Before the CTA L lines received their current color coding in 1993, the Brown Line was known as the Ravenswood Route, an apt and evocative name considering that it runs aboveground for its entire length, soaring like a bird over lush and wooded environs. Just under 11 and a half miles with 27 stops, the route’s charming scale and sweeping vistas — from the North Branch of the Chicago River with its waterfowl and kayakers to the massive art deco Merchandise Mart, from bas-relief faces peering down from the walls of the Harold Washington Library Center to the fire escapes snaking up the skyscrapers along Adams and Wabash — prove that one person’s commute can be another’s pleasure cruise. Board at the Kimball terminus in East Albany Park and ride all the way downtown. The views approaching the city skyline are unparalleled, and once you get to the Loop, you get to be at eye level with architectural detail impossible to appreciate so intimately in any other way. Get off at Clark and Lake and snap a picture near the Wells Street Bridge (which the train crosses) to commemorate the best unofficial tour to be had in the city for $2.50.