The opportunity to do this guest post came at a perfect time. It's funny how that happens, but Husband and I were lamenting the fact that we wouldn't be able to take a vacation this year due to his lack of available time off. We truly enjoy our vacations, they are at once busy and fun filled but thoroughly relaxing and good for our souls. We enjoy the family time our vacations provide; the kind of family time where you're not trying to get somewhere or do something around the house. In my opinion, the best kind of family time; where you just get to be. So when I was offered this guest post on a staycation we went all the way. We booked a hotel in downtown Chicago and had a lot of fun (even if we were only gone 24 hours).
On our way into the city we stopped for dinner at a restaurant called Chickpea. It's Middle Eastern cuisine and it's amazing. I highly recommend the trio of dips and the falafel sandwich. The kids shared Dajaj Mihshew which is grilled vegetable and chicken kebab with rice. However, Daughter ended up stealing a lot of my sandwich (which was okay because I filled up on the trio of dips).
If you're near downtown Chicago (which we were because we stayed there at the fanciest hotel I've ever stayed at), Millenium Park is awesome. There are always people there and when we went there was a concert by the Grant Park Orchestra at the Pritzker Pavillion. Oh and the concert was totally free (at least for the lawn) so we didn't feel bad only staying for part of it.
After we were done with the concert there was a must stop (requested by Daughter) at the Bean. It's technical title is Cloud Gate, but if you call it that you will look like a tourist. All the cool people call it the Bean.
We took our photos in it (along with 20 million other people - that may or may not be an exaggeration), and I think it will be the family photo. You should also be sure to walk under it and look up. It's a really cool effect and I did take a photo of it, but you should be surprised if you ever go.
After that it was a short walk to the fountains. We let the kids wade, but it was a little late at night for our kids to don their swim suits to go all out. It didn't stop other kids though and I would highly recommend bringing a swim suit.
The fountains will spit at you and I think every child but my two love it. Daughter will run away from it and Son doesn't really move much when he's just wading. He just stands there, but if he's in a pool he wants to be all over. Go figure.
The next morning we had breakfast (I would say brunch, but when it's 8:30 in the a.m. it's breakfast) at Eleven City Diner. It's a newer restaurant, but it has to old school feel of a true Jewish Delicatessen. Or at least that's what I'm told. I've never had bad food there, but if you can't decide where to start, I recommend the Open Faced Turkey Sandwich if it's lunch and then Eleven City Diner French Toast or the Tom Waits for breakfast. Unless you have a large appetite you will probably not finish any of those. If you go during the school year you might have to put up with some Columbia College art student hipsters, but it's a small price to pay for the amazing food. Other people also seem to love that they have Egg Creams, but not me.
After breakfast we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry. Chicago has a ton of great musuems to choose for and all of them are family friendly (even the Art Institute - Daughter actually really likes that one). We chose the MSI because we're members (so it was free), it's very interactive, and the weekend we were there was the Taste of Chicago downtown and the Pride Parade on the Northside. We wanted to avoid all of those. Here are some things you can do at the museum:
experience 80 mph winds
discover how strong air streams can be
baby chicks! (always very popular)
After the museum we headed to Medici (Obama used to eat there - that is either a positive or negative for you, if it's a negative, don't hold it against them the food is amazing) for lunch, put on the swim suits and let them play in the splash park almost directly across the street from Medici.
Before going home we picked up some milk shakes from Medici at the to-go counter. It took Son about 10 minutes before he was asleep. I'd say that's the sign of a fun day and a good staycation.
Before becoming a Mom Sarah received a Master of Arts degree in Sociology and worked with troubled youth. Currently she enjoys staying at home with her two young children and crafting whenever she has free time. You can see what she's up to over at Cerlandia