Chicago trip with grandchildren

Old May 24th, 2022, 06:41 PM
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Chicago trip with grandchildren

We are taking our 10 year old grandsons to Chicago for 4 days in late July. Any suggestions for fun activities and “don’t miss” attractions would be appreciated. Also any thoughha on safety. Thank you!
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Old May 25th, 2022, 05:43 AM
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We lived there and our young grandchildren loved to visit us. Lincoln Park Zoo leads the list. They also liked to walk the lakefront pathways. Take them for a ride on the El through the Loop. Museum favorites were the Museum of Science and Industry and the Field Museum of Natural History. Some of ours also loved the Art Institute. Buy them some Garrett’s Popcorn and a Chicago Hot Dog. Walk down Michigan Avenue!
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Old May 25th, 2022, 11:58 AM
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Shedd aquarium, Natural History museum, Lincoln Park Zoo. Walk along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan north of Hancock building to experience the beautiful blue water.
Skip Garrett’s popcorn if they have a long line, I know people who wasted 90 minutes in that line. A better experience would be to make homemade caramel corn with them, simple and delicious!
Have a wonderful trip!
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Old May 29th, 2022, 02:13 PM
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Yes, of course, the Shedd Aquarium. Shedd, the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium are all in the Museum Campus.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2022, 02:45 PM
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We used to go every year when our children were young and they LOVED it. In addition to the things already mentioned, we'd buy Cubs tickets and go to Wrigley for a game, and always eat a meal at Ed Debevic's (look it up -- it's a diner with irreverent waiters and a fun-for-kids atmosphere). At 10, your grandsons are the perfect age for Ed Debevic's. At the Art Institute, we'd stop by the gift shop first and let the kids choose a postcard each of a painting (we'd ask to make sure the particular painting was in the museum at the moment) and then their mission was to find the painting hanging in the museum so they were interested during the mission while we got to enjoy being there. We'd also try to plan a Sunday brunch by a window in the Signature Room of the Hancock to enjoy the view.

A visit to the Bean (Cloud Gate) is a MUST, and the nearby fountains, display with changing face, etc. Millennium Park had a small outdoor cafe with a little putting green; don't know if it's still there.

We never had safety concerns but it has been a few years. The kids (now young adults) have great memories of our trips to Chicago. Have fun!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2022, 02:53 PM
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How could I forget the Navy Pier???? It was a MUST on every trip that we took in good weather. One of my own favorite activities was the Architectural Boat tour. Fascinating.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2022, 03:16 PM
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thank you for all the ideas! Appreciate it!

Originally Posted by bakerstreet View Post
We used to go every year when our children were young and they LOVED it. In addition to the things already mentioned, we'd buy Cubs tickets and go to Wrigley for a game, and always eat a meal at Ed Debevic's (look it up -- it's a diner with irreverent waiters and a fun-for-kids atmosphere). At 10, your grandsons are the perfect age for Ed Debevic's. At the Art Institute, we'd stop by the gift shop first and let the kids choose a postcard each of a painting (we'd ask to make sure the particular painting was in the museum at the moment) and then their mission was to find the painting hanging in the museum so they were interested during the mission while we got to enjoy being there. We'd also try to plan a Sunday brunch by a window in the Signature Room of the Hancock to enjoy the view.

A visit to the Bean (Cloud Gate) is a MUST, and the nearby fountains, display with changing face, etc. Millennium Park had a small outdoor cafe with a little putting green; don't know if it's still there.

We never had safety concerns but it has been a few years. The kids (now young adults) have great memories of our trips to Chicago. Have fun!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 06:55 AM
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HI, rrobinson51 .

RE: Safety
You should be fine in the locations mentioned above (Mag Mile portion of Michigan Ave, Museum Campus, Lincoln Park Zoo, Wrigley), but as anywhere, wear a crossbody bag, keep your head up and smartphone stowed, and avoid crowded areas, especially after dark. (Like Navy Pier, or Millenium Park.) Obviously, gun violence is terrible on the west side and certain areas of the south side, but the tourist areas mentioned usually see only the carjacking/mugging type of crime.

