Our best buddies moved to Chicago last fall and we’ve been waiting to get ourselves there ever since they told us the news! We planned a short 4-day trip quickly over these past few weeks so we could take in the sites of the beautiful windy city, get as much QT with our buddies and have an adventure…all with our girls!
We had a blast (despite the cold, rainy weather on the first day)! Chicago is such an easy, fun city to get around. Especially with the kiddos. We did not have much time for all the sites, but here’s the skinny on what we did, what we hope to do next time and why we think Chicago is pretty awesome…
Before traveling there I did a ton of research. I knew most of our trip would be spent with our close buds, but since we were staying in the River North area of the city I jotted down what seemed like spots we’d like to explore. I hit up a favorite travel + photography blogger I’ve been following - (Lily) This Darling World for some good eats and fun spots. Lily’s blog totally hooked us up. We didn’t have the chance to eat at most of her highlighted spots, but we are sharing them below and will def save them for our next visit! (Side note, if you love to travel, Lily’s blog should be bookmarked on your phone|computer. Talk about wanderlust!).
TIP - I am old-school when it comes to traveling. Since Chicago is so neighborhood heavy I printed a color-coated neighborhood map like this one. It was super helpful and I folded it up in my bag in case I needed it while we were out-and-about. I know that everything I needed was accessible on my phone, but most of the time something visual makes more sense - especially when exploring a new place!
What We Did:
Crown Fountain (be sure to pack a change of clothing and shoes for your kiddos if you are stop here and they cannot resist jumping into the water and running through the fountains. It is hard to resist (even for me!). Natives are a great shoe option for this activity and they are great for the playgrounds at Maggie Daley Park as well! This is our favorite pair this year.
Cloud Gate aka The Bean (you can see in the first 5 photos that Greer is taking Lucy and my pic and then she kept snapping…snap happy…snap happy…then i grab my camera back, but you can see the whole thing take place b/c of the reflection in the bean haha…
Maggie Daley Park - this park is exceptional! Like nothing my girls have ever seen. FYI parents - be prepared to not do anything but watch your kiddos on all of the park options. It gets crazy because there are kids and adults everywhere so it can be tough to keep an eye on your own crew. Make a plan before with your kids before they start exploring.
What We Will Hit Up Next Time:
Art Institute of Chicago (really want to see Picasso’s The Old Guitarist)
Big Monster Toys (have to get a pic of the girls by their over-sized door!)
Sweet Maple Cafe (good for brunch)
Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club (good for brunch)
Smoque BBQ (on the cheaper side)
Chicago Q (apparently the Carrot Cake is amazing!)
Del Toro (Mexican, sangria is great. Good spot to just grab drinks too)
Small Cheval (burgers)
Bonci (Roman style pizza directly from Rome. As seen on Anthony Bourdain’s show)
Parson’s (fried chicken with a good sunny patio)
La Sirena Clandestina (Brazilian Cuisine)
The Hampton Social (“Rose All Day” photo opp)
Left Coast Food + Juice (good for “on the go” goodies)
Kuma’s Corner (all of the menu items are named after metal bands 😉
Gino’s East (for Deep Dish Pizza - and the kids can write on the walls!)
Jeni’s Ice Cream (lots of neighborhood options)
Please feel free to leave comments below if you have any fun stops, experiences or eats to share on Chicago. We plan to head back in the near future, so any suggestions are welcome!!
Happy Planning + Happy Travels!
For more tips on packing for kids check out our recent post: