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Things at Union Station Chicago

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I have a layover in Chicago's Union station and am wanting to find some things that are cheap and close to the train station.
 

Donctor

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I have a layover in Chicago's Union station and am wanting to find some things that are cheap and close to the train station.
What do you mean by "things that are cheap"? Cheap food?

If you're looking for "cheap" Chicago-specific activities, it's unlikely that you'll find them near Union Station. West Loop (at least that part of it) tends to be expensive. You could walk the two blocks across the river to the Sears (or Willis) Tower, though there's not much else that's near, and certainly little that's "cheap" and interesting.
 

Exiled in Express

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Take the L and red line to Macy's on State ($2.25) wander to the back and downstairs to the cafeteria. Chicago dog combo is ~$6.

OR

If the schedule works, go for some bonus points on a trip to Glenview, ~$8 each way on Amtrak.
 

Donctor

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Take the L and red line to Macy's on State ($2.25) wander to the back and downstairs to the cafeteria. Chicago dog combo is ~$6.
OR

If the schedule works, go for some bonus points on a trip to Glenview, ~$8 each way on Amtrak.
Why would one take the 'L' and the Red Line, when neither is a good option? And come on, man, that's not a real Chicago hot dog.

To get to State Street, catch the #151 Sheridan bus, whose layover point is at Union Station (on Canal between Adams and Jackson). Any northbound #151 (as in, 'any #151 that doesn't terminate at Union Station') will take you to State. For Macy's, alight on Washington at State-Wabash or Wabash-Michigan.
 

railiner

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Take the L and red line to Macy's on State ($2.25) wander to the back and downstairs to the cafeteria. Chicago dog combo is ~$6.
OR

If the schedule works, go for some bonus points on a trip to Glenview, ~$8 each way on Amtrak.
Why would one take the 'L' and the Red Line, when neither is a good option? And come on, man, that's not a real Chicago hot dog.

To get to State Street, catch the #151 Sheridan bus, whose layover point is at Union Station (on Canal between Adams and Jackson). Any northbound #151 (as in, 'any #151 that doesn't terminate at Union Station') will take you to State. For Macy's, alight on Washington at State-Wabash or Wabash-Michigan.
Last time I was in Chicago, I believe the Macys's described was Marshall Fields. Seems that the original name should have been preserved for this landmark Chicago institution.

Like in NYC, Hilton Hotels bought, but never renamed the Waldorf-Astoria.
 

Donctor

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Last time I was in Chicago, I believe the Macys's described was Marshall Fields. Seems that the original name should have been preserved for this landmark Chicago institution.Like in NYC, Hilton Hotels bought, but never renamed the Waldorf-Astoria.
Yup. When Macy's bought Marshall Fields, the name (and overall quality of the store) changed.
 

zephyr17

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Take the L and red line to Macy's on State ($2.25) wander to the back and downstairs to the cafeteria. Chicago dog combo is ~$6.
OR

If the schedule works, go for some bonus points on a trip to Glenview, ~$8 each way on Amtrak.
Why would one take the 'L' and the Red Line, when neither is a good option? And come on, man, that's not a real Chicago hot dog.

To get to State Street, catch the #151 Sheridan bus, whose layover point is at Union Station (on Canal between Adams and Jackson). Any northbound #151 (as in, 'any #151 that doesn't terminate at Union Station') will take you to State. For Macy's, alight on Washington at State-Wabash or Wabash-Michigan.
Hey, there's a Gold Coast Dogs right in the station with a pretty darn good Chicago style dog.
 
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SharonLPK

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There have been a few threads about Chicago layovers, with good information.

I don't recall how close a stop would be to Union Station, but taking a water taxi ride is an inexpensive way to see alot of the architecture that helps define Chicago!
 

