All Aboard the BNSF Metra Line! Kid-Friendly Train Trips to Historic Downtowns and New Destinations

Outdoor Places to Go

The western suburbs are home to charming downtown districts with delicious ice cream shops, beautiful parks, and adorable shops. What could make these outings even more exciting? Hop on the BNSF Metra line! The excitement of watching your train arrive, sitting on the upper level, and exploring a new town adds such a sense of adventure to your trip. Read up on the options, then scroll to the bottom of the article for a map.

Metra offers a variety of ticket options, including weekend and day passes, as well as ride-all-day promotions. Family Fares, which run every day until Labor Day, and then only on weekends after that, allow for up to three children (ages 11 and under) to ride free with a paying adult. Find travel schedules and buy tickets through the Ventra app. Also, make sure to check the business hours of the places you’d like to visit, as some of these local shops have days they’re closed or early hours.

This article is sponsored by the DuPage Children’s Museum.

A Day of Play is A Train Ride Away!

Kids love trains — and DuPage Children’s Museum (DCM)! The Naperville Train Station is just steps away from the Museum’s front door. While being able to watch the trains from DCM’s parking lot is like a beloved bonus exhibit, actually riding the train to DCM is even better. Take the BNSF Metra to a day of play and create memories to last a lifetime. Once you arrive, there’s so much to do together! Make a splash in AWEsome Water, build with real tools in the Construction House, explore the forces of gravity in Make it Move, and let imagination soar in Creativity Connections. For the youngest guests, 2 years and under, DCM has special Young Explorers spaces where they can exercise mind and body. There’s no need to pack a lunch, Bean Sprouts Café is open on the Museum’s lower level. Plan an unforgettable day full of fun, play, trains, and family —

DuPage Children’s Museum
301 N Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 637-8000
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Kid-Friendly Stops on the BNSF Line

Remember that if the ticket booth at the station where you boarded is open, you will have to pay a $5 fee to buy your ticket on the train. If it’s closed (as they often are on weekends), then you can buy your ticket on the train with no fee. You can also purchase tickets on the Ventra app, which is the easiest option. See more information about buying Metra tickets.

Changes to favorite downtown destinations include the closures of Lunges ‘n Lattes in Berwyn, Glazed Expressions in Downers Grove, and Sips & Sweets Cafe in Riverside.


To keep the train theme going, you can’t beat Aurora’s Two Brothers Roundhouse, which is located inside a historic roundhouse that was once actually used for trains on the BNSF line.

Aurora Regional Fire Museum
53 N. Broadway
Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 256-4140

Two Brothers Roundhouse
205 N Broadway
Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 393-2337

Charlie’s Silver Spoon Creamery
6 E. Downer PIace
Aurora, IL 60505
(630) 340-4074


The DuPage Children’s Museum is right next to the train station — in fact, it shares a lot with commuter parking. That makes it an easy trip without too much extra walking!

If you’re willing to go a bit further, it’s about a 15-minute walk from the train station to Naperville’s downtown. There’s so much to do there that you can easily make a day of it, but definitely plan for a longer outing.

DuPage Children’s Museum
301 N. Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 637-8000

Anderson’s Toyshop
111 W Jefferson Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 355-2665

Cookie Dough Creations
22 Chicago Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 369-4833

Naper Settlement
523 S. Webster Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 420-6010

Paddleboat Quarry
441 Aurora Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 864-3939

Pottery Bayou
210 S. Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 718-9823


Making bowling at Lisle Lanes or a trip to Dragonfly Landing playground and splash pad the centerpiece of your trip. Then, fuel up for the trip home with Italian sandwiches and sweet from Caffe di Moda or a handcrafted churro from Lola’s.

Lisle Lanes
4920 Lincoln Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 968-1300

Caffe di Moda
1012 Burlington Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 541-5375

Lola’s Handcrafted Churros
4714 Main Street
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 541-8061

Prairie Walk Pond and Dragonfly Landing
Garfield Ave and Route 53
Lisle, IL 60532

Downers Grove Main Street

Downers Grove’s downtown is bustling, and the train lets you off right in the middle of all the action. A movie at the Tivoli or round of bowling at Tivoli Bowl both make for fun outings, or you can go shopping with options like Fair Game and My Special Toy Store nearby. Quite a few restaurants have sprung up downtown in recent years, but Every Day’s a Sundae remains the favorite for an ice cream treat on a hot day.

Classic Cinemas Tivoli Theater
5021 Highland Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 968-0360

Tivoli Bowl
938 Warren Avenue, Suite B
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 969-0660

Every Day’s A Sundae
990 Warren Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 810-9155

Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 960-1200

My Special Toy Store
5137 Main Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 324-6344

Fair Game
1015 Curtiss Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 963-0640


The star of this trip is the big Veterans Memorial Park, which has two playgrounds to appeal to different ages. Complement your trip with muffins from Brewed Awakening.

Brewed Awakening
19 W Quincy Street
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 852-2233

Veterans Memorial Park
55 E Richmond Street
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 963-5252

Clarendon Hills

Clarendon Hills is a smaller downtown, which plays to our advantage here. Every stop on this list is pretty much on the same block, which is right next to the train station! This is a great choice if you don’t want to do a ton of walking.

The Daily Scoop Ice Cream and Sweet Shop
9 South Prospect Avenue
Clarendon Hills, IL 60514
(630) 655-4115

I Want Candy!
27 S Prospect Avenue
Clarendon Hills, IL 60514
(630) 819-5168

Learning Express Toys
19 S. Prospect Avenue
Clarendon Hills, IL 60521
(630) 590-5495

Little Creperie
102 S. Prospect Avenue
Clarendon Hills, IL 60514
(630) 325-2231

Brama La Pizza
34 S. Prospect Avenue
Clarendon Hills, IL 60514
(630) 320-2222


Hinsdale is another cute little downtown to explore. Burlington Park right by the station doesn’t have a playground, but it does have a lovely fountain to sit by and grassy space to throw a Frisbee or play catch.

