 East Adams St. Russian Tea Time Restaurant | United States
The Bereghoff German 17 West Adams St. The Berghoff | Historic German Restaurant | Downtown Chicago IL
Russian Tea Time and Berghoff are institutions and in my opinion are worthy of that status.
I've always enjoyed the Berghoff and it sounds like I need to try Russian Tea the next Time I'm in Chicago. How is the downtown Chicago scene these days? Back to normal, limited hours, ghost town? Are hotel prices still set to insane? 🤪

Any time I got a new girlfriend over the last 25 years or so, THAT is the place I took them to REALLY impress them. [...] Maybe the other places are as good or better, but Russian Tea Time ALWAYS impressed my new girlfriends and they always wanted a second date.
♫ I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won't Do That ♫
 

Deni

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Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
288
I've always enjoyed the Berghoff and it sounds like I need to try Russian Tea the next Time I'm in Chicago. How is the downtown Chicago scene these days? Back to normal, limited hours, ghost town? Are hotel prices still set to insane? 🤪
I can't say what's up with the hotel prices but the Loop is looking pretty normal these days, lots of people around, just about everything open except for places that have gone out of business.
 

Deni

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Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
288
Here's a map with all the Chicago area stations, pick a walkable station so you don't have to spend the layover in a park and ride lot.
View attachment 22522

Also, the PBS station has a great video tour for whole city via the L, at
As someone who bikes here daily I do take some issue with their bike scores and rankings of the stations. Clybourn on the UP-N and NW lines being listed as a biker's paradise is maybe the worst one. Except for being a few blocks from the Bloomingdale Trail (which will only help you if you are going straight west) the area around there is pretty treacherous for bikers. And the fact that Clybourn is an old decrepit station that is not accessible means that bikers using that stop are carrying their bikes on a fairly long and somewhat crumbly staircase.
 
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Exvalley

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Eataly is very affordable and has absolutely authentic Italian food. I’ve eaten at the Eataly in Rome and the food at the Chicago Eataly is about as good.
 
Joined
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Syracuse
We have a four-hour layover midday in Chicago early in November, then a six-hour layover on a Sunday late in the same month, this time encompassing the evening meal time. We love really well made food, American or especially ethnic. Where can we (ideally) walk to from the station for lunch and for dinner? Would walk up to a mile one way.
 

willem

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Aug 17, 2014
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in the depths
I enjoy the Greek Islands restaurant in Greektown. It has always been a good experience. The Parthenon was really good one time and really not so good another time, so I likely won't be back until Greek Islands lets me down.

In the opposite direction, the Berghoff and Miller's Pub have been good.
 

Rasputin

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Jan 17, 2019
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I enjoy the Greek Islands restaurant in Greektown. It has always been a good experience. The Parthenon was really good one time and really not so good another time, so I likely won't be back until Greek Islands lets me down.
When making connections in Chicago, we have gone to the Greek Islands restaurant for lunch or dinner many times between trains and have always been pleased. Food and service are great and the cost is reasonable. If making connections to the Eastbound Lake Shore, there is usually ample time for a nice dinner. It is about a 10 minute walk down Adams Street to the restaurant at Adams and Halstead (North or South Halstead, I can't recall.)

A bonus is that if Saint Patrick's Catholic Church (on the way) is open, you can stop by and visit that historic church. As I recall, it is the oldest Catholic Church in Chicago and survived the Chicago fire.
 
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