Things to do and see
Shopping in Oak Park
Stops: Oak Park, Harlem/Lake
Though technically outside Chicago city limits, Oak Park is a great part of the Green Line and a fun destination for any train rider. It’s a fairly affluent, historic suburb that is best explored on foot. The main drag on Lake Street is full of quaint shops and specialty boutiques, but be sure to take a stroll through the neighborhoods as well. Big, beautiful homes that are the furthest thing from cookie-cutter structures line every block. Frank Lloyd Wright brought his architectural eye to the area for a reason.
Chinatown and the South Loop
Stop: Cermak-McCormick Place
This Green Line stop is the rail’s newest, opening in 2015. It gives travelers invaluable walking access to the massive McCormick Place convention center, which you can take advantage of during the upcoming Chicago Auto Show. But it’s also in close proximity to all the best parts of the South Loop, including Chinatown attractions. You could spend a whole day exploring everything the area has to offer.
Stop: Cottage Grove
The southeast end of the Green Line stops in the popular Hyde Park neighborhood. It’s home to the world-famous University of Chicago campus as well as the Museum of Science and Industry. These sights, as well as knockout dining, shopping, and nightlife are all accessible from the Cottage Grove stop. Try Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap, Seven Ten Lanes, or 57th Street Books for neighborhood favorites.
Places to eat
The West Loop is riddled with fine-dining establishments, but in terms of variety and ambiance, Au Cheval stands out above the rest. Their specialty burgers garner the most critical attention, so definitely consider the cheeseburgers during your visit. But they also serve everything from a traditional English breakfast to honey-fried chicken and matzah ball soup. The rich interior full of dark wood and tufted leather booths is reminiscent of an upscale diner, so be prepared for a long menu and lots of mood lighting. Also, don’t miss their list of literary-themed cocktails, including the Boo Radley and the Hemingway Daiquiri.
Au Cheval, 800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 929 4580
Cork & Kerry at the Park
At the center of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) campus and the Chicago White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field is a welcoming location of the South Side’s famous Cork & Kerry. The original Irish pub is a mainstay on Western Avenue in Beverly, and the Sox park space is just as delicious. Get a taste of the city’s South Side by trying their Italian beef sandwich, Kerry Club or fish and chips.
Places to drink
Goose Island Brewery
You’ve seen Goose Island beer sold in almost every bar, supermarket, and liquor store in Chicago. But just minutes from the Green Line and the Loop, you can actually visit their brewery, warehouse, and tap room. Stop in for just a pint with friends or take an hour-long tour of the whole place. The availability of their beers rotates with the seasons, and you can check out a calendar of when to grab your favorite. But rest assured as they always have plenty to choose from, including the appropriately named Green Line Pale Ale.
Goose Island, 1800 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 800 466 7363
If you identify as any sort of cocktail aficionado, CH Distillery has to be one of your Chicago must-sees. It’s a distillery, cocktail bar, and small-plates dining venue all rolled into one beautiful, sophisticated package. Come on a Tuesday or Saturday evening when they offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the facilities given by the owner. And if you can’t decide on a drink from their lengthy portfolio, try out their ‘mood cocktail’ program, where you simply chat with a bartender, and they whip up a beverage for you based on your mood. If that’s too much for you, the Cease and Desist is a major house favorite.
CH Distillery, 564 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 707 8780