Burlington Park
30 E. Chicago Avenue
Hinsdale, IL 6052

Hinsdale History Museum
15 S Clay Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521
(630) 789-2600

Hinsdale Public Library
20 E Maple Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521
(630) 986-1976

Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery
13 W 1st Street
Hinsdale, IL 60521
(630) 908-7175

Western Springs

Pair a sweet treat from one of Western Spring’s bakeries with shopping or a trip to the Spring Rock Park, which was recently voted one of the best playgrounds in the western suburbs. If your trip falls on a Saturday morning, you can also check out the historic water tower museum and Casey’s Market offers discounted sandwiches on Thursdays if you want to have a picnic to watch the trains from the Village Green where the Water Tower sits.

BB’s Baby Donuts
4472 Lawn Avenue
Western Springs, IL 60558
(708) 246-1212

Initially Ewe
1058 Hillgrove Avenue
Western Springs, IL 60558
(708) 246-7777
Toys, games and gifts.

Kirschbaum’s Bakery
825 Burlington Avenue
Western Springs, IL 60558
(708) 246-2894

Spring Rock Park
4400 Central Avenue
Western Springs, IL 60558

Western Springs Water Tower Museum
914 Hillgrove Avenue
Western Springs, IL 60558
(708) 246-9230
Open Saturdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm

La Grange Road

La Grange Road is a bustling stop on the BNSF, with options for art, movies, play, shopping, and more. We’ve included a couple of our favorites for treats, but this is a great destination for dining, so don’t be shy about exploring the options! Gordon Park has a playground and splash pad, so plan to get wet if you go on a summer day.

Ceramic Art Cafe
26 South LaGrange Road, #100
La Grange, IL 60525
(708) 579-3033

Gordon Park
Tilden & Ogden Avenues
La Grange, IL 60525

Classic Cinemas La Grange Theater
80 South La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525
(708) 579-2173

Tate’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shop
25 South Ashland Avenue
La Grange, IL 60525
(708) 352-4848

Waterlemon Indoor Play Cafe
25 South La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525
(708) 286-6747

Blackberry Market
36 South La Grange Road
La Grange, IL 60525
(708) 571-2565


Heads up: this is not the zoo stop! The Brookfield Metra stop has quite a bit more to explore around it, from a handcrafted candy store to the playground at Kiwanis Park, which also has a shaded picnic shelter if you’d like to bring your own treats. This year, we’re adding Gosia’s Coffee Shop to the list; you’ll find coffee, donuts, and other light cafe fare at this dog-friendly shop with its own resident pooch.

Fill My Jar (Candy Store)
3726 Prairie Avenue
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 905-5555

Kiwanis Park
8820 Brookfield Avenue
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 485-7344

Daisy’s Treats and Bakery
3748 Grand Avenue
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 255-5481

Gosia’s Coffee Shop
8836 Brookfield Avenue
Brookfield, IL 60513

Hollywood (Zoo Stop)

Okay, this is the right stop for Brookfield Zoo! Avoid the lines (and the fee) to park by taking the train and walking from there. The stop is zoo-themed, which makes for a fun introduction to the zoo. You’ll walk two blocks northeast to the south entrance from there; the zoo has a handy map to help guide you.

Brookfield Zoo
8400 W 31st Street
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000


If you’re attending a class or event at the Riverside Arts Center or Riverside Historical Museum, the train is a great way to go. For lunch, you might want to stop by the Sawmilly Sandwich Shop; this sister restaurant to local favorite The Chew Chew serves up gourmet sandwiches and ice cream.

Riverside Arts Center
32 East Quincy Street
Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 442-6400

Riverside Historical Museum
10 Pine Avenue
Riverside, Illinois 60546
(708) 447-2542
Open Saturdays, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Sawmilly Sandwich Shop
35 E Burlington Street
Riverside, IL 60546
(708) 265-2670

Harlem Avenue

Berwyn’s Toys & Trains is a model train shop that’s about a 10-minute walk from the Harlem Avenue station in Berwyn. To lengthen your trip, check out Nonno’s down the street for sandwiches and pizza by the slice. While both of these shops are located on Ogden Avenue, your walk from the train will be down neighborhood streets, and there are sidewalks and crossings to the shops themselves.

Berwyn’s Toy & Trains
7025 Ogden Avenue
Berwyn, IL 60402
(708) 484-4384

Nonno’s Homemade Pizza
6969 Ogden Ave D
Berwyn, IL 60402
(708) 788-1100

Western Avenue

This stop’s technically in Chicago, but you’ll find a much more urban neighborhood vibe here on the lower west side on the edge of Pilsen. The destination? Harrison Park, which not only has a huge amount of green space and a playground, but is also home to the National Museum of Mexican Art, which offers free admission. Afterwards, head just north of the park for paletas or ice cream.

If you’re taking older kids or teens eager to explore more, the museum has some great guides to exploring the neighborhood of Pilsen, including a guide to the neighborhood’s iconic murals.

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W 19th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 738-1503

Harrison Park Playground
1828 W 19th Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Paleteria Y Neveria Sabores De Michoacán
1806 W 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 248-8949

Map of Kid-Friendly Stops on the BNSF Line

Did we miss your favorite kid-friendly stops? Leave it in the comments below. And keep the fun going all summer long with our ultimate guide to summer fun!

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