It is challenging to plan a great Saturday night for your family during the winter months in Chicago. During May to October the city of Chicago is full of events, exhibits and festivals that consume every minute of your weekends. During the rest of the year, school is in session and the weather shackles many parents to stay home.
I assume most families have a similar life to mine. Weekends are filled with kid’s classes or games, homework, school projects, laundry, cleaning and birthday parties. Although these are all necessary, they are not as much fun as family date nights. I have had some great family date nights in Chicago. I define family date night as an activity/experience that everyone in my family can enjoy, attend and appreciate. It has to be more than simply going out for pizza. Here are 5 suggestions you might like.
- A Night of Laughter – The Comedy Sportz Theatre, 929 W Belmont, 773-549-8080. Go to the Saturday night 6pm show. Tickets are $23 each. At first I thought I was spending too much money for my family of 5. But the show was worth every dollar. The show was totally age appropriate and the audience was filled with kids. The actors involve the audience constantly and there was no drink minimum. I purchased drinks because we were there for about 2 hours and I spent $20.00. I called and bought my tickets over the phone to avoid Ticketmaster fees and saved some money too.
- A Night of Childhood Memories – The Galloping Ghost Arcade, 9415 Ogden Ave, Brookfield, Il. 708-485-4700. You can go anytime over the weekend. I like going around 4:00pm then going to dinner afterwards. This arcade offers 440+ games and houses almost every popular stand-up arcade game you a can think of from the past 40 years. The best part is you don’t need quarters. It is $15 a person for unlimited open play. If you want to see if they have your favorite game from childhood click here to see their list. Teach your kid to play Qbert, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Rampage, Defender and even Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom. Show them how you were once a gamer and enjoy your flashbacks.
- A Night of Bonding by Cooking – The Kid’s Table in Wicker Park and Lakeview , 773-235-2665. Tickets run between $22.50-$25.00 a person. I was pleasantly surprised by the fun it was to cook as a family. I’ll be honest the fact that it was not in my kitchen made it more enjoyable for me. The classes are Friday or Saturday night at 6pm, which is perfect!! Do not be surprised if you see your kids try a few new things. Since all the kids are chopping, stirring, rolling and tasting ingredients for dishes like veggie chili, salad, cornbread and more – I have found my kids expended their palate just from participating in the cooking class.
- A Night of Culture – The Pop Art Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago. Ave. Chicago, 312-280-2660. The Museum is open from 10am to 5pm on the weekend and the tickets are only $12.00 for adults and $9.00 for students/kids. It might be hard to convince your kids that an art exhibit is a fun night out; but, Pop Art is a great medium for kids to appreciate. Since Pop Art is inspired mostly by media and pop culture it is easy to induce a conversation even with a 5 year old. Obviously, the location of the museum on Chicago's Magnificent Mile offers many places to eat after the MCA and there is always dessert at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop that is guaranteed to satisfy your kids.
- A Night of Service – Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ, several locations. I would not normally suggest a restaurant for family date night because Chicago is filled with amazing food, but my kids love this place! We generally go during the ‘Happy Hour’ times on a Saturday (4pm-6pm). It is entertaining to dine here because the kids end up cooking the food since the tables have a grill in the center. At first, I thought this was going to be dangerous and my kids will just fight over who gets the tongs. But by the time you order all the meats and veggies, you need your kids’ extra hands to cook your meal. The ‘Happy Hour’ prices are less expensive and we spend about 90 minutes at the restaurant. Every time we have gone, my kids have taken pride in the fact that they cooked my meal. I also like it because it is a fairly healthy Saturday night dinner.