The California CTA station (known informally as the California El Station) is about halfway between the O'Hare station and the Loop on the Blue Line in Chicago. It, along with the Western and Damen stations, are the only three elevated stations on the Blue Line before the Blue Line splits into the 54/Cermak and Forest Park branches.
It is a rather plain station (though about 300,000 people used that station in one year). It has one exit, which leads onto California Street (at about 3000 west). Inside the station proper is a small convinence mart, which usually isn't open. After paying for the fare and going through the turnstiles, there is a choice of heading up one of two staircases; one leads to the side where O'Hare trains arrive, the other to where ]54/Cermak and Forest Park trains arrive.
The actual station is equally plain: two open-air platforms facing each other with a mess of tracks between them. The barriers on the sides of the platforms (to prevent people from falling off) are painted white. There are lights to illuminate the station at night (they are yellow lights, and do a good job of covering anything under them yellow). There are usually two sheltered areas on each platform, and one set of heat-lamps. From that vantage point, you can see the Chicago skyline (parts of it, anyway), a Subway, and various other restaurants.
Establishments around the California CTA station include:
– Good sandwiches and daily deals make this a great place to eat.
(directly under the train tracks on California, you can get all sorts of breads, rolls, cookies and doughnuts here for only 30 cents plus tax)
-A very small Fast-Food place
(it can fit about four tables and it's rather dirty...good milkshakes
-A Police Station
-A Grocery Store
(I think it focuses on produce
-A Post Office
(This is further north on California, where California intersects with Fullerton
All-in-all, the California station is a rather useful station. I've enjoyed using it for the last seven years. I recognize the people who have shops around the area, and it's not a bad neighborhood. It's a good place.