Welcome to Tuesday Travels where a different city is highlighted each week. You’ll learn all the cool must-see places in town that are some of the locals’ best kept secrets. We’ll feature places which are kid-friendly and keep your budget happy.
This week’s guest blogger is Stephanie Precourt of Adventures In Babywearing,
5 Minutes For Parenting, Close To Home, Mama Speaks, and Chicago Moms Blog. Stephanie is currently pregnant with numero quattro (it’s a girl!) and anticipated due date is approximately 2 months away. The rest of her brood includes 3 darling boys. who reside with her and her hubby in the Windy City. Check out one of Stephanie’s many blogs (poignant and graceful writer whom I love to read), and then order up some deep dish pizza and make plans to visit Chicago. After reading her guest post, I can’t wait to check out the sites with Calvin!
There really is no place like sweet home Chicago. A very fine city with (in my opinion) the perfect skyline. It may be windy, but year-round there is always something to do or see.
In the summer, my favorite free family activity is to visit Millennium Park. This large open area is full of art, architecture, and music- right in the heart of the city. Be sure to bring a towel or two and maybe a change of clothes for the kiddies if it’s a hot day because they (and maybe you) will want to splash around at Crown Fountain.
Many photo ops await at Cloud Gate (also known as the big bean) and just a short distance away is the famous Buckingham Fountain. Ice cream stands and easy family indoor or outdoor dining are right in the park. My recommendation is to arrive at the park early as the fountains will get quite packed in the summer. But one great thing about Chicago is the people, so enjoy the crowds, sit back, and people-watch. It’s all part of the scenery, too.
We usually take a walk further down the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) and have lunch at Grand Lux Café at 600 N Michigan Ave. Its huge delicious menu will appease the whole family and they offer some amazing desserts, if you leave room!
After lunch, Lego lovers will want stop by the third floor of Nordstrom and play at the Lego Store. And maybe American Girl is more your cup of tea, so shop right around the corner there, too. Other shopping musts are the Apple Store, Niketown, and a really huge Disney Store all directly across the street.
A walk down Ontario, just off Michigan Ave., will take you to some famous Chicago restaurants such as Hard Rock Café, the Rock N Roll McDonald’s, and Ed Debevic’s- where yours truly danced on a few tables as a hostess back in the day…
Of course, I must mention Chicago’s fantastic museum campus located along the lakefront, and I do suggest you give each museum a full day to really take it all in. Our personal favorite is the Shedd Aquarium, where you can see the brand new Oceanarium with breathtaking views of the lake and city. The Shedd can be pricey for a large family, especially if you want to take in the many extra attractions. Plan your visit during the Community Discount Days to get free general admission.
Navy Pier is another fabulous all-day adventure with a Children’s Museum, plenty of unique shopping and dining, and a huge ferris wheel outside. End your day with a blast- every Wednesday and Saturday evening from Memorial Day until Labor Day features a dazzling fireworks display right on the pier. Admission to Navy Pier is free excluding the Chicago Children’s Museum located right inside. Check out the calendar for daily free events, ideal for kids of all ages!
One of the very best places for a practically totally cost-free day during any season is the famous Lincoln Park Zoo –open 365 days a year. There is no admission charge for this beautiful zoo located right within the city. Bring a picnic lunch or eat at a yummy restaurant, snack stand, or food court located inside the zoo. It is the perfect size for little legs to take in every animal and activity. A fall visit is my personal choice as the animals seem to be more interactive and the weather is so pleasant. If you vacation during the winter, be delighted by the Zoo Lights in the Chicago snow.
It may be windy, but your visit to Chicago needn’t be a whirlwind experience. Take your time and enjoy each moment at a leisurely pace. It’s my kind of town, and all are welcome here.