Bob Dylan

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Dont forget to walk around Union Station itself,(especially the Great Hall!) it's Free and a great people watching place! ;) Its also Free to hang out in the Metro Lounge, use the (spotty)WIFI or their one computer, as was mentioned the food court is upstairs, you can do train fanning around the station, just walking around downtown (if it's a nice day walk to the Lake), visit a few of the Landmarks or even take one of the Double decker Bus Tours that load right by the Sears (Willis) Tower a couple of blocks across the bridge from the Station! I found Gold Coast Hot Dogs not bad myself, if you Love Pizza of course Chicago deep dish is famous (Girodanos is two blocks away from CUS). All in all there's plenty to do, :) as others said you can even ride the EL all over if you have the time! Do some Goggling, it's not called the Second City for nothing,( a great City!) only NY has it beat in most folks opinions, but residents of the Windy City will never admit this! ;) :lol: Too bad their sports teams are such chronic losers! :lol:
 
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GaSteve

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Check out METRA schedules - maybe you can do an out-and-back somewhere. The other two METRA terminals are an easy walk from CUS.
 

City of Miami

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The former Marshall Fields is definitely worth a visit - they have exceptional rest rooms among other things. I walked from Union Station.

The public library, called Washington I think, is a walk away and is worth seeing, inside and out. Lots of free computers for your use.

The old public library is a walk down toward the lake from Union Station, down the same street the Sears Tower is on. It's on the north corner of that main north/south street that runs along Millenium Park. It is now some kind of civic art place but it is the building itself that is the attraction. Lots and lots of Tiffany stained glass all over the place including two gigagntic canopies over the old reading rooms. It's free to get in.
 
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BuzzKillington

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Forget spending money on buses or taxis... just walk a few blocks to The Tilted Kilt... It's no more expensive than Chili's or Applebees and you'll get all the entertainment you want. There's a big advertisement for it right in the station.
 

DaveKCMO

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admin needs to create a thread and make it sticky. this is handily the most repetitive topic on this board. there must be 100 different threads with everyone's advice.
 

Big Iron

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Dont forget to walk around Union Station itself,(especially the Great Hall!) it's Free and a great people watching place! ;) Its also Free to hang out in the Metro Lounge, use the (spotty)WIFI or their one computer, as was mentioned the food court is upstairs, you can do train fanning around the station, just walking around downtown (if it's a nice day walk to the Lake), visit a few of the Landmarks or even take one of the Double decker Bus Tours that load right by the Sears (Willis) Tower a couple of blocks across the bridge from the Station! I found Gold Coast Hot Dogs not bad myself, if you Love Pizza of course Chicago deep dish is famous (Girodanos is two blocks away from CUS). All in all there's plenty to do, :) as others said you can even ride the EL all over if you have the time! Do some Goggling, it's not called the Second City for nothing,( a great City!) only NY has it beat in most folks opinions, but residents of the Windy City will never admit this! ;) :lol: Too bad their sports teams are such chronic losers! :lol:
I'll double ditto Gold Coast Dogs. It was my first, and only, Chicago dog to date but it was most tasty. Chicago Art Institue is a short walk from CUS and also affords a free walk along Lake Michigan which should be beautiful in Spring
 
R

rosemary

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admin needs to create a thread and make it sticky. this is handily the most repetitive topic on this board. there must be 100 different threads with everyone's advice.
we will be taking a stroll around th French Market this trip, we have a couple of hours to spare when we take the sleeper to San Fran in september, it's also only a few blocks away, google it
 

OlympianHiawatha

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No trip to CUS is complete without a stop at Gold Coast. If you're not in a hot dog mood, then try their Italian Beef. It's good! And watching the commuters scurry about is worth the price of admission.
 

TVRM610

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I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for or how much time you will have but there is alot to do. The closest "attractions" are the Chicago River (walk out the door...) the Sears (Willis) Tower. While you have to pay to go up (worth it in my book) you do not have to pay to look up and gawk at the thing, you can also go inside of the main part of it and enjoy starbucks or Argo Tea (if you happen to like Tea, Argo Tea is a great Chicago chain of starbucks like tea shops). And like others have said the station itself has quite a bit to offer with the Great Hall and shops and such.

Now if you have any time at all and your a train buff... I would highly reccomend a trip on the "El" for its historic value, plus the great views of the city. The el is unlike any other system I've seen, and it is very much worth a ride! If your just riding the train, you can ride out to a transfer station and back for 1 price (transfer stations being any station that does not require you to exit the turnstiles to reach the Inbound Platform).

A walk to Millenium Park is also a great idea.. the cloud gate (the bean) is there plus some cool fountains and great views of the Lake!.

