Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-27-2013, 10:45 AM
andrewesque andrewesque is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 9
Best entrance to Union Station for Amtrak

I'm taking the first train out to Milwaukee tomorrow (the 6:10 Hiawatha service) and ordering a cab to get me there.

Where should I have them drop me off? I've been through Union Station several times, but I'm not a regular there and have gotten a little lost in the underground maze. I know there are several entrances and would love to know which intersection to direct the cabdriver to so I can minimize my wandering around the station by entering through the closest/most direct entrance to the Amtrak lounge/platforms.
Old 01-28-2013, 12:15 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
Chicago Savant
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,242
If you don't have a ticket, have him drop you at the canopy on northbound Canal. Inside at the bottom of the escalators you'll find the ticket machines (and counters).

Hiawatha trains depart from north gates, usually from 15, 17, or 19. If you already have a ticket, enter at Adams and Riverside Plaza and just go past McDonald's and down the stairs.
Old 01-29-2013, 12:06 AM
John Bredin John Bredin is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Des Plaines, IL (Chicago)
Posts: 1,893
I think the northbound/east side of Canal St. is your best bet regardless of whether you already have your "ticket" in hand.* The escalators, stairs, and elevators from the Canal St. lobby go directly down to track level. The entrance to the Amtrak waiting area is straight ahead from the bottom of the escalators/stairs -- turn left/north for the Hiawatha. The ticket machines are under the escalators/stairs and right across from the elevators, and the ticket agents are to your right as you come down.

The problems with the Adams St./riverside entrance are:
(1) you have to go down two levels to get to track level -- fine if you want to stop on the middle level to buy food or drink, but slightly delaying and possibly confusing, plus I'm not sure what concessions are even open at 6am.
(2) the Adams taxi dropoff is plagued with beggars who want to be "tipped" for pouncing on arriving taxis and holding the door.

Remember that Amtrak has a special rule for Chicago Union Station that tickets won't be sold for a particular train within 10 minutes of departure, though already-purchased tickets can be printed from the machines if you still do that kind of thing , and more importantly the gate closes 5 minutes before departure. I've seen gate agents give a little leeway in that, but not a full minute's worth and more by grace than right. In other words, begging may help, demanding probably won't, and arriving two minutes to departure time is as "good" as arriving after it's gone.

*Amtrak no longer requires actual tickets as it did until about a year or two ago. A printout of the pdf reservation, or even a smartphone display of the same, will suffice so long as the conductor can scan the code.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:45 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017