It’s the most anticipated green space since Maggie Daley Park. And like downtown’s massive playground and skating ribbon, Bloomingdale Trail does not disappoint. This 2.7-mile biking-walking-running-scooting path is part of an elevated trail and park system (commonly called “The 606”) that cuts through Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square and Humboldt Park on the former railroad line connecting those neighborhoods. It just opened after a decade of planning. Here are the secrets of this urban oasis perfect for families (and dogs, too!).

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photo: Kiran Advani

Here’s the Skinny …
The trail is paved and elevated, allowing for awesome city views. There are 12 access points on it (all with ramps perfects for strollers, scooters and bikes) and four of them are located next to ground-level parks (at Damen, Milwaukee, Ashland and Albany). If you planned to walk the trail and bike envy kicks in, there are Divvy stations just north of the Marshfield, Damen, Western and Albany access points. Dogs are allowed and especially welcome at the dog park at the Damen access point. Come ready to be inspired — everyone is talking about the trail’s convenience, beauty and how it will spur families to get healthy exercise together.

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photo: Christa Reed

For the Kids …
There’s some really fantastic El train watching on the bridge near Winnebago (close to the Milwaukee access point). Fences are high enough to keep little ones in, and the water fountains are low enough to keep them hydrated. Plan a playdate at the Damen access point where there is a large sitting space with benches and Churchill Field, a baseball field at ground level. Or hit the the playground at Yates Elementary between the Humboldt and California access points (shown below). When CPS is out for the summer, this is a great park that’s close to the trail’s halfway point and perfect for your little climber. You can also find fun right off the trail at Cat & Mouse Game Store (at the Milwaukee access point) or Mindy’s Hot Chocolate for a snack (at the Damen access point).

606-1 photo: Christa Reed

Be Aware …
On our trip down the trail, we didn’t see any public restrooms or garbage cans, and parking was scarce. And the foliage is new so it’s going to take some time before there’s any legitimate shade from the trees. If you plan on taking small children there, be aware that although it’s pretty well fenced-in, there are still some unfinished drop-off spots (most notably near access points).

The path itself is smooth, but not flat. So if you’re there with your jogging stroller, be prepared for some hills. It’s not as wide as the Lakeshore Path that snakes by the Museum Campus, but does have water fountains and a rubber border. Also, be mindful of children on bikes; some have no been briefed yet on the “on-you-left” protocol.

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photo: Christa Reed 

Overall, while not finished, Bloomingdale Trail beautiful and a true asset to the city. Go now — and often — while you can still take in the delightful smell of new mulch and community spirit!

For more information on Bloomingdale Trail/The 606, go to the606.org.

Have you visited this awesome new attraction yet? Let us know what you think in the Comments!

— Christa Reed