Selling a home with young children can be stressful. Keeping a spotless home and catering to buyers’ showing schedules isn’t always easy, especially when the littlest family members have unpredictable sleep schedules.
Fortunately, when you need to leave the house because of open houses and showings, there are so many places to discover. Make the most of the chaos, and explore these kid-friendly play areas throughout Chicagoland.
Purple Monkey Playroom. Located in Bucktown, this bright 1,500-square foot playroom is a relaxing space for both young children and adults. While the kids play, adults can enjoy free coffee, tea and Wi-Fi. Day passes are good for a full day and include a weekly storytime and special events.
Sod Room. In the South Loop, Sod Room is an eco-friendly indoor play space made of only sustainable and responsibly-made toys and materials. The space is designed to use as much natural light as possible, features reclaimed wood, and has cork flooring. It also features a retail boutique that offers local and organic products.
Present Place. This Lakeview favorite has an extensive selection of toys, an oversized playset and a play kitchen. Parents can enjoy the free coffee, tea and Wi-Fi.
Monica and Andy Guideshop. This favorite children’s clothing brand also hosts regular events — such as music classes, dance classes and storytimes — at its Lincoln Park Guideshop. With a wide selection of classes during the week, this is a great option to visit for a quick song and dance break — and maybe pick up a new spring outfit while you’re there.
Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo. A lesser-known area of the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo is a kid-friendly, indoor space that includes a treetop canopy climbing adventure. Little ones can climb into the treetops that are meant to mimic a tree canopy. If the weather is nice, extend the afternoon by exploring the rest of the museum.
Waterlemon. Located in La Grange, Waterlemon is a one-of-a-kind play place-boutique-cafe hybrid. Relax with an almond milk latte while the kids explore the tree-house inspired play kitchen, set up a pretend campfire and work out their pent-up energy on the trampoline.
Ball Factory. This Naperville-based indoor playground includes play structures, slides, pedal tractors, obstacles, a ball pit, an imagination playground and more. Little ones (under 42”) can enjoy the parent and tot open concept gated play area, filled with padded cushions, balls and soft lego blocks. While the kids play, parents can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and relax on the comfy sofas.
Little Beans. Parents come to this Evanston staple for the ambiance and specialty coffee drinks, while kids play, learn and create in the indoor play area. After an afternoon of imaginative fun, stay for some healthy and delicious cafe fare for dinner.
Chicago TreeHouse. Lake Zurich is home to this 7,700-square foot indoor playground that lets kids enjoy a multi-level climbing structure, enclosed slides, swings, a soft basketball court and more. As an “unplugged” zone for kids, there are no electronics, flashing lights or arcade games — all play experiences encourage them to stay active and use their imagination. Parents can enjoy the comfortable leather seating, while sipping a gourmet coffee drink and using the free Wi-Fi (with kids always in view!).
Whimsy Play. This Buffalo Grove play space calls itself “a kids’ indoor playground with foodie aspirations”. It is designed around staying active and creative play. Kids can expand their imaginations in the individual play stations, such as a construction zone, hair salon, market and cafe. Before leaving, enjoy a freshly-made panini or cheese plate to return home with full bellies.
As National Pizza Day approaches (mark your calendars for Saturday, February 9!), we must share our favorite local pizza spots. From deep dish to pizza cooked in a coal-fire oven, we’re dishing on some of the best slices in our favorite town, Chicago.
No matter how you slice Chicago-style (see what we did there?), Bartoli’s is serving it up hot and fresh. They have original deep dish that is layered with cheese, fresh toppings, and crust with the perfect amount of doughiness and crispiness. Plot twist, they have a Chicago-style THIN crust, too. Again, layered with the freshest and most delicious toppings, this pie is light and crisp. Regardless of what you’re in the mood for, Bartoli’s has you covered through thick and thin.
While Chicago is known for deep dish, this thin crust pizza will offer you a whole new outlook on crust. Their cooking method comes straight from the name. Coalfire’s thin crust pizza is cooked inside a 1,500-degree oven powered by coal. The result is a bubbly, slightly charred, bursting with flavor pie. With over 15 specialty pizzas (including vegan options) and the option to build your own creation, there is no shortage of deliciousness for anyone.
