Amtrak and Via Rail
What to do between trains in Chicago
With one exception, all Amtrak passengers travelling
across the United States must change trains at Chicago Union Station. You may have a few hours there.
Instead of remaining in a crowded terminal, here a some hints to enjoy your time in Chicago.
Chicago Union Station stands adjacent to the "Loop", the main commercial and museum area, and within walking distance of the North Michigan Avenue upscale shopping area.
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Inexpensive dining near Union Station
In the "Loop",
a fine place to have lunch every day or an early evening meal on
weekdays is Seven on State, the upscale fast food restaurant of
the flagship Marshall Field Department Store at 111
North State Street, a short walk from Union Station. As its
name implies, Seven on State is on the seventh floor.
Here you can choose from a variety of cuisines,
and easily eat a satisfying and even healthy meal for under $10.
Do not let the term "fast food" keep you away. This is
good food—not gourmet—but certainly a step above the usual fast
food at a similar price. Portions are ample and service is quick.
Sightseeing in centre city Chicago
Gray Line offers tours of Chicago
for those with ample time. Or, during warm weather,
you can take a taxi to Oak Street Beach, north of the "Loop" business district, to enjoy a swim in Lake Michigan and relax on
a reasonably pleasant urban beach.
Feeling healthy and fit and have some time?
Walk to Oak Street Beach during the day as follows: From the North
side of Union Station (one of the Adams Street exits), turn right,
and walk eastbound some nine blocks on Adams Street to Michigan
Avenue through the heart of the city centre.
In front of you at the intersection of Adams
and Michigan are Grant Park and the Art
Institute of Chicago, one of the most important art venues and
schools in the United States. The Art Institute frequently has major
From just south of here, on the ground floor
of the Santa Fe building on Michigan Avenue between Adams and Jackson,
the Chicago Architecture Foundation sells wonderful group walking,
coach, bicycle, and even boat tours of Chicago. Check its outstanding
site for tour details or stop by its information desk in the
Santa Fe building. Dr. Voyageur highly recommends these tours. The
walking tours usually start at the Santa Fe Building, and are fascinating
even if you have no architectural background. The coach tours often
feature the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, who was based in Chicago
for many years.
If walking on your own, turn left, and walk
northbound on Michigan Avenue, the premier business street of Chicago.
You will pass the Wrigley (gum) Building, the Tribune (media company)
Tower, Water Tower Place, and other well-known sights.
After some 21 mostly short but interesting blocks
(Remember, Dr. Voyageur told you that this was a walk for the fit!),
you reach Oak Street, where Michigan Avenue ends at the lake. Access
this nice beach through the park and enjoy the views of the skyline
and lakeshore. Lake temperatures in mid-summer are just right for
Just south of here, along the lake, is the Northwestern
University Chicago campus, which houses its medical school. The
apartment buildings in this area are amongst the most desirable
places to live in Chicago.
Take a taxi back. You deserve it. If feeling
undeserving or under financed, walk westward several blocks to State
Street and then south (left) to the Chicago Transit Authority metro
stop at Chicago Street. Take any Red Line train marked "Dan
Ryan" southbound to Jackson Street. Then walk westbound on
Jackson to Union Station at Canal Street. Walk north on Canal to
use the impressive eastern entrance to Union Station in order to
enter its grand waiting room.
Note: Greyhound connecting passengers can access
the above walking tour by exiting the Greyhound Terminal on its
Canal Street side, turning left, and walking north three blocks
to Adams Street (Union Station). Turn right on Adams to Michigan
Avenue. Do not walk between the Greyhound Station and Union Station
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