Before I joined MPC in 2004, I worked full-time as a journalist. As a j-school student, one of my class projects was to write about every stop on the Red Line. Each of us chose a stop and found a nearby story to share with our fellow students. That experience stayed with me: On the rare weekend when my husband and I don't have plans, we like to ride the El or bus to a new neighborhood. We've even taken the South Shore to Michigan City, Ind., and the Metra to Geneva.
That's why I love this new interactive Train Stop Guide from the blog Carfree Chicago. The guide allows you to rate your favorite train stop. What's the best stop to get off at for shopping? Where do hop off for your favorite restaurants or to enjoy a day at the beach or park? What's the best stop to live near?
The guide includes CTA, Metra and South Shore Line stations. You can use it to find new adventures, and (kind of like FourSquare) leave your own ratings and comments behind to let others know what they can look forward to when they leave the station.
Here's another idea: Maybe one of these places is home to an awesome, undiscovered place in Chicagoland. If so, snap a photo or shoot a video and submit it in the What Makes Your Place Great? contest. MPC and Chicago Architecture Foundation are hosting the contest to find the best undiscovered places in Chicagoland, including northwest Indiana, northeastern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin. Nominations are being accepted via firstname.lastname@example.org through July 26, so ride the rails over the Fourth of July weekend and get those submissions in to MPC!