Delicious creativity at its finest. It is clear Dimo’s looks at pizza like a blank canvas to create something unique and tasty. ‘The Classics’ section houses the usual suspects, but you can also enter a world where mac and cheese adorns pizza, or a world where pulled pork and spicy ranch happily create the ‘Dad Bod.’ (By the way, we’ve only scratched the surface on toppings). With over eight veganized pizza options, no one is left out of devouring these masterpieces.
Serving up wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, Parlor creates these delectable pies with seasonal and local ingredients. Such unique ‘zas include Eggs Benedict (in pizza form, of course), Burrata Be Kidding Me, and Chorizo & Potato. With a menu that rotates seasonally, you’ll always have a slice to excite your taste buds.
Just when you thought Chicago deep dish couldn’t possibly get any better, Pequod’s added a caramelized cheese crust. They started serving up their irresistible, pan-style version of the Chi-town classic back in 1970. To say locals have taken notice would be an understatement. This heavily awarded spot has claims to fame such as “#1 Best Pizza in Illinois” by NBC Chicago and one of Food Network’s “Top 5 pizzas in America”. Drop in their city or suburb location to try out the cheesy greatness for yourself.
If authentic, Southern Italian style pizza is what you’re craving, look no further than Pompei. A family business located right on Taylor Street (in the Italian Cuisine mecca of Chicago), this spot serves up square Napolitano-style pizza, exactly the way Grandpa Luigi intended. Pompei has 20 signature pizza options out for display daily, along with 12 unique ‘Pizza Strudel’ flavors for those looking to step out of the box (or pizza box, that is). You can’t get much more authentic than that.
Valentine’s Day can conjure tired images of a dinner and movie, or an overpriced prix-fixe menu at a restaurant you weren’t thrilled about visiting in the first place. In the true spirit of celebrating love, create your own Valentine’s week instead of dealing with the pressure of creating one perfect day. This year, skip the standard routine and spend the week getting out of your comfort zone, with the one you love most.
Day 1: Become besotted with the theatre
(Monday, February 11)
The start of Valentine’s Day week is also conveniently the start of Chicago Theatre Week. Returning for its 7th year, this special week provides theatre aficionados the opportunity to choose from more than 100 productions across different Chicago theatres at discounted prices. Take in a performance and discover (or re-discover) your love for the theatre.
Day 2: Experience love in the air
(Tuesday, February 12)
If rooftop views just aren’t high enough, The Chicago Helicopter Experience Valentine’s Day packages are a memorable way to enjoy a champagne toast with your loved one. Take in the city from an impressive, once-in-a-lifetime view from above, while commemorating the experience with a keepsake photo.
Day 3: Become enamoured with the tropics
(Wednesday, February 13)
If you were considering a February tropical getaway, look no further than the Chicago Botanic Garden. Play hookie for the day and spend it at the annual Orchid Show exhibit. Transport yourselves to the tropics by enjoying the essence of the South Pacific islands, beaches and rainforests. The exhibit features more than 10,000 orchids in bloom, “under sunlit palm trees and in forest canopies teeming with color and life — lush, vibrant, intoxicating.” Conclude your visit with a bite to eat at the Garden View Cafe. The exhibit runs from February 9 – March 24, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Day 4: Toast to love in the city
(Thursday, February 14)
The big day calls for a big celebration. Visit the Chicago Champagne Fest at the I|O Godfrey Hotel to enjoy an evening of champagne tastings, passed hors d’oeuvres and a sweet table. Sip some bubbles while taking in the city’s impressive skyline views. Thanks to the River North hotel’s stunning fire and water elements, you’ll feel like you’re in an oasis in the middle of the city.
Day 5: Cruise down the river of love
(Friday, February 15)
Kick of the weekend with an Odyssey Riverfront Valentine’s Day Dinner Cruise. Board the boat and situate yourselves at a private table to take in views of Chicago’s riverfront architecture, enjoy a three-course dinner and music courtesy of the DJ onboard.
Day 6: Share your love of the dance floor
(Saturday, February 16)
After a week of indulgence, get moving on at the Old Town School of Folk Music during its Dance Basics for Couples, a two-hour workshop that covers the basics of the dance floor. Join your partner on the dance floor and get moving to the blues, rockabilly and big band hits. By the end of the class, you and your date will be old pros at the one-step, fox-trot and the six-count swing.
Day 7: Devote yourself (for the day) to your devoted’s hobbies
(Sunday, February 17)
If your special someone loves cars (almost) as much as you, conclude the week of love with a visit to the legendary Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place. As the nation’s largest car show, the annual event showcases the latest automotive designs and technologies. The event runs between February 9-18, 2019.
