Much like New York City’s High Line, The 606 is an elevated greenway along an old train track. The idea for the path began in the 1990s, as train traffic slowed on the Bloomingdale Line. Also called the Bloomingdale Trail and Park, The 606 is situated in Chicago’s Logan Square. At the time, the neighborhood had the least green space per capita in the city. Today, the trail brings together public art, history and architecture with wellness in the form of trails for runners, bikers and walkers. The trail connects four neighborhood parks at ground level as well as an observatory and art installations along the way. There are 12 access points on The 606, with one about every quarter mile. You can get here via the CTA Blue Line to the Western or Damen stops. The trail stretches 2.7 miles parallel to Bloomingdale Avenue along factories, El trains, and residential enclaves.
The 606 Features
If you want to bike the trail and beyond, enter at the trail’s eastern end. At the corner of N Marshfield ave and W Cortland Street, you’ll find a Divvy bike-share station.
Enter at Churchill Field (1825 Damen Ave) for an artwork-heavy place to begin at the Damen Arts Plaza. Throughout, find works from lead artist Frances Whitehead. Environmental Sentinel is a trail-wide planting of trees that are intended to reflect change in place over time. The trail can be a new experience each time you visit as well, with an array of rotating public art. Examples include a Graffiti Garden, Brick House Sculpture, and Birds Watching.
On the south end of the Logan Square Boulevards District, find a seating area for reflecting and people watching. More “living” art can be found throughout in the form of ever-changing gardens. Created by Michael Van Valkenburgh Landscape Architects, find an array of changing garden rooms throughout the trail. Along the way, you’ll find the Trailhead Garden, Blue Meadow, Poplar Thicket, Poetry Garden, Humboldt Overlook, Echinacea Field, Ginkgo Witchazel Switchback and Urban Savannah change with the seasons.
There are also several parks connected to The 606. Walsh Mark, at the easternmost end, is a dog friendly area, as is the neighboring Churchill Field Park. Park No. 567, in the middle, features the Spire Garden. The Julia de Burgos Park, Kimball Park and Magid Glove are situated at the western end of the trail.
Visitors can also see many historical landmarks and factories along the way, such as the site of the original Robbin’s Mfg. Co, constructed in 1915.
Another highlight is the Exelon Observatory, located at the western trailhead of The 606. The point offers some pretty stunning sunset and celestial views, which is why it hosts the popular For the Love of Stars Event. Hosted by resident astronomer Joe Guzman, the event teaches Chicagoans about the night sky, led by Adler Planetarium astronomers.
Of course, there are lots of places to hop off and grab a bite (or use the restroom, there are none on the trail yet) along the way. Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Small Cheval, Donut Delight and Parson’s Chicken & Fish are local favorites.
The 606 Events
The 606 hosts an array of special activities throughout the season. The Exelon Observatory is the largest event space, which features the For the Love of Stars event led by Adler Planetarium astronomers on Friday evenings. The 606 also hosts other community events, like the Community Bonfire @ Park No. 567. Of course, it also hosts an array of athletic events like Go Run Chicago throughout warmer months.