Chicago with Bébés
A kid-friendly city, there is no shortage of fun-filled things to do in Chicago with your little ones! After returning time and time again, here are quick bits and top tips of our must-do's for a great weekend getaway.
— STAY —
There are tons of kid-friendly luxury hotels in Chicago — each unique in their own way.
Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
More recently, the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago has really stepped up their "kid" game! The amenities were endless: our favorite being a shoe shine bag for kids where the little ones put their filthy sneakers in a bag and placed them on the door handle, only to wake up to sparkling clean shoes with beautiful new laces to match. On top of this, the "Ice Cream Man" comes to visit your room, and cookie & cake decorating plates are brought to you on separate days. And on top of it all, there's a very warm indoor pool and kids play space for youngsters on the 32nd floor!
The Peninsula Chicago
The Peninsula also caters to kids with Peter Bear, the lovable mascot of The Peninsula, who you can request to stop by to say hello with a wagon of treats! You'll be pampered with age-appropriate bath amenities such as Burt's Bees or Johnson & Johnson baby bath-time set, along with children's sized robes and slippers. The Peninsula also has a beautiful indoor pool and even an ice skating rink in the winter! And you can even bring your juniors to the spa with you for some manicures & pedicures.
— PLAY —
There are tons of fun things to do in Chicago, no matter the season you visit. Here are a few of our tried-and-true favorites that are a must in our book.
The Shedd Aquarium
Make sure to arrive as early as possible to beat the crowds at The Shedd Aquarium. Between the penguins, stingrays and dolphins, both you and your children will be captivated! Play areas for the youngsters where you'd least expect them pair nicely with an outside cafe — perfect for enjoying the gorgeous Chicago summer.
The Field Museum
Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, oh dinosaurs! The Field Museum is a must! Meeting Sue, the world's largest and most well-preserved T-Rex, is really an experience for both parents and kids. Don't forget to check out the Fossil Prep Lab, where kids can watch scientists working with fossils!
Maggie Daley Park
Every city should have a park like this. A three acre Play Garden inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Maggie Daley Park is filled with super tall spiral slides, a suspension bridge, an enchanted forest, a water hole, swings — the list goes on. In addition you'll find a rock wall for older kids, ice skating in the winter, and mini golf in the summer. The only problem is trying to get your child to leave!
Millennium Park, Frank Gehry's BP Pedestrian Bridge & Cloud Gate
Only a quick jump west from Maggie Daley Park is Millennium Park, where you'll see Frank Gehry's BP Pedestrian Bridge, one of the most architecturally interesting bridges. With each steel panel this bridge provides a true sound barrier to traffic noise. Bonus insta points: the bridge ends right before the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture (a.k.a. The Bean) by Anish Kappor, reflecting the stunning Chicago skyline.
Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier
Take a spin on Navy Pier's new Centennial Wheel where you can take in stunning views over Lake Michigan from 196 feet above. Reminiscent of the London Eye, the enclosed gondola's are clean & beautiful. Get your tickets in advance here — there's even a premium option for a VIP gondola with plush seating and the trademark glass bottom!
Lincoln Park Zoo
Upon free admission at the Lincoln Park Zoo, find yourself among monkeys, penguins, lions, camels, giraffes, birds, and polar bears — oh my! This beautiful Chicago staple is located just west of Lake Michigan and also includes a carousel and a mini train. If you don't feel like eating zoo food, check out nearby Eleven City Diner!
American Girl + LEGO in Water Tower Place
American Girl was founded in Chicago — so if you feel inclined for a visit your daughters will love taking a trip to the flagship in Water Tower Place. Plus, it's way less congested than the NY store, which can sometimes become touristy. The LEGO store, adjacent to American Girl, has workstations where LEGO Builders put things together and kids can watch and even participate!
Other Restaurants: Bavette's, True Food Kitchen, Beatrix & Summer House
If your kids are older or you have a babysitter, try Bavette's — it's an absolute must! True Food Kitchen is a health food dream that offers dishes for everyone, including a nutritious kids menu (that is actually consumed by children!). Beatrix or Summer House Santa Monica are also great spots.