Lately it seems everyone on the El has their heads down, eyes
glued to their smart phones or tablets. Which means they're
completely missing our favorite thing about the ride: the great
views of the city. We took a trip around the loop and made a plan
for your family to enjoy a whole day on the CTA Orange Line.
Start at Harold Washington Library. The library has it's own
station so it's easy to jump on and off the orange line even during
Chicago's blustery days. Before heading inside, have your kids look
for the giant owl at the State Street side of the top of the
building. Once inside, head up to the 9th floor where you can read
your favorite books under the glass roof. The library also offers
plenty of kids programs that can be found online at chipublib.org/forkids.
Get back on the orange line and two stops later you'll pass
through Quincy/Wells. We love the feel of this station, especially
the vintage posters along the platform. Your family will feel like
they've traveled back in time.
Your next stop is State/Lake. Walk south on State and on the
right you'll pass the ABC7 studios. If you time your trip right,
you can watch a broadcast through the glass from the sidewalk.
Next, keep walking south and make a right onto Randolph where
you'll find our favorite Argo Tea. The outside looks like something
out of a storybook, and inside you'll find refreshments and snacks
for the whole family.
Before you get back on the train, walk north to Wacker. From
here, you'll be able to see the river and iconic Chicago buildings
like Trump Tower, Tribune Tower and Marina City Towers.
Walk one block east and hop back on the orange line at
Randolph/Wabash. As you travel south you'll be able to see Pritzker
Pavillion in Millennium Park from the train. You'll also pass the
new Roosevelt University campus. It's the new stand-out in the city
skyline but up-close you'll be able to see how they mixed new and
old construction to create a unique building.
Step off the train at Roosevelt and walk, or take a bus, over to
Museum Campus. Spend some time at the Field
Shedd Aquarium or Adler
Planetarium, or just hang out Northerly Island with a skyline
view. Make sure to check our guide to Chicago's museum free days
before planning your trip.