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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Go Cubs, Go Amtrak

Since several of you asked about my Amtrak trip to Chicago last week with my 2 sons, to see athe Cubs play in Wrigley Field, so here's the scoop:

--Amtrak runs from Cinci to Chicago every other day. That schedule didn't work for us, so we drove to Indianapolis and took Amtrak from there. Amtrak runs every day to and from Indy-Chicago. Tickets were $80 for me and my 18-yr-old; my 14-yr-old was free.

--Amtrak leaves here about 2 a.m. From Indy, it leaves at 6:30 a.m. We arrived in Chicago Union Station at 10:20 a.m. local time, or 11:20 a.m. our time. That was more than enough time to grab a great breakfast at Lou Mitchell's across the street from the station, then catch a cab to the Red Line subway at Jackson & State to get to Wrigley by 1:20 p.m. game. Train ran on time on way up. On way home, it was 90 minutes late after being stuck behind a freight an hour outside Indianapolis. Not fun.

--Wrigley is usually sold out, except for the first week of season when its cold. Believe me, it was cold. (The Weds Cubs-Astros game was snowed out.) Also, first week of season are value days, with half price tickets, because its so cold. I bought tickets about 10 days in advance, and got 1st row of upper deck behind the 1st base dugout. And the game wasn't sold out by first pitch.
--Return trip to Indy (and/or Cinci) leaves Chicago at 5:45 p.m. If you want to go up and back in a day, you might have to leave the game early to catch train on time. (I did go up and back in a day with my boys four years ago, but the return train left at 8:30 p.m., giving us more than enough time for the whole game and to catch dinner at the ESPN Zone on Ohio Street near the loop.)

--We opted to stay over one night. We did the ESPN Zone Tuesday after the game. On Wednesday, we caught an express bus from Michigan Avenue to the Museum of Science & Industry and spent most of the day there. (Sears Tower was closed because of low snow cloud cover.) We took bus from museum over to the Red Line, took El back to Jackson Street, and walked 8 blocks to Union Station for trip home.

--Another tip: You can get a 2-day visitors pass for Chicago Transit Authority El/Bus system for $9 each at a machine in Union Station. That saved us a few bucks.

We have a great 2 days in Chicago. I'd recommend it to anyone. What fun!


at 4/16/2007 5:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like you had a super time!
I may consider taking the train for my next vacation.
from the neighborhood

at 4/17/2007 11:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really do appreciate the experience of riding on a train and the novelty of it, but to spend $160, plus gas to Indy?

And to drive 90 minutes in the middle of the night to ride a train for 4-hours?

You could have left here at 6:30am and got to Chicago at 10:30 local time with a lot less hassle.

at 4/17/2007 6:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To annon 11:52am

I have driven from Cincy to Chicago over the past 20 years since my brother lives there. I guess you could get to Chicago from Cincy in four hours if you were doing 75-80 mph non stop. I have always found that even when driving fast and with traffic it takes 5-6 hours to get there.

Yes, the train is expensive but parking in Chicago etc. seems like you'd come out about even if you took the train all the way up.

at 4/18/2007 11:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Done this many times with my father, but we always drove. It is only 4.5 hours if you leave in the morning and its easy to simply park under Washington Park, walk 2 blocks to the El and take that to the park. Much easier for a day trip!

at 4/18/2007 9:27 PM Blogger dawgsfan47 said...

I think riding the train sounds like an added adventure to the trip. Driving in the car would be boring, but the novelty of the train would make the same trip exciting. Plus, you save on parking.

at 4/24/2007 10:04 AM Anonymous Tim Lones said...

I've been through Chicago once when I was in the Navy (Great Lakes) briefly in 1976..Was still a teenager then, but if I could have stayed there to live I would have..Chicago is a great city. Glad you had a good time up there.

BTW Kiese..Though I am from Canton, I have enjoyed your TV columns for a number of years..RD Heldenfels (Akron Beacon Journal) comes as close as anyone in my area to writing TV the way you do, but he doesnt do nearly as many local stories...Will be bookmarking your blog..

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