Sarah lives in Skokie, IL with her husband and kids Rowan (age 6) and Henry (age 4). She spent several years in Chicago and still enjoy spending time in the city. We asked her to share some of her favorite things to do in and around Chicago.
Detroit is becoming a big city but sometime you want to experience a BIG city and Chicago is a convenient trip down Michigan Avenue – okay that may not be the most convenient route but it would work. Whether you’re in town to shop the Magnificent Mile, hit up Millennium Park or explore Navy Pier, it’s a big city with plenty to see. If you’re looking for unbeatable views, stop by The Signature Lounge on the 96th of the Hancock Tower (during the day only for kids)- enter from the south side of the building and take the elevator up.
Café Selmarie is located in Lincoln Square (our old neighborhood, which is full of families and likely off the touristy grid). You can eat outside while your kids play in the courtyard and at the fountain right next to the seating. There is often live music in summer. Gene’s Sausage Shop is across the street with a rooftop beer garden. Also in Lincoln Square, you can enjoy the German influenced neighborhood and watch your kids dance at the Chicago Brauhaus.
XOCO is one of three Rick Bayless restaurants in Chicago, is a great spot for lunch or dinner. This is the most laid-back of the three, so you can enjoy the delicious food without having to keep the kids as well behaved in a fancier restaurant. The kids (and you) will LOVE the churros for dipping in chocolate sauce.
Hackney’s on Harms
Should you find yourself in the northern suburbs, our new local favorite is Hackney’s on Harms. A large outdoor seating area filled with trees and a ground level treehouse for the kids to play in.
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is an incredibly large and unique park that offers so much for all ages, and it’s right in the heart of Chicago! Some of the structures are so fun and big, we often join our kids to play. It is located very close to the Crown Fountain, where kids can splash around, and also near The Bean.
We continue to enjoy Wrigley Field and Chicago’s Museum Campus, but we try to hit them at less peak times/days. Parking is available close to the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, or the Field Museum. The Shedd Aquarium often has a long line, but if you bring a stroller, there is a stroller entrance on the south side of the building, and the line is much shorter.
See the City
The Architecture Tour is a hit for adults and older kids. We enjoy taking the Chicago Water Taxi around with young kids (cost-effective, fun, no traffic!). You can take it to Navy Pier and down to Chinatown. Our kids were adventurous eaters at the Dim Sum restaurant, Cai.
Our favorite beach is Foster Avenue Beach. Although a bit more north, if you have a car, you can avoid the crowds at Oak St, North Ave, and Montrose Beaches. Parking available right at the beach.
- Take a stroll in the Chicago Botanic Garden
- Immerse yourself in the fun of nature at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
- Walk, bike or just discover the art along the 2.7 miles of multi-use recreational trail and park that is the new 606 Trail
- No trip to Chicago is complete without a walk through Navy Pier
- Let kids be kids at the Chicago Children’s Museum
- The newly redeveloped Chicago Riverwalk is the perfect space to eat, drink or enjoy the activities along (or in) the water
- Take in the views from the top of the city at the Sky Deck Ledge
- Long live curiosity at the Museum of Science + Industry Chicago
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