There are a lot of things for families to do in Chicago -- more than you could ever realistically get to. I know what our family loves to do, but I wanted to reach out to some other Chicago-area parents and hear about their favorites. I decided to begin this guest posting series with my friend Beth Prystowsky, the blogger behind Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom. Beth is a mom of two, housewife, yoga teacher and writer living in Chicago. Find her on at twitter at @upsdownsyogamom.
Here are Beth's top ten picks for family activities in and around town.
10. Lincoln Park Zoo. This may seem like an obvious choice, but it is FREE and provides hours of education, entertainment and exercise. Really nowhere better to spend on a summer, spring or fall day. It is even open in the winter for Zoolights.
9. Beat Kitchen. Every other Sunday the club offers afternoon kid’s concerts. The kids and parents alike love the music and pizza. It can be loud and crowded which may be overwhelming for some kids like mine.
8. Green City Market. Steps from the zoo, Chicago’s largest twice weekly market offers the freshest fruits, vegetables, herb, flowers, cheese, bread and smoothies. Little ones love tasting the samples and learning how the sellers grew the items on their farm. The Market often attracts live music, jugglers, bubble men and a crepe stand that alone makes the trip worthwhile. Street parking is difficult, but an expensive cash only lot is available.
7. Chicago Children’s Museum. Located at Navy Pier, this museum teaches our kids in a funny, active way. Areas with fire trucks, fossil digging and construction offer interactive experiences in a safe way.
6. Pickles Playroom. On those days when you don’t have the energy to interact and wish you could do work in a coffee shop; this is it. Part playroom, part coffee shop, part hair cuttery equals win, win, win for all involved. Of all the newly opened play spaces, this seems to offer something for all ages from babies to older kids.
5. Chicago Public Library. With many locations throughout the city, the library is the only place you can leave with stack of books and videos for free. The museum passes offered are often available and provide a family four pass of free passes to most of our city’s museums. The wide spectrum of readers makes for great people watching, plus I love to surround my kids with books.
4. Montrose Beach. Up north this lakefront spot offers loads of free parking as well as bike trails, concessions, a skate park and dog beach. It is an ideal place to spend a summer morning watching dogs playfully swimming in Lake Michigan. In the winter, Cricket Hill in the best sled hill in the city.
3. Margie’s Candies. The old school candy shop offer gigantic sundaes with a signature wafer. Tables have juke boxes which entertain and astonish our children of the iPad era. This antique gem is a special treat for all ages.
2. Emerald City Theatre. This theatre company introduces children to theatre in a fun interactive environment. Emerald City creates theatre experiences that inspire early learners through play. Kids love the variety of classes and camps offered.
1. Wrigley Field. Sitting outside in the middle of the city on a summer day watching baseball and eating a hot dog is a childhood memory that I hold on to tight. My kids are following in my footsteps enjoying the historic landmark and rooting for the underdogs.
I'd love to hear from you next. What are your top ten favorite activities for families in Chicago? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to guest post.
Tags: Beat Kitchen, Beth Prystowsky, Chicago Chiildrens Museum. Emerald City Theatre Company, Chicago Public Library, Lincoln Park Zoo, Margie's Candies, Montrose Avenue Beach, PIclles Playroom Green City Market, Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom, Wrigley Field