Less for crime, and more about feeling secure and avoiding potentially sad scenarios of mentally ill, homelessness, I'd advise against the subway or elevated trains, and stick to buses, taxis, or ride share (and make sure your ride share driver is definitely the one you called by checking the plate). If you want to do the Brown Line elevated loop train to see the buildings, just be alert to the car you're stepping in to. Some can be filthy, and crowded. The last 2 trains I took from O'Hare were nauseating and broke my heart for what the tourists' first impression of this city would be. Hopefully, you're not driving in the city. I'd keep to daytime activities, meaning being indoors by 8 pm or so. I believe they're trying to implement a curfew for kids 12+ at 10 pm, which I have mixed feelings about, but may be/become the reality. Hopefully your hotel is on Michigan Ave, or Wacker, or someplace bright and busy, and not in the bowels of the Loop. You will likely smell marijuana from time to time, which smells like skunk to me.

Chicago is definitely not the city it was pre-covid so you may encounter some disappointment. The neighborhoods have fared better than downtown, actually. Many places are still shuttered and seems no one is really on their 'A game' with everyone short-staffed, overworked or inexperienced, but there's plenty of places to enjoy, but it's just something to remember so be patient with the workers who showed up.

RE: Things to do
  • On a Saturday morning, I'd bring the kids to the Lincoln Park Zoo, by starting at the Green City farmers market, walking around South Pond, into the zoo, popping out at the north end to see the Conservatory (and use bathroom), maybe continuing up to North Pond, and west over to Clark Street to catch the bus back downtown. If you need a break before the bus, Clark X Deming has a Starbucks or a Collectivo Coffee or Molly's Cupcakes. Clark X Arlington Place has a Firecakes Donuts.
  • The Chicago Architecture River Tour is pricey, so for kids, you may want to look at the Water Taxi from Ogilvie/Union Station to Michigan Ave. You can get the experience of seeing the buildings from the water. (If you're near Union Station, you're near Willis Tower, which has the Skydeck for those not afraid of heights.)
  • Chicago donuts are a thing, too. Maybe google some places near you.
  • Deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's Gold Coast location to sit and eat, or Pizzeria Uno on Ohio for carry-out to your hotel. (Note that a deep dish takes a long time to bake, so I like to order ahead and pick up, not sit in their dingy restaurant space for that long.)
You'll be fine. Just takes a little planning and adjustments for summer in the city. Post back with an itinerary if you want some help with that.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 07:41 AM
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If you fly into or out of O'Hare the blue line from/to the airport is OK anytime from 6AM to 8PM. I arrived on the Capitol Limited Wednesday morning (6/1) and had a great breakfast at Lou Mitchell's about a block west of Union Station before picking up my checked bags. I then got back out to Jackson Boulevard and went east to the Jackson blue line CTA (on Dearborne?). The blue line train was clean and everyone was behaving themselves. I did have to find another train within O'Hare to get to Terminal 5 (Southwest and others).
Lou Mitchell's on the south side of Jackson Blvd. a block west of Union Station is now my favorite breakfast in Chicago. They've been there since 1923 and seem to be doing very well with lots of customers.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 08:20 AM
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I'm glad tomfuller's blue line experience was ok as the city needs travellers badly, but you never know what you're gonna get. My 4 pm Thursday O'Hare to Logan Square ride was in a car that someone had discarded their clothes on and smeared what looked like mud or food on 4 seats so no one could sit down on them, and it smelled foul. A 10:30 trip in reverse, someone had used the car as a bathroom. This was late April, and I was really surprised how disgusting the train was when I took that trip. Were I with my family, I would have felt awful to have exposed them to that.

Last edited by ChgoGal; Jun 3rd, 2022 at 08:26 AM.
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