Train Trips for Chicago Families

Train Trips for Chicago Families -

I hate to admit it, but the old saying that “There are two seasons in Chicago, winter and construction,” is oh so true. And is there anything worse than being hot and sweaty while sitting in traffic? Well, maybe if there are crabby and overtired kids in the car. THAT would be worse. But fear not….I HAVE A SOLUTION! Get on board the train this summer with Metra for free (three free kids per one paid adult) and enjoy some of these train trips for Chicago Families!

Arlington Heights

I’m not going to lie, I love Arlington Heights (maybe that’s why I’m moving there soon). And one of my favorite things to do with my family on weekends is head to Arlington Park for their Family Sundays. There are petting zoos, bounce houses, and tons of fun in addition to the beautiful horses. The Union Pacific/Northwest Line will take you there.

Des Plaines

Take the Union Pacific/Northwest Line to downtown Des Plaines and truly take a trip back in time. Two of my favorite places to go with my kids (because I loved these places as a little girl, too!) are The Choo Choo Diner and Dad’s Slot Cars.



There is nowhere in Chicagoland more beautiful than the Chicago Botanic Garden in the summer. Make a day of it and head out to the garden using the Union Pacific North Line. It is almost a mile walk from the train station to the garden, so I highly recommend bringing a durable stroller, comfy shoes, and water. It is truly worth it. And while you are there don’t forget to check out their mini train exhibit and award winning greenhouses!


Glen Ellyn

Nestled out West of the city is the adorable town of Glen Ellyn. Take the Union Pacific/West Line for a day of fun…shop the independent toy shops and libraries and don’t forget to enjoy lunch (milkshakes are a must as well!) at Two Toots Grill.



Hop on the train and head North on the Milwaukee District/North Line to Glenview to enjoy a family fun day. Our favorites include the public library, ice cream, top notch parks, and enjoying lunch at The Glenview House. Or you can also check out what is happening at the Glen—there is always something fun going on!


Highland Park

Many of us know about Ravinia from our kid free days or nights out with the girls (or guys)…but did you know that Ravinia also has kids concerts in the summer? Yep, they do, and they are awesome! Make an entire day of it by taking the train to the Ravinia station on the Union Pacific/North Line and having a musical picnic in the beautiful park.



Take a ride on the BNSF Line to Naperville and take a very short walk across the street to explore at the DuPage Children’s Museum. And you can pack up all of your things in a locker and really focus on museum fun!


Where are your favorite places to take the train to? I would love to add your suggestions to my list!

And if you have a train lover on your hand, be sure to check out these train themed spots!

Enjoy riding the rails…and be safe!
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  1. Heather says

    Oh thank you – this will come in handy. I LOVE Chicago and always cab it everywhere. My husband was stationed about an hour north for boot camp and he keeps thinking that area is Chicago. I want to take him back and show him the REAL Chicago and the beautiful part of it. And haha – I always try to go in August. The weather is great and I can actually wear short sleeves LOL!

  2. Tess Kearns says

    This is awesome. I thought I’d share the the Botanic Gardens has offered shuttle service to and from the train in the past. I don’t know if they still do, but a walk there and around the gardens might welcome the shuttle back to the train.

  3. Dee says

    I have never been to Chicago and I thank you so much for this information because my friends and I were talking about taking a trip there the other day and knowing that we can have up to three kids ride for free is awesome and it will help us budget the trip. We will definitely have to check out NAPERVILLE and enjoy the Children’s Museum

  4. Bites for Foodies says

    I’ve been to Chicago a few times but never traveled in the surrounding area. My friend lives in the outskirts of Chicago. I should mention these places to her, although I’m assuming she’s already heard of them!

  5. Kristy @ Mommy Hates Cooking says

    Ugh, construction will bring out the worst in even the most kind-hearted person! LOL I’ve always wanted to hop on a train and experience sites and places I wouldn’t visit otherwise. Highland Park and Naperville sound like places my family would really enjoy!

  6. Amanda @ Adorkablii says

    I have never been to Chicago. I would love to go one day. I haven’t had the pleasure of traveling even though there are so many places in the world i’d like to see. I actually wan to plan a trip to NY with my son. It’s a quick train ride ad would be a lot of fun! One of these I will head to Chicago. I just have to visit!

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