When it comes to trains, some kids cannot seem to get enough. There are plenty of train activities in Chicagoland, but why not take them on a real train adventure? The commuter Metra train line offers so many places to choose for family fun.
Also, you can take advantage Metra’s family deals! On weekdays, kids ages under 7 ride free and kids ages 7-11 save 50% on one-way fares. For weekends and select holidays, kids ages 11 and under ride free. These discounts apply to up to three kids for each fare-paying adult.
We’ve rounded up our favorite train ride stops on the Metra lines that you can make into a terrific train trip. For each stop, check out our recommended restaurants, shops and other fun places to check out with kids.
Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on safety precautions, vaccine requirements and any last-minute cancellations.
Milwaukee District North (MD-N)
Just hop off at the station and hit the ground running. Doughnut lovers flock to Joe Donut for its made-from-scratch doughnuts (snag them early before they run out!), other goodies and strong coffee. Craving ice cream? A stop at the family favorite Glenview Dairy Bar (open seasonally) is a must followed by Jackman Park to tire out the kids. Looking for quiet time? Hit up the Glenview Public Library.
Consider Northbrook your destination for a fun day out at the park. Hop off the train and make your way to the very fun Village Green Park. Slide, swing and run around until hunger hits. Little Louie’s is across the street offering kid favorites like burgers and hot dogs. End the day with a treat at Graeter’s Ice Cream.
Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW)
Stop: Crystal Lake
This stop at downtown Crystal Lake has plenty to keep you busy. Hang out and relax at the super cozy Aroma Coffee and Wine where they also serve lunch, a charcuterie board, and of course, wine. Check out the adorable independent toy store Marvin’s Toy Store, or make your own art at Color Me Mine. Don’t leave without grabbing popcorn from Pop’s Corn Crib for the trip back.
Woodstock is known for being the filming location for Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, so take a walking tour first. For chocolate fans, stop at Ethereal Confections where they have coffee with chocolate. Feel like you’ve stepped inside Alice in Wonderland at the tea house, Casting Whimsy. Other places to see are independent bookstore Read Between the Lynes and Woodstock Classic Cinemas to catch a family flick.
Union Pacific North (UP-N)
Stop: Kenosha, Wisconsin
This out-of-state adventure begins a few steps away from the stop at train restaurant, Choo Choo Charlie’s Shriner Diner. The free Dinosaur Discovery Museum is great and you can find even more museums by hopping on Kenosha’s electric streetcar. If the weather is in your favor, take time to walk along the lakefront to see art sculptures and lighthouses.
Milwaukee District West (MD-W)
Dine first at the train restaurant, 2 Toots Train Whistle & Grill, where trains deliver food to you. Walk down the street to hit up the shops at Banbury Fair where they have antiques, clothes for women and children, a candy shop and ice cream. Kids will enjoy bowling and arcading at Midway Landing Bowling Alley.
Stop: Downers Grove
Hit the lanes and challenge each other to a classic game or two at Tivoli Bowl. For restaurants, you can try Latin-style Caribbean eats at Caribbean Corner or afternoon tea at Pinecone Cottage Tea House. Kids will love shopping at My Special Toy Store or Fair Game . For sweets, grab ice cream at Every Day’s A Sundae or something for your pup at from Happy Dog Barkery.
Heritage Corridor (HC)
On 9th and State streets, you can take a stroll through the downtown area of Lockport to spot historic architecture and murals. The I&M Canal offers free access to the 11-mile Gaylord Donnelley Trail and Lincoln Landing, which shares how President Lincoln was connected to Lockport. For shops, spend time at Amazing Fantasy Books & Comics or Beanie’s Candy Store.
Metra Electric (ME)
Stop: 111th St. (Pullman)
Pullman Historic District provides a great learning day in the South Side. You can spend lots of time at Pullman National Monument with attractions and historical buildings all within walking distance. Down the street, grab a bite to eat at One Eleven Food Hall providing you with three dining experiences. Keep an eye out for family-friendly events offered at Pullman Arts.
Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram.