The suburbs of Chicago are like people: Each one has a unique personality with its own appeal and claim to fame.

The problem is that (many) city-dwellers balk at the idea of going to the suburbs, and (lots of) suburbanites think first of Chicago — or their own 'burb — for entertainment.

Well, it's time for some fresh thinking.

To make it easier, I searched the suburbs looking for great daylong outings. All these locales are within walking distance of a Metra station and divided up by what kind of entertainment awaits you. Of course, suburban dwellers will find it more convenient to hop in a car. So whether you train it or not, here's your guide to a day of adventure.

For the history buff

Destination: Historic downtown Kenosha, Wis.

Line: Union Pacific North (UP-N), leaving from Ogilvie Transportation Center

Stop: Kenosha

Time on train: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Round-trip ticket: $15

Walking there: From the Metra station, head west toward the lake. The streetcars are right next to the station. (Download free walking tours and maps from the city's visitors bureau at kenoshacvb.com.) Total distance: all within 1 mile; farthest 0.8 mile, 15 minutes

The adventure: This hop over the border offers the history of the upper Midwest. Take one of the fully restored streetcars ($2 for an all-day pass; one-way fares from 25 cents to 50 cents) that travel in a two-mile loop, providing a great view of Lake Michigan and an easy way to get to downtown Kenosha, which has lots of shops and eateries. The library park district has outstanding examples of Gothic revival and Italianate architecture and was known for being a stop on the Underground Railroad. The civic center district has great examples of neo-classical and early 20th century architecture.

A bit farther away are three of the city's five museums: the Civil War Museum (5400 First Ave.; $7 for adults and free for kids 15 and younger), the Dinosaur Discovery Museum (5608 10th Ave.; free), and the Kenosha Public Museum, which houses exhibits on natural history and fine arts (5500 First Ave.; free). Call the visitors bureau at 262-654-7307.

For the natural type

Destination: Green Bay Bike Trail

Line: Union Pacific North (UP-N), leaving from Ogilvie Transportation Center

Stop: Braeside

Time on train: 50 minutes

Round-trip ticket price: $9

Walking there: Trail access is just off the Braeside parking lot.

The adventure: This is the stop for those wanting to bike the Green Bay trail. The entrance to the trail is just off the Braeside parking lot and stretches up to Lake Bluff. The trail goes through mostly forests and has very few road crossings, but part of the trail is gravel. The Green Bay trail offers connections to many other trails, including the North Shore bike trail and the Des Plaines river trail, which can take you all the way into Wisconsin or west to Mundelein. Visit IDOT at dot.state.il.us/bikemap/bikehome.html for a great interactive bike map of Illinois.