Forget tears and tantrums, the Windy City is a terrific destination for all family. From child-friendly sights and activities, to kiddie-focused menus, there’s plenty in town to keep even the most energetic small people happy. Here’s how to have a hassle-free trip with the brood.
Begin with a sweet-toothed treat from colourful bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s, a family-run cake maker specialising in traditional desserts. There’s a breakfast menu with wholesome goodies like strawberry muffins and cinnamon raisin scones, but kids (and – let’s be honest – big kids) will love the rainbow-hued cupcakes, topped with almost-too-pretty-to-eat sprinkles.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Burn off the sugar rush with a trip to nearby Lincoln Park Zoo, a sizable menagerie with an extensive mammal, reptile and bird population. Located in the same-name park just north of the city, this (free) activity is extremely popular, so beware of crowds on busy days. Alternatively, send them to outer space with a trip to the Adler Planetarium, where they can stargaze at leisure. Also worth an explore is the adjacent Shedd Aquarium, host to a mesmerising spectacle of marine life.
Post fun n’ frolics, it’s time to refuel. Honey Butter Fried Chicken is a sceney eatery serving free-range chicken marinated in a special honey butter sauce – yum! There’s also a short-but-sweet children’s menu that’ll keep even the fussiest of eaters happy; opt for the Honey Buddies Meal which includes chicken strips and pimento mac n’ cheese. Young ‘uns can enjoy a homemade lemonade; thankfully, highly gluggable, adult-sized mimosas are on hand too...
Late afternoon is best spent tiring out your offspring, for which the Peninsula Sky Rink (open until the first week of March) is ideal. Perched on the fourth floor of the hotel, this outdoor ice-scapade offers 640-sqm of Bradie Tennell skating potential. Gold!
Sweet Mandy B’s / 1208 W Webster Ave / Lincoln Park / +1 773 244 1174 / 8am-9pm Sun-Thu, till 10pm Fri-Sat / sweetmandybs.com
Lincoln Park Zoo / 2001 N Clark St / Lincoln Park / +1 312 742 2000 / 10am-4.30pm daily / lpzoo.org
Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium / Museum Campus / 1300 S Lake Shore Dr / Near South Side / +1 312 922 7827 / 9.30am-4pm daily / adlerplanetarium.org
Honey Butter Fried Chicken / 3361 N Elston Ave / Avondale / +1 773 478 4000 / 11am-9pm Tue-Thu, till 10pm Fri, 10am-10pm Sat, till 9pm Sun / honeybutter.com
Wrigley Field/Cubs Game / 1060 W Addison St / Lakeview / +1 866 800 1275 / mlb.com
Peninsula Sky Rink / The Peninsula Chicago / 108 East Superior Street / At North Michigan Avenue / +1 312 337 / until the first week of March / chicago.peninsula.com