For the first time in its history, Metra will offer free rides for an entire weekend, Feb. 16-17, in an effort to boost weekend ridership and give its riders and area residents a pat on the back for coping with last week’s extreme cold.
“We survived the polar vortex – now let’s have some fun,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “There is a lot to do in Chicago and the suburbs and Metra can take you there. We’re hoping this weekend will convince people who have never ridden Metra or who haven’t ridden Metra in a while to become paid customers in the future.”
In addition to the free weekend on lines with weekend service, Metra will offer its popular Family Fares on Monday, Feb. 18, when many schools will be out for Presidents Day. Family Fares allow up to three children aged 11 and under to ride free with every adult. (Metra will operate its regular weekday schedule that Monday.)
There is always a lot happening on weekends in Chicago, even in winter. For instance, it’s the final weekend of the Chicago Auto Show – and Metra is offering new express service from Blue Island to McCormick Place this year. Rock Island Line riders can transfer to waiting trains on the Blue Island Branch of the Metra Electric Line that will whisk them directly to the automobile extravaganza. Others can park at the Blue Island Station and board the express trains – parking is free. For more information, click here.
Chicago’s world-class museums are also good destinations – the Field Museum is free for Illinois residents during February. Visit the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium. (Both those attractions are free for Illinois residents on Monday, Feb. 18.) Go for a skate at the Maggie Daley skating ribbon, explore the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park or spend a day at the Art Institute. Enjoy area theaters, shopping and restaurants.
There’s plenty to do in the suburbs, too. Metra can take you to Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, the Elmhurst Art Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park and the Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview, to name a few.