Are you team travel with kids? It’s not the easiest thing to do in parenting, but we’ve always loved to travel with our boys since their baby years. Read below for my tips on family travel and a mom’s guide to Chicago with kids!
From road trips to Caribbean vacations, we’ve been able to travel with our boys every year. David and I both love to sightsee and travel, so it was a natural transition for us to traveling with our boys.
Family travel takes a bit more planning, but it can be simpler than you expect when you first think about it.
We have experience in planning family trips in advance and going on last minute weekend family trips, too. Both take some amount of research and finesse, but we’ve managed to have great experiences either way.
While we take the approach of saving money whenever possible, traveling (with and without our kids) is one of our “splurges” that we work really hard to make a priority for our family.
It’s so fascinating to see the tracking and helps us to plan out upcoming travel plans. What do you like to spend / splurge on?
Mom’s Guide to Chicago
Chicago is home away from home for us. We have a lot of friends and family who live in and outside of the city. So, we travel there a few times a year.
I go there often on girls’ weekend trips, but we’ve taken the boys a few times too. We try to do something different every time, so here’s my compilation of the places to eat, play, and sleep when traveling to Chicago with Kids.
EAT – Kid Friendly Restaurants in Chicago
From brunch to dinner, I’ve got you covered. We’ve enjoyed an array of local and chain restaurants in and around the city. Here are our favorites:
Favorite Kid Friendly Restaurants for Brunch / Breakfast
Yolk – Various Locations in Chicago
I’ve eaten at a few different locations and it’s been a delicious meal every time. It does get busy on the weekends, but we usually go pretty early when we’re in Chicago with the kids (because hello wake ups at the crack of dawn). So the wait isn’t too bad in the early hours.
Wildberry Pancakes – 130 E. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60601
Hands down one of our newest favorites. I love just about any brunch menu, but this one is definitely one to try with the whole family. It’s definitely on my list for our next trip.
Grand Lux Cafe – 600 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Tried and true favorite, the kids love walking down and checking out the shops on Michigan Avenue and eating brunch at Grand Lux Cafe. The selection is wide and their brunch bar option is always great for kids, too.
Favorite Kid Friendly Restaurants for Lunch
Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Various Locations in Chicago
The best hot dogs in all of Chicago. Portillo’s is a Chicago-born chain, the whole family can enjoy a Chicago favorite!
The best Mexican street food, in my opinion. Easy to grab lunch spot for the whole family.
Favorite Kid Friendly Restaurants for Dinner
We usually grab pizza for dinner when we’re traveling with kids to Chicago. It’s always their favorite and no fights over what to eat. Both of these are great and the best pizza in my opinion in the city:
Giordano’s – Various Locations in Chicago
There’s several of these throughout the city. We’ve only eaten at the one near Michigan Avenue. We usually shop before and eat dinner before heading back to the hotel for the night.
Lou Maltani Pizzeria – Various Locations in Chicago
The wait time can be long, so make sure you get there early for dinner or call ahead!
Adding our favorite Korean spot, hands down my favorite:
Cho Sun Ok – 200 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Dare I say this is my favorite Korean restaurant ever? It’s a small, hole in the wall gem. The food is the closest I’ve had to homemade and I LOVE the fried rice that they make out of the BBQ meat dishes that you can order.
I think we eat dinner there at least once during our weekend trips to Chicago!
PLAY – Kid Friendly Activities in Chicago
Shedd Aquarium – 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
The boys LOVE this museum. There are so many different areas to explore and they love the Dolphin show. We didn’t get to stop by on our most recent trip, but this is a kid favorite spot in Chicago.
We spent a few hours there during our last trip taking in all of the amazing sea life and exhibits.
The Art Institute of Chicago – 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
I love this museum. I didn’t get a chance to take the boys yet, but it really is an amazing place to take kids to see so many different exhibits. It’s at the top of my list of places to visit in Chicago with the kids on our next trip.
The Art Institute of Chicago also runs special offers throughout the year. It’s definitely worth a visit in my opinion.
Lincoln Park Zoo (free) – 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
The boys love the Lincoln Park Zoo. It is a beautiful zoo with so many animal attractions and it’s free admission! It was a beautiful fall day during our trip in October. There was a fall festival going on with lots of different carnival rides and games, in addition to the regular activities and events.
Michigan Avenue (shopping)
Hitting up the shops on Michigan Avenue and the mall at the Water Tower is also a great time with the kids. They love walking “downtown” to see the big buildings.
And of course, we alway stop by their favorite toy stores. 🙂
Navy Pier (rides, tours, shopping) – 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Maggie Daley Park (free) – 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Maggie Daley Park is a 20-acre public park in the Loop, it’s walkable from Millenium Park, so we visit both spots during our weekend trips to Chicago.
The boys literally have to be pulled from the different playgrounds because they love it so much.
Millenium Park (“The Bean”) (free) – 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602
Another beautiful park filled with greenery and spacious areas to run around and explore and home of “The Bean.” Always a family favorite tourist spot to visit during our trips to Chicago.
Exploring new and old spots in Chicago is one of our favorite past times and this is definitely at the top of the list.
SLEEP – Kid Friendly Hotels in Chicago
Embassy Suites – Downtown Chicago 600 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
This is the most family friendly hotel that we stay at for most of our trips. There’s another location that has all of the amenities closer to Michigan Ave. But, we’ve always stayed at this location because it usually has the better rates.
Each of their rooms are suites, so adults can still hang out and watch TV after the kids go to bed in the room. There’s a separate suite area separated by a door.
They also offer free breakfast to guests that has a wide selection of hot and cold foods.
Hyatt Place – Downtown Chicago 28 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606
On our most recent trip back in October, we tagged along on David’s business trip and stayed at Hyatt Place. The amenities were great. Hot breakfast every morning and the King room had a pull out couch that all three boys slumbered in all weekend long.
We went during the weekend of the Chicago marathon and the boys had a blast watching the runners from our 16th floor room. And during breakfast in the lobby breakfast dining area.
While traveling with kids isn’t always the easiest, the greatness that is exploring old and new cities is always worth it for our family.
Have you traveled to Chicago with kids? Are you planning a trip there soon? Let me know some of your favorite spots!