‘L’abor Day

  • When: Sunday, September 3, 2017
  • Where: Northwest Side and the Loop (starts/ends in Jefferson Park)
  • CTA Lines: Blue and Pink Lines
  • Cost: $10 CTA 1-Day Pass

This Labor Day weekend, join us in the city as we introduce my Oregonian father-in-law to the CTA system with one ‘L’ of a train crawl! We’ll be starting in Jefferson Park with lunch at Gale Street Inn before heading over to the Blue Line and working our way downtown. This is also a great opportunity for our city friends to join The Yard Social Club if they can’t make the suburban OktoberWest excursion the following weekend.


All times are approximate, since CTA trains come every 10-15 minutes. Early departure Metra trains back to Jefferson Park are available from Ogilvie Transportation Center at 4:30pm and 6:30pm.

  • 12:00pm: Lunch and drinks at Gale Street Inn, Jefferson Park Blue Line
  • 1:30pm: Revolution Brewery Taproom, California Blue Line
  • 2:45pm: The Robey Hotel, Damen Blue Line
  • 4:00pm: Transfer to Pink Line at Clark/Lake
  • 4:15pm: The Plymouth, Library Pink Line
  • 5:30pm: New Line Tavern, Clinton Pink Line
  • 6:45pm: Emmit’s Irish Pub, Grand Blue Line (via #56-Milwaukee bus)

Transit Connections

Even on a Sunday, Jefferson Park is one of the most transit-connected places outside of downtown. Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line trains stop at the station every two hours, and several CTA buses serve Jefferson Park as well.

Additional connections can be made at the following locations along our path:

  • Montrose Blue Line
    • Metra Milwaukee District North Line trains stop at Mayfair, one block west of the Montrose Blue Line station. Inbound trains stop at 11:59am and 1:59pm; outbound train departs Union Station at 12:35pm and arrives at Mayfair at 12:54pm.
  • Irving Park Blue Line
    • Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line trains stop one block west of the Blue Line station. These trains also serve Jefferson Park.
  • Clark/Lake Blue Line
    • The CTA’s busiest transfer station, Clark/Lake connects the Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, and Brown Line trains. This crawl will transfer from Blue to Pink at approximately 4:00pm.
  • State/Lake Pink Line
    • Transfer between Loop Elevated trains and the Red Line subway at State/Lake. We will be at State/Lake at approximately 4:05pm.
  • Randolph/Wabash and Adams/Wabash Pink Line
    • Metra Electric Line trains and the South Shore Line stop one block east of these stations at Millennium Station and Van Buren Street Station, respectively.
  • Library Pink Line
    • CTA Red and Blue Line trains have a free transfer point here from Jackson.
  • LaSalle/Van Buren Pink Line
    • Metra Rock Island Line trains terminate at LaSalle Street Station, one block south of LaSalle/Van Buren.
  • Quincy Pink Line
    • Union Station, which serves as the terminus for Metra’s Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, and BNSF Railway trains, is three blocks west of Quincy.
  • Washington/Wells Pink Line
    • Ogilvie Transportation Center, which serves as the terminus for Metra’s Union Pacific North, Northwest, and West trains, is three blocks west of Washington/Wells.
    • Washington/Wells is also a convenient transfer point for inbound Brown Line trains.
  • Clinton Pink Line
    • Ogilvie Transportation Center, which serves as the terminus for Metra’s Union Pacific North, Northwest, and West trains, is one-and-a-half blocks south of Clinton.
    • CTA Green Line trains also stop at Clinton.

Travel Guide

Labor Day

Interactive Map

To open this map in a new window, click here.

Country Crawl

  • When: Saturday, August 5, 2017
  • Where: Far Northwest Suburbs, ends in Palatine
  • Metra Line: Union Pacific Northwest
  • Cost: $8 Metra Weekend Pass, $8 McHenry County Fair entry at the gate (or $6 if you pre-pay online)
  • Hashtags: #YardSocial #CountryCrawlUPNW

Another train crawl? Get out of town! Way, way, WAY out of town… Join us for our first-ever Country Crawl on the furthest reaches of the Metra system! This all day crawl takes us waaaay out into the hinterlands of McHenry County with stops in Harvard, Woodstock, and Crystal Lake, with a special stop at the McHenry County Fair. We’ll wrap it up back in suburban civilization at a perennial Yard Social favorite, The Lamplighter Inn in Palatine.

Coming from the city? The UP-NW line conveniently shares the Jefferson Park terminal with the CTA’s Blue Line and several CTA bus routes including the #81-Lawrence.

Important Note: No alcohol is allowed on Metra trains on August 5 due to Lollapalooza.


