Best Kept Secrets of Chicago: 11 Adventures for Families
If you’re planning a visit to the breathtaking city of Chicago, you’ll need to maximize your time in order to see all of its highlights. Bypass the commonly accepted tourist destinations and find out where the locals like to hang out. Who better to ask than BabyQuip Quality Providers. These ladies pound the pavement from downtown to the lakeside skyline to the suburbs regularly and know the ins and outs of what to do, see, and experience when your travels bring you here.
To discover what sets Chicago apart, Lauren Swihart says to take in the neighborhoods. Lauren is a frequent traveler herself in addition to providing quality baby gear to families traveling to the windy city. You can truly get to know the city’s personality through its neighborhoods, 4 of which sit on the path of The 606. The network of trails anchored by a converted, elevated railway line, “The 606 runs through many neighborhoods and is great for walking or biking.” raves Chicago Babyquip Quality Provider Rebecca Ruelas.
“My kids love Gallagher Way,” says Nicole Ramos who offers free local pickup and all the comforts of home with her BabyQuip side hustle. Her frequent downtown Chicago drop offs and pickups have resulted in Nicole uncovering the delightful and obscure locales. Gallagher Way features year round events including “Ice skating in the winter, and movies and concerts during nicer weather,” according to Rebecca. Gallagher Way is the backyard of Wrigley Field, The kids can burn off some pent up, Cubs baseball energy.
Considered one of the smaller neighborhoods, Andersonville is certainly not light on art galleries and museums. Admission is always free to the Blue Theatre where your children will be dazzled by the entertaining puppet shows.
3. Logan Square
Its beautifully preserved churches and buildings would sustain any sightseer strolling up the historic boulevard through Logan Square. A Palmer Square Park stop is a must for the playground inspired by the classic book “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Prepare to spend a few hours watching the little ones smile with delight.
4. Wicker Park
Known for its nightlife, Wicker park shouldn’t be counted out for day trips with the kids in tow, “especially on farmer’s market day,” says Lauren. Pop into Hot Chocolate Chicago for, what else? Specializing in a variety of hot chocolates the bistro bar is known for its delicious desserts and pastries. Tastebuds are sure to be tantilized by adults and children alike! Rebecca Ruelas adds that traveling to this Chicago neighborhood is a breeze. “You can hop on the “L” train and quickly get to Wicker Park.”
One expert Babyquip Quality Provider tip Allie McGrath offers, is to not forget a baby carrier. Allie recently moved away from Chicago and now offers her Baby gear rental services in Nashville. She recalls “Some stops on the L train don’t have elevators for strollers so baby wearing can be helpful.”
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Best Outdoor Activities in Chicago
1. The Harold Washington Library
Head indoors and still enjoy the outdoors. Adults and children flock to The Harold Washington Library for its 9th floor expansive indoor winter garden. Young and old can’t resist rifling through the genealogy database to identify their famous ancestors, or partaking in a craft workshop in the library’s award winning Maker Lab on its 3rd floor.
2. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
This affordable option draws the kiddies in with thousands of butterflies in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven as well as the promise of touching a live snake! “It’s great for kids and their indoor offerings are enough for a rainy day.” says Allie McGrath. The Nature Museum is in close enough proximity to the Lincoln Park Zoo to park your car once and visit both!
3. Lincoln Park Zoo
Popular with locals and tourists, Lincoln Park Zoo is open year round and is one of the last zoos in the US. And guess what? It’s free! Allie suggests arriving early to catch a glimpse of the countless exhibits. The usual suspects call the Lincoln Park Zoo home, from penguins and polar bears to chimpanzees and gorillas. Kids love cows and pigs too, so there’s a farm at the zoo! Farm-in-the-Zoo features hands on activities and seasonal exhibits, like hatching chicks during the spring! Pack a picnic lunch, or indulge in one of the many food carts. The zoo lights display during the holiday season is always a must see.
4. Morton Arboretum
Families love a troll hunting adventure. Travel by foot, or by tram through 1700 acres of this Chicago wonderland. Keep your eyes peeled for six, hand carved wood trolls as tall as trees hidden within the forest. Clues found in the troll hunter’s guide can help you and your little ones find them, so don’t forget to grab one when you arrive.
5. Oz Park
Muster up the courage to find your heart at the magical Oz Park. Certainly not in Kansas, Oz Park rests right in the middle of downtown Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. BabyQuip QP Alicia Fitzgerald, recommends a visit to Oz Park. “There’s a playground, but they have statues of The Wizard of Oz characters around the park too.” The Tin man, Toto, Dorothy, and all of your favorite characters created in the imagination of L. Frank Baum are immortalized in statues throughout the safe, clean, and enchanting wonderland.
6. Montrose Beach
For your sun soaking adventures, Montrose Beach comes highly recommended for kids. One of dozens of public beaches on the expansive Chicago shoreline, Montrose is the first, off leash beach for dogs, with an entire section reserved for your four legged family members. Short-lived Chicago summers send locals and tourists running for jet skis, stand up paddle boards, or kayak rentals at Montrose Beach. A recent repaving project on its lakefront path creates unparalleled accessibility.
7. Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise
Don’t miss the boat to catch a glimpse of Chicago’s legendary architecture. Little ones with short attention spans can move freely around the boat on this 90 minute tour while you snap photo after photo of the city scape. You’ll see more than 50 buildings and landmarks, like the Wrigley Building and the John Hancock Tower.
Chicago locals love their city and want you to love it as well. You won’t have any trouble filling up your days exploring while visiting these off-the-beaten-path adventures overflowing with fun.
Angela is a hardworking wife and mother. She is a radio personality and a BabyQuip Quality Provider. She lives with her husband, Scott who also works in radio. Their five children are Lincoln, Sunny, Anthem, Braddock and Loxley. She lives in Lebanon, Oregon.