Spend a day in Chicago's Loop


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.


Harold Washington Library Center

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.


Free days for Chicago museums

Step off the train at Roosevelt and walk, or take a bus, over to Museum Campus. Spend some time at the Field Museum, 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.


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