  • 8:48am: Depart Jefferson Park outbound
  • 9:24am: Depart Palatine outbound
  • 10:30am: Hub Lounge, Harvard
  • 11:35am: Depart Harvard inbound
  • 12:15pm: McHenry County Fair, Woodstock
  • 2:45pm: Public House of Woodstock
  • 3:48pm: Depart Woodstock inbound
  • 4:00pm: Williams Street Tap, Crystal Lake
  • 5:00pm: Matt’s Tavern, Crystal Lake
  • 6:00pm: Depart Crystal Lake inbound
  • 6:30pm: Lamplighter Inn, Palatine
  • Inbound trains depart Palatine at 8:25pm and 10:25pm

Transit Connections

The Metra UP-NW line begins at Ogilvie Transportation Center and runs almost directly northwest out of Chicago, paralleling Milwaukee Avenue and Northwest Highway. There are several transit options to connect with the UP-NW line outside of downtown.

CTA Blue Line – Runs 24 hours a day, every 8-15 minutes at most times

The Jefferson Park Terminal offers direct connections between the CTA Blue Line and the UP-NW, as well as the following buses:

  • CTA #56-Milwaukee
  • CTA #68-Northwest Highway
  • CTA #81-Lawrence (24 hours)
  • CTA #81W-West Lawrence
  • CTA #85-Central
  • CTA #85A-North Central
  • CTA #88-Higgins
  • CTA #91-Austin
  • CTA #92-Foster
  • Pace #226-Oakton (also serves Des Plaines UP-NW)
  • Pace #270-Milwaukee Avenue
Pace Route #250 – Dempster Street – Operates every 30-60 minutes from 7:10am to 12:15am

Pace Route 250 serves the Des Plaines UP-NW station and also connects with O’Hare Airport, Metra MD-N trains at Morton Grove, Metra UP-N trains at Evanston – Davis Street, and CTA Yellow Line trains at Dempster-Skokie.

Travel Guide


Interactive Map

To open the map in a new window, click here.

Snowball Crawl

  • When: Last Saturday in January
    • 2017: January 28
  • Where: Western Suburbs, starts/ends in La Grange
  • Metra Line: BNSF Railway
  • Cost: $8 Metra Weekend Pass
  • Hashtags: #YardSocial #SnowballCrawlBNSF

After last year’s successful winter Milwaukee District West Line train crawl that ultimately led to OktoberWest, a new pilot train crawl is being organized for January 2017 along the BNSF Railway. Similar to North by Northwest, the first stop will be a historic bowling alley, followed by pleasant little dive bars up and down Metra’s busiest line.

If you’d care to join us for breakfast, we’ll be at Blueberry Hill Café in downtown La Grange at 10am.



  • 10:00am: Breakfast at Blueberry Hill Café, La Grange
  • 11:30am: Tivoli Lanes, Downers Grove
  • 1:30pm: Orazio Pub, Naperville
  • 3:00pm: Uptown, Westmont
  • 4:45pm: Nels Old Time Inn, Lisle
  • 7:15pm: Palmer Place, La Grange

Transit Connections
The BNSF Railway is well-served by a variety of other transit options if you’re heading down to the corridor from elsewhere in the region.  Since the Metra $8 Weekend Pass is good on all Metra lines all weekend long, the simplest transfer opportunity is downtown at Chicago Union Station from other Metra lines.  However, based on your location throughout the region there may be other more convenient connections, including the following bus routes:

CTA Route #49 – Western Avenue – Runs 24 hours a day, every 8-15 minutes at most times
The Western Avenue bus is convenient for many city residents to access the BNSF Railway corridor, especially for trips back home since buses operate 24 hours a day. The #49 links the Western Avenue BNSF station to Metra’s Western Avenue MD-N/MD-W station as well as all five Western CTA ‘L’ stations on the Brown, Blue, Pink, and Orange Lines.

Pace Route #302 – Ogden-Stanley – Operates every 45 minutes from 6:40am to 6:30pm
Pace Route 302 is a convenient link directly between the LaGrange Road BNSF station and the CTA Pink Line at 54/Cermak. Heading to the Snowball Crawl, a westbound bus leaves Cermak/Cicero at 10:25am and arrives in LaGrange at 11:00am, just in time for our 11:06am departure out to Downers Grove.

Pace Route #307 – Harlem Avenue – Operates every 20-30 minutes from 5:45am-9:15pm, then hourly until midnight
Pace Route 307, which operates until midnight on Saturdays, is another convenient option to get to and from the Snowball Crawl.  Pace Route 307 connects Metra’s Elmwood Park MD-W and Oak Park UP-W stations to the Harlem Avenue BNSF station, as well as the CTA’s Harlem ‘L’ stations on the Blue (Forest Park branch) and Green Lines.