Enter to win a
Ultimate Valentine’s Day Experience
For official rules and how to enter, click HERE.
It’s time to break out that Michael Bublé album and immerse yourself in the magic of the holidays. Fortunately for us, nobody does holiday fun better than Chicago. With that in mind we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most festive events in Chicago this holiday season.
Randolph St. Market Festival | Chicago Plumber’s Hall (West Loop) | December 15th & 16th
Head to the Randolph Street Market Festival to find the most unusual and stylish mix of vintage and modern fashion, jewelry, decorative objects, housewares and hostess gifts available.
Memorable and exciting treasures in all price ranges await you at the Randolph Street Holiday Market.
Frosty’s Christmas Bar | Goose Island | Until January 6th
If you’ve ever dreamed of grabbing a drink with Santa, then boy do we have the bar for you. Frosty’s pop-up Christmas bar in Goose Island is the ultimate destination for festive fun, and lively libations, featuring wall-to-wall decorations across three levels, a holiday themed soundtrack and Singing Santa shows every hour on the hour.
Put on your favorite holiday sweater, grab a festive holiday punch from one of the four bars and get ready to dance the night away.
Plan your trip to Frosty’s here.
37th Annual Holiday Treasure Hunt and Tea Party | Art Institute of Chicago | December 9th
Learn about select works and enjoy an array of family-friendly activities as you visit five stops within the museum’s galleries and the Ryan Learning Center.
Your tour will culminate with a stop by the historic Stock Exchange Trading Room for a tea party featuring delicious refreshments, live entertainment, and a gift bag for each child.
Head here for more information.
Ugly Sweater Party/Beginner Salsa Dancing | Duet Dance Studio | December 14th
If you’re looking to burn some calories, check out Duet’s Ugly Sweater Party to wear your ugliest holiday sweater and get your salsa dance on.
The event includes a 45-minute beginner salsa class, Duet’s student and teacher performances, as well as open dancing and mingling. Guests must be 21+ for this event.
Head here for more information.
Christkindlmarket | Daley Plaza (Chicago Loop) | Until December 24th
There are few events that evoke the holiday spirit more than the annual Christkindlmarket in the Chicago Loop. Shop iconic German items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, and hand-blown ornaments.
Along with traditional toys and holiday-themed items, you can find a bevy of delicious authentic German cuisine like sausages, potato pancakes, beer, and assorted sweets.
Head here for more information on Christkindlmarket.
A Christmas Carol | Goodman Theater (Chicago Loop) | Until December 30th
If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit via theater, this is the event for you.
Head to Chicago’s Goodman Theater to catch the annual run of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This is an event for the whole family, with a message of hope, charity and kindness towards others.
Head here for more information.
ZooLights | Lincoln Park Zoo | Until January 6th
A tradition in Chicago, Lincoln Park ZooLights is something you do not want to miss this wintertime. This is a family-oriented holiday celebration, so you’re sure to enjoy at any age.
Enjoy the luminous displays as well as the holiday-season activities throughout the zoo. ZooLights is free, but be sure to check the schedule before you plan your visit since some nights are special themed events that may require a ticket.
You can find the schedule here.
Christmas Around the World | Museum of Science and Industry | Until January 6th
This holiday season head to the Museum of Science and Industry to explore holiday traditions from around the globe. The museum’s annual celebration features a four-story grand tree surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures across the globe.
On the weekends you can even enjoy live holiday performances and photos with Santa.
Head here for more information on the exhibit.
The Polar Express Train Ride | Chicago Union Station | Until January 1st
If you’re looking to recreate the magic of The Polar Express, look no further. This holiday season, head to Chicago’s Union Station to board The Polar Express Train Ride.
This is a magical one-hour trip through the neighborhoods along the Chicago River that includes all the bells and whistles. Literally, as each passenger gets to take home a keepsake sleigh bell.
For more information on The Polar Express Train Ride, head here.
Winter WonderFest | Navy Pier | Until January 6th
The ultimate destination for indoor family fun, Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest is a favored Chicago holiday tradition spanning across 170,000 square feet of attractions for the whole family, with rides, giant slides, ice skating, and lots of festive decor.
Buy tickets online or at the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest box office until January 6, 2019.
Head here for more information on Winter WonderFest.