Hope you enjoy it.. Chicago is my favorite city.
 

Donctor

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Now if you have any time at all and your a train buff... I would highly reccomend a trip on the "El" for its historic value, plus the great views of the city. The el is unlike any other system I've seen, and it is very much worth a ride! If your just riding the train, you can ride out to a transfer station and back for 1 price (transfer stations being any station that does not require you to exit the turnstiles to reach the Inbound Platform).
Great idea. Boundaries:

Don't ride the Red Line north of Addison (unless you're going to Howard to transfer to the Purple or Yellow);

Don't ride the Red Line south of Cermak-Chinatown (unless you're going to 35th specifically to see Comiskey, or to 95th to get shot by GDs);

Don't ride the Green Line west of Clinton;

Don't ride the Green Line south of Roosevelt (unless you're looking for cocaine);

Don't ride the Pink Line west of Polk;

If you don't want to worry at all about safety or theft, ride the Brown or Orange Lines.
 

roomette

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How safe is the ride from ORD to Jackson on the Blue Line?
 
G

guest irritated Chicagoan

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Now if you have any time at all and your a train buff... I would highly reccomend a trip on the "El" for its historic value, plus the great views of the city. The el is unlike any other system I've seen, and it is very much worth a ride! If your just riding the train, you can ride out to a transfer station and back for 1 price (transfer stations being any station that does not require you to exit the turnstiles to reach the Inbound Platform).
Great idea. Boundaries:

Don't ride the Red Line north of Addison (unless you're going to Howard to transfer to the Purple or Yellow);

Don't ride the Red Line south of Cermak-Chinatown (unless you're going to 35th specifically to see Comiskey, or to 95th to get shot by GDs);

Don't ride the Green Line west of Clinton;

Don't ride the Green Line south of Roosevelt (unless you're looking for cocaine);

Don't ride the Pink Line west of Polk;

If you don't want to worry at all about safety or theft, ride the Brown or Orange Lines.
I'd be very interested to see any objective data to back up your warnings about riding the Red Line north of Addison or the Green Line west of Clinton, to Oak Park. In fact, I'd be interested to see statistics for any of the lines you talk about. Some of the neighborhoods that these lines run through are not middle-class and are rundown; there would be no reason for a tourist to go there in the first place. But the lines themselves are very safe. The CTA statistics (Chicago Transit Authority) show that.

Your generalizations are akin to someone warning against riding Amtrak north out of Penn Station because of the area through which the trains run. Good grief!
 
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I just wanted to thank everybody for the information that you have posted. I am not a big train buff but I bought my mother-in-law a ticket on the mega bus with a conection at Union Station on the train. She has about a six hour layover and is about 70 years old and don't really care to walk very much. This has been post has been helpfull keep the information comming.

Thank You
 

Donctor

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I'd be very interested to see any objective data to back up your warnings about riding the Red Line north of Addison or the Green Line west of Clinton, to Oak Park. In fact, I'd be interested to see statistics for any of the lines you talk about. Some of the neighborhoods that these lines run through are not middle-class and are rundown; there would be no reason for a tourist to go there in the first place. But the lines themselves are very safe. The CTA statistics (Chicago Transit Authority) show that.Your generalizations are akin to someone warning against riding Amtrak north out of Penn Station because of the area through which the trains run. Good grief!
I never said it was objective. I did, however, neglect to state the subjectivity outright. Here goes:

Based on the gang threats, muggings, vomiting, defecation, and physical altercations I have witnessed on the 'L', I suggest avoiding the aforementioned areas. Depending upon the duration of layover, one might not even have time to get far out of the loop without raising time concerns. Thus, this may well be a moot point.

Besides, some of what I said was clearly exaggerated, though in a manner I thought other Chicagoans might find humorous. My bad.
 
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Donctor

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Guess I'll take a cab from the airport.
Midway: Take the Orange Line (though make sure to check the CTA website in advance for weekend-long temporary slow zones).

O'Hare: The Blue Line is actually quite safe on the Milwaukee/O'Hare branch. If you have the patience (which, admittedly, I don't always), take the Blue Line.
 

roomette

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I want to take the Blue Line at least once for the views, if there really are any. I will only have one bag. Thanks!
 
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