Pace Route #330 – Mannheim/LaGrange – Operates hourly from 5:30am to 8:45pm
Pace Route 330 is one of Pace’s westernmost north-south arterial routes that operates on Saturdays and runs right through the heart of LaGrange on LaGrange Road.  The northern terminus of the route is at the O’Hare Airport Transit System (ATS) station in Lot E, which provides for convenient connections to the CTA’s O’Hare Blue Line station.  The final northbound bus of the evening leaves LaGrange at 8:08pm.

Pace Route #331 – Cumberland/5th – Operates hourly from 7:30am to 6:30pm
Starting at the CTA’s Cumberland Blue Line station and terminating at the Brookfield BNSF station, Pace Route 331 can be a convenient option for crawlers heading to the BNSF from the Far Northwest Side or near western suburbs.  The line also links up with Metra’s River Grove MD-W and Maywood UP-W stations.  A southbound bus departs the Cumberland Blue Line station at 10:05am and arrives in Brookfield at 11:00am, just in time for the 11:03am westbound departure to our first stop in Downers Grove.

To open the map in a new window, click here.

Itasca St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Tickets are now available!

  • When: Saturday before or of St. Patrick’s Day
    • 2017: March 11
  • Where: Itasca and downtown Chicago
  • Metra Line: Milwaukee District West Line
  • Cost: $6.50 (reserved), $7.00 (day-of-event)

An Itasca tradition for decades long before The Yard Social Club got involved, the Itasca St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a two-block walk to the Itasca Metra Station where the group heads down to the Chicago Loop for the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on the Saturday before (or of) St. Patrick’s Day.  Since 2014, The Yard Social Club charters a private train car onboard the Metra to provide parade-goers with a more comfortable trip into and out of the city at discounted rates.  In 2016, we sold out of 75 discounted Metra fares, so definitely plan ahead for 2017.

While the Itasca “parade” and the group train ride is not restricted to a particular age group, this event is recommended for an 18+ age group and the bars downtown are strictly 21+. Check out the “Side Excursions” section below for all-ages event ideas. Also, a reminder that alcohol is not allowed on Metra trains on Saturday, March 11.



Metra tickets for this year’s trip are now available! Tickets cost $7, or $6.50 if you pay before the event. We’ve purchased a block of 75 tickets, which include travel on the 9:23am inbound train from Itasca and the 4:30pm outbound train from Chicago Union Station. Since these are discounted fares, these tickets are only good between Itasca and Chicago Union Station on trains #2706 (9:23am inbound) and #2715 (4:30pm outbound). Additional free tickets are available for travelers who have monthly Metra passes.

Register for your tickets by filling out this Google Form. Your tickets are not officially reserved until payment is received, and we do sell out of discounted tickets every year, so plan ahead!


  • 8:30am: Private pre-party
  • 9:00am: Parade begins at Maple and Grove Streets, Itasca
  • 9:15am: Parade arrives at Itasca Metra Station
  • 9:23am: Inbound train #2706
  • 10:20am: Arrive Chicago Union Station
  • 11:00am: The Berghoff
  • 12:00pm: The Bar Below
  • 1:30pm: Kitty O’Shea’s or Cactus
  • 3:00pm: O’Neil’s on Wells*
  • 4:15pm: Arrive Chicago Union Station
  • 4:30pm: Outbound train #2715
  • 5:12pm: Arrive Itasca Metra Station
  • 5:15pm: Tree Guys Pizza Pub

* Schedule note: The Shannon Rovers Irish pipe band will have a live performance at O’Neil’s on Wells at 2:30pm. Some members of our crawl will head over to that bar around 2pm. There is usually a cover charge at O’Neil’s.

Side Excursions

Maybe bars aren’t for you. Maybe you want to try something a little different and explore the city a bit. By all means, blaze your own trail and take in more of what downtown offers! Here are some  of our recommended excursions.

