Things to do on the CTA to avoid NATO crush this weekend

More than 20 CTA buses rerouted.

Street closures from the Near North to past McCormick Place on the south.

“Rolling” Chicago highway shutdowns for NATO dignitaries.

So stay away from all those areas this NATO “Global Crossroads” weekend. But it doesn’t mean you have to totally stay away from the CTA. In fact, if you DO want to get around town this weekend, CTA rail lines are the way to go. In fact, this may be the safest weekend to ride the lines with the beefed up police presence on all rail lines. Plus, there are no limits on what you bring on board, unlike on Metra trains.

So, what to do? CTA Tattler has some suggestions.

Ride the Yellow Line. The Yellow is the least-used rail line, so maybe you haven’t ridden it yet. And, it’s the line with the newest station. So take the Red Line north (or Purple Line south) to Howard and switch to the Yellow. Exit at Oakton and check out the newest stop. Then go to the terminus at Dempster and go east on Dempster to eat at Kaufman’s Bagel and Delicatessan.

Go Green. Speaking of new stops, the Green Line boasts the next new station to open shortly – the Morgan Street station. Though it’s not open yet, you can see the finishing touches being applied as you ride past. Pick up the Green Line on Lake or Wabash. And because of the visit from our NATO friends, there will be no Loop L track renewal work this weekend. While on the Green Line, continue west to Conservatory / Central Park and visit the Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s awesome! UPDATE: The Morgan Street station opened Friday, so get off there and check it out!

Pink is for new rail cars. The Pink Line is the newest CTA rail line. And it’s the home of the newest rail cars, the Series 5000 cars. Catch a Pink Line train as it circles the Loop. You might have to wait a bit to board a train with new cars. Maybe take a ride out to 18th Street and check out the diverse, arty Pilsen neighborhood. And actually, you can see the new Morgan Street station on the Pink Line too.

Bleed Cubbie blue on the Red. As if it’s not enough to have our NATO friends here, the Cubs and White Sox are playing the first round of the Crosstown Classic on the North Side. Take the Red Line to Addison and catch all the action. And there will be plenty of it outside Wrigley too if you don’t have tickets. Before you go you might want to read my “10 rules for tourists on how to use CTA Red Line to Cubs game.”

Wanna protest on Sunday? One of the biggest NATO protest rallies will be held Sunday starting at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park. you can take the Red, Blue, Brown, Green, Pink and Orange lines into the Loop, exit around Jackson Street and walk east on Jackson to the park.

Bus reroutes. Read my post earlier this week about bus reroutes. And check the CTA website for the latest info.

Stay home. Of course, you might just want to stay home this weekend. Like me.

Other ideas are welcome.



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  • According to the Pink Line alert, the Oakton Station won't be the newest station by the weekend.

    And probably at least 40% of the fans won't be bleeding Cubbie Blue. The question will be whether any of them will be nostalgic and bleed Ozzie bleep, or just wear #23 or #35.

  • Don't go to Kaufman's on Dempster, it's been closed for months.
    They had a fire & haven't even started to rebuild & it doesn't look like they ever will.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Oops. Thanks Scooter.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    In fact, there isn't much of anything left around that part of Dempster. You have to walk a couple of blocks west to Gross Point. Go to Taboun (says its Rogers Park location is closed), but only on Sunday, which has Kosher Moroccan food. I here that the two countries are getting along these days.

  • And on the way to Oakton, you can look out the window and realize how much more sense a Hartrey-Dodge station would make than an Asbury one.

  • In reply to urbanleftbehind:

    Don't urinate on the consultants' parade. ;-)

    Also, immediately west of that, you can look at the Pace North Shore facility, and see if there are any Orion Is outside ready to go to pasture. That's the only thing of interest to real bus foamers.

    Of course, a few blocks further west than that, you can look at the Skokie Shops and see if any cars are on the dead track.

  • Did anyone here board the first Green line train to stop at Morgan at 4:20am this morning? Yeah, me neither.

  • In reply to JohnT:

    That, in fact, was the significance of the 4:20 announcement.

    The real question is whether Gabe Klein, Adham, or even Claypool was there at that hour. I take it that da Mare was otherwise "occupied."

    So, no ribbon cutting ceremony?????

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    Garfield Conservatory is definitely work the trip, plus it's free, which many don't know.

    I'd suggest taking the Purple to Evanston for a great day weather-wise on Saturday walking around downtown. Many great restaurants, also a short walk from the beach if you want.

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