The Bloomingdale Line is a 2.7-mile elevated railroad running east-west on the northwest side of Chicago. In 2015 the city of Chicago finished a project that connects 4 neighbourhood parks. Now fondly known as The 606. I have not always been Chicagos biggest fan. Favouring New York and Palm Springs but slowly with places like The 606 I am becoming more of a fan.
“The 606 runs along the Bloomingdale Trail (1800N) for 2.7 miles between Ashland (1600W) and Ridgeway (3750W). Walking, cycling or taking public transportation is encouraged. There are 12 access points, approximately every quarter-mile, with a total of 17 access ramps, all of which are accessible to people with disabilities.’
Finding The 606
Lets begin with finding the trail is not the easiest. This maybe partly due to my poor sense of direction or the fact that The 606 isnt well adveristed or mapped out. With an afternoon free in Chicago, I decided that I wanted to walk or cycle the route. The problem, I was in downtown Chicago. A quick look on the official website and a research into the trains meant that I decided to get a Uber as my hotel wasn’t that close to a train station. This was a good idea in thought rather than practice. I chose a location on Uber and hopped in to the next car.
Firstly – I thought I was going to get murdered by the driver as we left downtown and went on the I90. It was a good 5 miles away and a 15min drive. I wasn’t expecting it to be that far, unlike the highline in New York it was not in the city center. This is when you get a sense of how big Chicago really is.
Choose a location carefully – 1595 W Wabansia Ave, Chicago served me well. It is a residential street but only a few minute walk to an on ramp to the trail. Make sure to grab a map or pull up the 606 map. This will also show you some of the art work and where to spot fun things.
Is it worth it visiting The 606?
In conclusion yes, I spent a few hours outside of the sky scrapers in calmer environment, tree lined streets, cute coffee shops and people enjoying the day. Instead of walking the 606, I rented a Divvy Bike. The bikes are similar to the London ‘boris bikes’ and can be found all over Chicago. A bike sharing program, it is $3 per 30min or you can get a day pass for $15.
Remeber that The 606 is not in central Chicago and it will take a good few hours to vist including travel time but is a free attraction.