One of the benefits of living in northwest Indiana is easy access to Chicago, the third largest city in America! I grew up visiting this city at least once a year, and as I got older I learned how easy it was to grab a few friends, jump on the train and enjoy a fun day in the city.
The South Shore Line is a train that runs from the South Bend Airport to Millennium Station in downtown Chicago. It runs multiple times a day in each direction, but you can find the full schedule here.
You’ll notice during the weekdays there are more trains running during rush hour times westbound in the morning and eastbound in the evenings. Many people who live in Northwest Indiana actually work downtown, so don’t be surprised if the train is more crowded during those peak hours!
It’s easy to ride and you don’t have to book in advance. If you know your train time, show up 10 minutes before it departs and find a ticket booth. You’ll enter one-way or round-trip and then punch in the numbers of the station you’re starting and ending at.
Chesterton’s stop is named Dune Park, so I look on the board and see it’s number 15. If I want to go to Michigan Avenue in Chicago I choose the last stop, Millennium Station, and enter 01. The ticket prices are pro-rated based on how far you’re traveling so make sure you get your stations correct!
From Dune Park, it’s $9 each way. If you’re starting all the way at the South Bend Airport it’s $14.25 each way. You can find the full fare schedule on the official website.
Once you have your tickets, just sit back and relax! The conductors will walk through and hole punch your ticket stubs so don’t put them away.
While it takes a bit longer than driving, it’s well worth it. You don’t have to worry about driving in downtown traffic, and you don’t have to pay expensive parking garage fees and worry about staying for an allotted amount of time.
I’ve been traveling to Chicago this way for years and nothing beats it!