Chicago transit help needed
July 14, 2014 10:34 AM   Subscribe

Chicagolanders: Please help me navigate your fair city during rush hour today.

I land at Chicago Midway at 4:15 and need to be on a train to Milwaukee at 8:05 (from Union Station). My research leads me to believe that there is no great food in the immediate vicinity of Union Station, so I'd like to head to Greektown to get dinner before the train. So. How do I get from Midway to Greektown to Union Station, minimizing cost and schlepping a suitcase, a carry-on, and a purse?

I'm guessing I should take the El downtown and then cab it to Greektown. Does that sound good? What station should I get off at, to maximize my chances of getting a cab at 5:15 or so?

What street is best to hail a cab to get back to Union Station from Greektown?

Thanks in advance!
posted by donajo to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (15 answers total)
there's plenty of great food within a walkable distance from union station, no need to get in a cab:

Publican Quality Meats

Belly Q

Grange Hall Burger Bar

just off the top of my head
posted by Oktober at 10:42 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Union station does have some food places inside of it. Greek town is yummy. I'd reccomend yelping some places to choose where you want to eat. Then I would do for directions. It will plan your route for you and let you know the times. As you are not from here I'd add 30 minutes for any misshaps. Buy two rides worth of fare cards at midway because your transfers will run out while you eat your food unless you take it to go and eat it at Union station. Downtown has a lot of places to eat right off the train if you find Greek town unmanagable.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:42 AM on July 14, 2014

Call me crazy, but I'd just walk from the Orange Line.
posted by hoyland at 10:51 AM on July 14, 2014

To reiterate, walking more than a few blocks is untenable due to the luggage. If I just had a purse, I'd walk for sure.
posted by donajo at 11:02 AM on July 14, 2014

Orange Line to Greek is a long walk if you have luggage, probably between a half and three quarters mile. I wouldn't recommend taking a bus or cab west from anywhere in the Loop because it will take forreeevver.

You can take the Orange Line to Halsted and then the 8 bus north for two miles to deposit you squarely in Greek town. That leaves you to the whims of traffic/bus time, but it's direct.

Returning to Union Station is a short, easy cab east on Jackson and at ~7pm you shouldn't have any trouble getting one.

While there's plenty great to eat around Union Station, I'm not going to talk you out of Greek food. Hit up Pan Hellenic Pastries if you have time, and pour out some baklava for your homegirl.
posted by phunniemee at 11:07 AM on July 14, 2014

The storage lockers in union station are relatively spacious, fyi:

I've had no trouble fitting a full duffle and a backpack in there in the past.
posted by Oktober at 11:07 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you sure you can't eat at Midway? There's a Frontera in the O'Hare food court which despite appearances is actually pretty good. Also, what Oktober said.
posted by deathpanels at 11:13 AM on July 14, 2014

Just went to Chicago this weekend, and actually grabbed some pretty good food a few blocks north of Union Station at the French Market - lots of stalls with food from a lot of local places, which makes it easy to try different things. If I had to do what you're doing, I might go from Midway -> Union Station, leave bags in a locker there, and walk up to French Market unencumbered & eat (or, if you have more time, grab a train and hit whatever neighborhood you're interested in).
posted by sluggo at 11:22 AM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Saigon Sisters stand at the French Market has killer banh mi and homemade sriracha!

Publican Quality Meats is incredible - tasty sandwiches and incredibly cookies/cupcakes/etc, which seems unlikely until you realize that a restauranteur at Paul Kahan's level isn't going to hire a pastry chef who doesn't kill it, not even for his butcher shop.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:30 AM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding the French Market. The food is great, great selection, it's definitely walkable from Union Station and they have rainbow cookies there.
posted by bleep at 11:31 AM on July 14, 2014

Greektown is literally like five blocks from Union Station. Is that too far for you to walk? Do you know specifically what restaurant you want to go to or did you just plan to walk around? If I were you, I would go to Union Station first and see if I can store stuff at the lockers. Also, if you can't it will be easy to catch a cab from Union Station.

Midway to Union Station - This will take about a 40 minutes.
Take Orange Line and get off at Quincy and Wells and walk three and a half to four blocks to Union Station. There are always a crap load of caps downtown so you can catch a cab on Wells or Quincy and take a cab to Union Station.

Midway to Greektown - this will take about an hour.
Take Orange Line, get off at Halsted. Catch Halsted bus. Get off at Jackson. Congrats you are in Greektown

Union Station to Greektown
Walking - go to Adams and Canal. Walk five blocks to Halsted. Congrats you are in Greektown - will talk around 10 minutes.
Bus - go to Adams and Canal. Catch 126. take it to Van Buren and Halsted. Walk to Jackson. Congrats you are in Greektown. This will take like 20 minutes in rush hour traffic.

Greektown to Union Station
Find Jackson or Adams. Walk on either street for five blocks until you hit Union Station. You can also catch a bus on Jackson. There should be cabs around on Jackson as well. Adams goes in the opposite direction from Union Station. If it's around 7 or later trip will be maybe 10 minutes.
posted by nooneyouknow at 12:14 PM on July 14, 2014

I'm not personally a huge fan of the French Market, but it would be really easy to get to. You can just stay on the Orange Line until you get into the loop (Library State/VanBuren), then transfer to the Pink Line. Then get off at Clinton, and you'll only have to go a block and a half south to get to the French Market. After you've eaten and the traffic has cleared, you can either cab or schlep down to Union Station. (Alternately, Saigon Sisters also has a restaurant a half a block west of the Clinton station).
posted by gueneverey at 12:15 PM on July 14, 2014

Also, if you're not totally short on cash, I would do cabs for everything. It shouldn't be more than $50, and there will be no risk of getting lost and missing your train.
posted by bleep at 12:17 PM on July 14, 2014

Personally, I'd pick Washington/Wells on the Orange Line over Quincy with luggage since you'll have an escalator or elevator to use. Walk half a block south (in the direction cars travel on Wells (which is the street under the L tracks)) and flag your cab on Madison. It's a one-way in the direction you want to go.
posted by hwyengr at 1:34 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Baklava achieved. Thanks, everyone.
posted by donajo at 5:10 PM on July 14, 2014 [6 favorites]

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