Chicago: A Great Destination for Families
It took 108 years for the Cubs to win the World Series again, but Chicago instantly captures hearts and minds with “so much great shopping, dining, intriguing architecture, and history,” says Abby Lagman, a Virtuoso travel advisor from Las Vegas. “The city is amazing, and the buzz is always fun.” It’s easy to get around, and there are plenty of kid-focused museums and attractions – as well as a pizza place around every corner, she adds. Here, Lagman shares her Chi-Town choices.
Highs and Lows
Topping Lagman’s list of must-dos is the Tilt, a popular attraction at the John Hancock Center (875 N. Michigan Avenue) that leans forward 30 degrees from 1,030 feet above the city: “Definitely not for those afraid of heights, but such a fun way to see the gorgeous Chicago skyline!” Another favorite is the coal mine exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive), where visitors descend a mine shaft and ride the rails in a “working” mine. You can also walk through a real U-505, the only German submarine in the U.S. (“Super-cool for kids of all ages,” says Lagman.) Budding paleontologists should visit Sue the T. rex – the world’s largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil – at The Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Drive).
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
The Chicago deep dish at Lou Malnati’s “is not like any other pizza you’ve ever had,” says Lagman, who recommends preordering before being seated to shorten the inevitable long wait. The River North location (439 N. Wells Street) is a quick Uber ride from Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph Street) “where you can take selfies at The Bean.” She also suggests families with older children try at least one meal at The Purple Pig (500 N. Michigan Avenue), which she describes as “an adventurous foodie’s paradise.” The tapas-style menu features octopus and fried pig’s ear, along with house-made meatballs for less-daring palates. Tip: The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so visit during off times or leave your cell number with the host and check out the nearby shops until you get a text that your table’s ready.
Where To Stay (Especially for American Girl doll fans)
Lagman lauds the Waldorf Astoria Chicago (11 E. Walton Street), particularly for American Girl doll fans. The hotel (“a peaceful and beautiful retreat”) offers a special package that includes doll-size robes, slippers, and a keepsake travel bed, along with house car service to visit the flagship store: “A great idea if you have an American Girl doll that’s part of the family!” The Luxury Suite with a fireplace and furnished terrace has room for everyone.
For a grown-up time, Lagman recommends Untitled (111 W. Kinzie Street), a sprawling supper club with a speakeasy vibe and a 400-deep whiskey library. Live entertainment spans Billie Holiday tributes to burlesque shows.
Top photo: The Field Museum in Chicago (Gino’s Premium Images, Alamy).