  • Sail on the Green River. The Chicago River is famously dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day. While our usual schedule has us arriving too late to see the actual dyeing of the river, the river stays that neon-green color for quite awhile. But the Chicago Water Taxi, Wendella’s fleet of big yellow boats, sails on St. Patrick’s Day! Board water taxis just north of Madison Street and at Rush Street, one block west of Michigan Avenue.
  • Check out the new Riverwalk. If ye be a landlubber who hasn’t found your sea-legs yet (or you’d simply rather not pay for the Water Taxi), Chicago’s newly-extended riverwalk puts you right at the water’s edge from Lake Street to Lake Michigan.
  • Don’t forget about the real Parade! It’s a running joke that we go downtown “for the parade” and haven’t seen a minute of it for decades, but you can go check out the performers and floats yourself! The Parade runs on Columbus through Grant Park, starting at Balbo at noon and heads north to Monroe.
  • Take a bike ride. If the weather’s decent and you want to burn off a few calories while expanding what’s in your reach of Chicago, $10 buys you a 24-hour pass for unlimited half-hour rides on any Divvy bike at any Divvy dock. Protected bike lanes on Clinton, Dearborn, Randolph and Washington will let you criss-cross the Loop in safety and style.
  • When in doubt, there’s always Navy Pier. While “true” Chicagoans would go to Navy Pier no sooner than they’d put ketchup on their hot dog, recent upgrades have shed much of the Pier’s old carnival atmosphere in favor of something a little more sleek and 21st Century. Plus the newly expanded Ferris Wheel might be the best place to check out the city from above.

If you do choose to choose your own adventure, check Metra’s schedules and plan accordingly. Our group rate tickets are only good between Itasca and Union Station and only on the two indicated trains, so you may find it more valuable to buy a Metra $8 Weekend Pass instead and have more flexibility.

To open the map in a new window, click here.


  • When: Saturday after Labor Day
    • 2017: September 9
  • Where: Western Suburbs (starts/ends in Itasca)
  • Metra Line: Milwaukee District West Line
  • Cost: $8 Metra Weekend Pass
  • Hashtag: #OktoberWest

A new tradition begun in 2016, OktoberWest lines up with the annual Itasca Oktoberfest street festival held just north of the Itasca Metra Station.  This year we’re supercharging the lineup with a full day of fun, starting bright and early in Hanover Park, working our way to the city (barely) and back to Itasca to enjoy German food, live music, and plenty of beer at Itasca’s Oktoberfest.


  • 9:30am: Prairie Station Pub, Hanover Park
  • 11:20am: 4 Points Whiskey Saloon, Medinah
  • 12:25pm: Tree Guys Pizza Pub, Itasca
  • 2:55pm: Eva’s Sports Bar, Mont Clare
  • 4:00pm: River Cafe & Bar, River Grove
  • 5:10pm: 3-J’s Tavern, Bensenville
  • 6:15pm: Itasca Oktoberfest

Transit Connections

  • Chicago Union Station: Directly connect to an outbound Milwaukee West train from Metra’s Milwaukee North, BNSF Railway, and SouthWest Service lines at Union Station. Several CTA bus routes also directly serve the station. Metra’s Union Pacific lines serve the Ogilvie Transportation Center, located two blocks north of Union Station.
  • Western Avenue: Directly connect to Milwaukee North trains. CTA #49-Western and #65-Grand buses are within two blocks of the station.
  • Mont Clare: CTA #65-Grand, #74-Fullerton, and #90-Harlem buses are within two blocks of the station.
  • Elmwood Park: Pace #307-Harlem and #319-Grand buses serve the station.
  • River Grove: Pace #331-Cumberland-5th buses serve the station.
  • Franklin Park: Pace #319-Grand buses are within four blocks of the station.
  • Hanover Park: Pace #554-Elgin-Woodfield buses serve the station.
  • Elgin: Several Pace routes serve the station.

Travel Guide



To open the map in a new window, click here.

Christmas Kickoff Crawl

  • When: Saturday after Thanksgiving
    • 2017: November 25
  • Where: Northwestern Suburbs (starts/ends in Palatine)
  • Metra Line: Union Pacific Northwest Line
  • Cost: $8 Metra Weekend Pass

A new Thanksgiving tradition starting in 2017, the Christmas Kickoff Crawl will cover the most ground of any Yard Social train crawl along the Union Pacific Northwest Line, stretching from McHenry County’s oldest bowling alley in Fox River Grove all the way back to the inner-ring suburb of Park Ridge, then back out to wrap up in historic Palatine.  Join us on Small Business Saturday as we check out six different venues in six different small communities radiating northwest out of Chicago.

We’ll be stopping at The Lamplighter Inn for breakfast before we head out, if you’re joining us in Palatine.  The crawl also ends in Palatine where a wide variety of options await for your final stop of the night (although we strongly recommend going back to The Lamplighter Inn).


  • 10:00am: Breakfast at The Lamplighter Inn, Palatine
  • 11:45am: King-Pin Lanes, Fox River Grove
  • 2:00pm: Grab-and-Go at Top Shelf Liquors, Fox River Grove
  • 3:00pm: The Harp and Fiddle, Park Ridge
  • 4:05pm: Miner Street Tavern, Des Plaines
  • 5:15pm: Sam’s Place, Mount Prospect
  • 6:30pm: Choose your own adventure in Palatine – See map for recommendations

Interactive Map

To open map in a new window, click here.