Jump to content




Help Support AmtrakTrains.com by donating using the link above or becoming a Supporting Member.

Photo

Outside Chicago


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 printman2000

printman2000

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,696 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Amarillo, Texas

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

John Bredin

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 602 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:suburban Chicago (Des Plaines)

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

SarahZ

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,056 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Interests:Reading, writing, baking, local history, urban exploration, music, dancing, and looking for new adventures

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

printman2000

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,696 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Amarillo, Texas

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:29 AM

Thanks for the suggestions!

#5 MrFSS

MrFSS

    Engineer

  • Honored Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,777 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Central Kentucky

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

printman2000

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,696 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Amarillo, Texas

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

benjibear

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,077 posts
  • Gender:Male

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

John Bredin

    Conductor

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 602 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:suburban Chicago (Des Plaines)

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

MikefromCrete

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,182 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Crete, IL

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

trainman74

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,248 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sherman Oaks, CA

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

GG-1

    Engineer

  • Honored Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,113 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Vegas, NV
  • Interests:PRR GG1 and riding the rails to "see the USA in your Chev".....Train

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! 


GG-1, Aloha, Mahalo = Thanks
http://gg-1.smugmug.com/'>Picture Galleries

Posted Image


#12 benjibear

benjibear

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,077 posts
  • Gender:Male

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

benjibear

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,077 posts
  • Gender:Male

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

MikefromCrete

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,182 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Crete, IL

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

Acela150

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,991 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NS Harrisburg Division

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.


These posts are my views and opinions.

Donate your spare time! Be a Volunteer Firefighter!
 
"Mainline 66W Recrew On Board at Abrams ready to head east when you can handle us, Ok 66W, ok on signal indication at Norris, take it to the Falls to wait for the window"

#16 benjibear

benjibear

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,077 posts
  • Gender:Male

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. 



#17 dogbert617

dogbert617

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 197 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago, IL

Posted 28 May 2017 - 03:47 AM

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.

 

If you don't mind that only a VERY limited number of trains go north of Waukegan on the Union Pacific North Metra line(even on weekends too, sadly), Kenosha is a very fun place to travel to! I'd recommend going on a Saturday when you can get a weekend pass, explore one or more(your call if you only do 1, or more) of the 'north shore' downtowns south of there, then head north to Kenosha. There are a lot of good restaurants and bars up there, it has the free Kenosha Public Musuem(basically their local natural history museum a la The Field Museum in Chicago, plus also a civil war museum and a kids museum), you can ride on a restored streetcar loop through the downtown(which runs till something like 6:15-6:30pm), it has a farmer's market if you go early up there(HarborMarket), and of course the lakefront is really nice to see(i.e. Simmons Island beach, the lakefront park on both sides of the harbor). Don't forget that the downtown branch of Kenosha's library was designed by Daniel Burnham(of Rookery Building, Chicago Union Station, and Flatiron Building in NYC fame. and dozens more buildings at https://en.wikipedia.../Daniel_Burnham). Across the street too(and in nearby blocks) is a nice historic neighborhood of single family homes, which even includes the home Orson Welles(yep, that one of Citizen Kane movie fame) was born in. This blue, white, and red brick home is it, on 7th Avenue just south of the block the library and park are on: https://goo.gl/maps/xA7uPBtBNmx

 

Anyway, the Metra Union Pacific North schedule. Where you can how MUCH fewer trains run to Kenosha vs. those that begin/terminate in Waukegan, but it's still very fun to visit on an $8 weekend pass: https://metrarail.co..._tt_proof_1.pdf

 

I also would've thrown downtown Geneva in(Union Pacific West line), as an interesting place to visit. You can railfan in nearby West Chicago(also having a UP-West stop, and remember all you need is an $8 weekend pass), at this railroad junction you can walk to from the West Chicago Metra station. Here's a google street view preview of what I mean: https://goo.gl/maps/xQzABvyoXPB2

 

Also a shame Blue Island, IL wasn't mentioned. It has a pretty historic downtown, and is just south of Chicago(and the Beverly neighborhood) on the Rock Island Metra line. Has a lot of interesting restaurants and bars on both sides of the Cal Sag Channel. More just to the south of that bridge, but there are a few to the north(the side of the Metra station) as well. Also has a few antiques stores and vintage shops, too. If you walk over south of the Cal Sag Channel and a few blocks west on Broadway Street, you'll run into an AMAZING place for railfanning(another google street view preview): https://goo.gl/maps/G9twmyZafeT2

 

Speaking of places south of Chicago, Flossmoor, IL has a nice downtown, complete with also an interesting restaurant and beer brewery right next to that station(Flossmoor Station). Ditto with Homewood, on that line. Also, it should be mentioned for the South Shore Line, that Beverly Shores and downtown Michigan City(11th Street, it's the first Michigan City stop of the 2 when you go east from Chicago) are nice day trips to do. Be cautioned that Beverly Shores is a flag stop, and you just press the signal button on the east end of the platform 5-10 minutes before the westbound train time for the arriving train to stop. And of course when you're heading east towards that station, ask the train conductor/employee taking your ticket which cars of the train will open at Beverly Shores, since not all train doors open. Michigan City has a nice little downtown, bunches of restaurants/bars you can eat or drink at, Washington Park and Beach, and even an outlet mall. There's even a casino(Blue Chip) that has a shuttle from the MC 11th Street station, as well. And don't forget(for railfans), the VERY last section(since East Chicago and South Bend got rid of their street running sections decades ago) of the South Shore Line that has street running! Amtrak runs through the downtown as well(most blow right through MC, but a handful of the Michigan trains stop here), so you might catch a train or 2 going through Mich City.

 

 

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

I've been there once, and liked it. Definitely do need a car to get out there though, or be up for doing a bike reservation on Amtrak to Mendota, IL, then biking north and back(2.5 hours each way) to Rochelle.

 

 

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. 

I need to revisit IRM, someday. Too bad they don't have a complimentary shuttle service from the Crystal Lake Metra station, since that'd for sure probably boost their attendance(at least from those who don't own cars) a little bit.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users