Our family recently returned from four nights in the Windy City. My husband was there on business and the three kids and I flew in to meet him once his conference was over.
This was all part of an elaborate plan and a Christmas present to our kids and ourselves. We managed to book our flights on points and gave each of our three kids a plane ticket to Chicago for Christmas. Our youngest is less than two so technically we didn’t give her a ticket because she still qualifies to be lap held and doesn’t require a seat. Shhhh, don’t tell her that though or she may feel a bit ripped off!
Since we gave the kids a vacation for Christmas, we coordinated with Santa who brought them tickets to Chicago attractions. Our eldest daughter got tickets to see Alice at the Looking Glass theatre. What a production this was! Our daughter, who is 9.5 high fived me in the middle of the show and said “Great job getting these tickets Mommy!” … and by Mommy, I think she meant Santa. Please tell me she still believes!
Santa brought our youngest tickets to the Children’s Museum located at the Navy Pier. We spent at least two hours here and the kids ran from exhibit to exhibit. There were interactive games and displays including an archaeological dig, a forest adventure, building, climbing, water runs and heaps more!
Our son is a REALLY big Chicago Black Hawks fan so we called in a favour with a very good friend who has connections with the Hawks organization and scored (no pun intended) amazing tickets to the game. To make matters even better, the Hawks were hosting my very own and beloved Winnipeg Jets! We wore our team shirts and made signs and I almost got beat up when the Jets scored and I stood up and cheered.
Our travels often revolve around food and Chicago was no exception. We sampled Deep Dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s, prosecco, cheese, charcuterie and olives at the new Eataly location. The Eataly concept was something we discovered in Florence last summer and we are begging them to open a location in Vancouver! We brunched at Dusek’s Board and Beer and paired our brekkie with some outstanding beer based beverages.
After a long day out one day, we quickly ducked in to Macy’s on State St. for a quick shop in pursuit of a new pair of boots. We accomplished that mission pretty quickly but the kids were getting pretty hangry and agitated so we decided to eat in the Walnut room that opened in 1907. Judging from the decor, menu and the long term server we had, it doesn’t appear as much has changed over the years. This reminded me of going to lunch at the old Eaton’s restaurant when I was a kid.
Of course we also sought out the closest independent coffee shop to our AirBnb apartment. Huge props to the guys at Hero Coffee Bar for making us feel like locals.
On our last full day, we tackled the famous Shedd Aquarium that was recommended as a “do not miss” while visiting Chicago. The aquarium very much reminded us of our own VanAqua as they housed dolphins, belugas, sea otters, had a 4D theatre and other shows and exhibits. After several hours, we were pretty aquariumed out but before we left, we picked up a few souvenirs, including this really sweet Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef book.
We had an absolutely fabulous time and could have used one more day to explore Millennium Park and the famous Jelly Bean but this also gives us an excuse to go back one day, especially to see the huge new playground that opens this summer!
Until next time Chi-town. XO