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#1 printman2000

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:16 PM

My family and I will be spending a week in Chicago this summer. It is easy enough to find "Things to do in Chicago" on the internet. However, I was also interested in things to do just outside Chicago that could be reached with Metra. Does anyone have any suggestions?

#2 John Bredin

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:27 PM

Brookfield Zoo, reached on the BNSF line out of Union Station. http://www.brookfiel...ding/index.html

 

Chicago Botanic Gardens, reached on the UP-North line (Braeside station) out of Ogilvie Station. http://www.chicagobotanic.org/

 

Arlington Park horse-racing track, reached on the UP-Northwest line out of Ogilvie. http://www.arlingtonpark.com/

 

Ravinia outdoor concert venue, reached on the UP-North. http://www.ravinia.org/

 

Minor-league baseball in:

*Joliet, at the end of the Rock Island line out of LaSalle St. Station. http://jolietslammers.com/

*Schaumburg, reached on the Milwaukee-West line out of Union Station. http://www.boomersbaseball.com/

 

All of these are right across from the station, except for the Zoo which is an easy walk away and the Botanic Gardens which are walkable but not as close as the Zoo is to its station. You'd be doing a lot of walking at the zoo and the gardens anyway. :^)  For something a bit more ambitious, there's:

 

Indiana Dunes state & national parks, reached on the NICTD (formerly South Shore) out of Millennium or VanBuren St. stations http://www.indianadunes.com/

 

If your family is into bicycling, there are plenty of suburban bike trails reachable by Metra. (Of course, in the city there's the spectacular Lakefront Trail http://www.choosechi...ront-Trail/454/ and some others.)  The (literally!) original rail-to-trail is the Illinois Prairie Path, which can be reached from several stations of the UP-West line out of Ogilvie.  http://www.ipp.org/

 

Of course, there are some nice suburban downtowns near Metra stations. Lots of interesting ones on the North Shore, reached on the UP-North line.



#3 SarahZ

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:03 PM

LEGO Land!

 

http://www.legolandd...er.com/chicago/


Edited by Sorcha, 17 January 2013 - 07:04 PM.

Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#4 printman2000

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:29 AM

Thanks for the suggestions!

#5 MrFSS

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

Its a shame you can't Metra (UP NW Line) to the Illinois Railway Museum.

 

You can get close, but not close enough not to have a car for the final leg.  But it is a great place to spend a number of hours if you have a car rental for a day.



#6 printman2000

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:12 AM

Its a shame you can't Metra (UP NW Line) to the Illinois Railway Museum.
 
You can get close, but not close enough not to have a car for the final leg.  But it is a great place to spend a number of hours if you have a car rental for a day.

Don't think for a second I have not been contemplating taking the blue line out to O'Hare, renting a car and going to the museum. May very well do it!

#7 benjibear

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 05:07 PM

Its a shame you can't Metra (UP NW Line) to the Illinois Railway Museum.

 

You can get close, but not close enough not to have a car for the final leg.  But it is a great place to spend a number of hours if you have a car rental for a day.

 

Bringing up an old topic.  I am thinking about renting a car and going here and am just wondering if it is worth going.  I will be arriving on the CL, was going to rent a car at Union Station, and spend the day here.  I think it is doable but was wondering what others thought and if it would be worth it.



#8 John Bredin

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 11:25 PM

Its a shame you can't Metra (UP NW Line) to the Illinois Railway Museum.

 

You can get close, but not close enough not to have a car for the final leg.  But it is a great place to spend a number of hours if you have a car rental for a day.

 

Bringing up an old topic.  I am thinking about renting a car and going here and am just wondering if it is worth going.  I will be arriving on the CL, was going to rent a car at Union Station, and spend the day here.  I think it is doable but was wondering what others thought and if it would be worth it.

Yes, definitely worth spending a day at IRM, and definitely can spend an entire day there! On a busy summer weekend, they can be running a trolley bus, two streetcars on the trolley loop, and three or four trains on the museum mainline. Add in walking through the car barns (10 of them, IIRC) and cars displayed outside, and lunch, and there's the day gone.  :P



#9 MikefromCrete

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:44 AM

Illinois Railway Museum is one of the top railway museums in the country and definitely one that likes to run its equipment. As mentioned above, on a weekend, there will be street car rides and plenty of operation on the main line, in addition to the static displays. I don't think there is any operating steam at this time, but plenty of electric and diesel trains. 

Definitely worth a day of your time. 



#10 trainman74

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 06:54 PM

Even if you really, really like children, you might not want to visit the IRM on a weekend when Thomas the Tank Engine is visiting. (I can tell you this from personal experience.) Looks like, in 2013, that's August 16-18 and August 24-25.

#11 GG-1

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:21 PM

Even if you really, really like children, you might not want to visit the IRM on a weekend when Thomas the Tank Engine is visiting. (I can tell you this from personal experience.) Looks like, in 2013, that's August 16-18 and August 24-25.

Aloha

 

As a Car Attendant on the Nevada Southern RR Museum I love it when Thomas visits. There is nothing like the sparkle in a child's eys when the get their first train ride behind Thomas. True it gets crowded but it is worth it! 


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#12 benjibear

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:45 AM

I have been to Strasburg during the Thomas event.  It is a mad house.  We were there with my nephew where we ended up cutting the line (we didn't know because to us it just seemed people were walking that way), then when the line stopped our nephew talked how he doesn't like Thomas and likes Diesel better because he is bad, and then as we were moving he said that he hopes Thomas burst into flames and Diesel comes to save the day.  We were glad to return him to his dad that day. 

 

 

Thanks for the advice.  I am planning on renting a car and heading up to there.  I wasn't sure at first because I am not into the western railroads but it sounds like a place I need to get to at least once in my life. 



#13 benjibear

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:59 AM

I want to thank everyone for the advice on the Illinois Railway Museum.  I did rent a car from Hertz which I was very disapointed with.  However, I did enjoy my time at the museum.  They had one trolley and a main line train running.  I just did not have enough time in the afternoon to ride the train.  They are working on getting steam running in the near future.  There is alot to see there.  It was not as "polished" as some other museums I have been too.  The reason I say that is the equipment is just stored in pole barns, with tight aisles, and dimmly lit.  However, they are a very active museum and it looks like they are doing as much as they can to keep stuff inside.  I was dispointed that the trolley buses were not operating. 



#14 MikefromCrete

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 09:20 AM

Unlike the California and Pennsylvania railroad museums, the Illinois Railway Museum receives no state funding and is entirely run by volunteers. So, it may be a bit rough in  spots, but it is one heck of an operation. By the way, I've been to the IRM many times and I've never seen the trolley buses in operation. 



#15 Acela150

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:10 PM

If you have the money and desire, I hear Rochelle, IL Railroad Park is a action packed place.


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#16 benjibear

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 10:53 PM

If you have the money and desire, I hear Rochelle, IL Railroad Park is a action packed place.

That looks interesting. 






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