Crystal Lake is unique, at least with regard to the Metra, in that it has two Metra Train stations. Of course, we first wrote about the Pingree Road Metra station eons ago, but had yet to explore the downtown Crystal Lake train station. Until now that is. Like me, you may have walked or driven by the station more times than you can count, yet have never ventured inside. So come along and let’s explore it together.
Crystal Lake’s two Metra stations are both on the Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW) line, with the Pingree Road station just off Pingree Road and this station conveniently located in downtown Crystal Lake. This station also features an official ticketing office, which is always advised for ticket purchases to avoid a higher fee purchasing on the train.
Crystal Lake Metra Train schedule: check the official Metra UP-NW schedule.
It features a nice indoor waiting area, with restrooms, a mini-library, and an ATM. And you can take in a bit of history with a number of old photos that have been hung around the station, giving you a glimpse of how times have changed around the station and downtown Crystal Lake.
Address: 70 E Woodstock St, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Sadly, the Trax Depot coffee shop appears to be no more and doesn’t look as though anything will be replacing it anytime soon. However, you aren’t completely out of luck…but we’ll get to that in a bit.
In addition to the Metra station itself, there are several covered waiting areas on the inbound platform. While train station platforms aren’t the nicest places to wait around, Crystal Lake is working hard to change that. The waiting areas are nice, well kept, and the platforms are lined with planter boxes with shrubs and flowering plants.
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There are a lot of parking spaces across various parking lots, both close to the station and relatively nearby. Fortunately, they also have scattered the electronic pay stations for parking around the platforms, so you don’t have to go to the station itself to pay. Or you can pay through a mobile app.
Perhaps the best thing about the Crystal Lake train station has nothing to do with the Metra at all. Whether it is coffee in the morning or a meal or drink after the return trip, there are a number of establishments within a stone’s throw or so from the train station.
The station is in the heart of downtown Crystal Lake, so in addition to those pictured here, Georgio’s Chicago Pizzeria & Pub, AROMA Coffee & Wine, Cafe Olympic, Pop’s Corn Crib, Williams Street Tap, Moretti’s Pizza Pub, Carlos Pancake House, Grounds Coffee Bar, That’s Amore Pizza, Labemi’s, Duke’s Alehouse, Matt’s Tavern, and Moontime Smokin’ Que, there are many, many more within a short walk, not to mention the many stores, salons, and other businesses located in downtown Crystal Lake.
So whether you are heading into Chicago or escaping the city for a day, you might want to stay awhile after you get off the train in Crystal Lake. Even if downtown doesn’t have what you are looking for, you can grab a ride from the station parking lot with a taxi, ride service, or even the bus.