Another one of those "I will be in Union Station" posts...
O.K. so, I will be in Union Station for 4 hours next Friday on a lay-over heading for Omaha. I want a Chicago style dog and want to go touch Wrigley. How/ where to accomplish my goals?!?
To get to Wrigley, allow 20 minutes by cab each way in non-rush hours, 40 in rush hours, and 60 minutes by public transportation (walk east to Jackson and State and take the CTA Red Line subway north to Addison). That's a lot of time to spend to get to and from a building that isn't in use this time of year, but it's your time, you can do it if you want. If you do, you can get Chicago-style hot dogs at Wrigleyville Dogs. Oh, and if you get there by el, make sure you buy a CTA fare card, so you can take advantage of the CTA transfer policy; when paying with a fare card, 25 cents extra is deducted for a transfer, and gives you a second and third ride within two hours of your first one, so you can use that to ride back, $2.50 for the round trip if you head back downtown within two hours of the start of your first ride. (That's cheaper than two one-way fares.) More transit info at www.transitchicago.com
If you want to grab food, your best bet is to walk four blocks north to the French Market, which is inside another commuter train station, the Ogilvie Transportation Center. You can walk there from Union Station on Clinton or Canal Street in under ten minutes. The French Market is relatively new and has some of our best eating finds. I especially recommend Vanille Patisserie (one of our best shops for pastry and baked goods), Delightful Pastries (for their almond-based rainbow cookies), Canady le Chocolatier (a local artisanal chocolatier), and Pastoral (for sandwiches and cheeses). The French Market has a website with directions and a full listing of vendors at www.frenchmarketchicago.com You'll need those directions because the French Market is not inside the main concourse of the Ogilvie Center you first come to (on Madison south of the tracks) but is a block north of there. It's easier to find by staying outside and walking the extra block north on Canal or Clinton past Washington Street and you'll find an entrance to the concourse where the French Market is located.
Another place for Chicago-style hot dogs is Gold Coast Dogs, which has a location in the food court at Union Station. Other places worth going for food would include some place for deep-dish pizza (Pizano's on Madison is not far from where you catch the el at Jackson and State), and Garrett's Popcorn for a snack, several Loop locations. To avoid having to wait 30-45 minutes for your Pizano's deep-dish to bake, phone ahead with your pizza order.
Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
61 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60603
3735 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613
131 North Clinton, Chicago, IL 60661
Good suggestions but there is no way it will take 60 minutes using the El to get to Wrigley. I took Addison to the Loop for work for a couple months and it took 20 minutes or so depending on the time of day (trains run slower during rush hour). It should only take you 30 minutes including walking time to get up there - and honestly could be faster than driving depending on traffic.
If you get up to Wrigley and have time to kill (which you should have plenty with a 4 hour layover), I'd hop right back on the Red line to the Loop and get off the Grand stop and walk the 3 blocks or so to Portillo's. Portillo's is very well known for hot dog's and their italian beef sandwich and you will not be disappointed. Lines can be long at lunch but if you're in off peak hours it's very fast.
>> Good suggestions but there is no way it will take 60 minutes using the El to get to Wrigley.
Maybe not, but be serious - there's absolutely no way the OP can do it from the train platform at Union Station to Wrigley in 20 minutes door to door - not even 30. It will take 15 minutes to walk from the train platform through the concourse and across the Loop to the el stop at Jackson and State (you can take a bus, but it probably won't be any faster), plus 5 minutes to buy a farecard (which us locals already have), plus up to 10 minutes wait for the train (remember, they don't run as frequently in non-rush hours), plus 20 minutes for the train ride itself from Jackson to Addison. So the grand total is likely to be as much as 50 minutes (or as little as 40 if you're lucky and just catch the el), and that assumes the OP doesn't get lost or start walking in the wrong direction at some point.
If it's during rush hour they could take the purple line. Probably a bit slower than the red honestly, but it's above ground and the views in the loop and crossing over the river etc., on the elevated tracks is super cool. Could take a cab from Union Station to Merchandise Mart too, that would cut a lot out of the trip time going through/around the loop. Same could be said for the red line.
>> If it's during rush hour they could take the purple line. Probably a bit slower than the red honestly, but it's above ground and the views in the loop and crossing over the river etc., on the elevated tracks is super cool.
If you want to do that, the Brown Line runs the same route with the same view all day long (including non-rush hours); it just runs the opposite direction around the Loop (counterclockwise on the outer track, vs clockwise on the inner track for the Purple Line).
With either train (Brown or Purple), you would need to get off the train at Belmont, then wait on that same platform for a northbound Red Line train to take one stop to Addison and Wrigley. Because you're catching the train on the platform and not going through the turnstiles again, that does not count as an extra "ride" towards the total of three you're allowed with a transfer.