With great restaurants, top hotels, and tons of kid-friendly attractions, Chicago is an ideal family vacation destination.
Combing the cuisine of Brazil (think lots of meat!) with the spirit of Texas (think big portions and lots of seconds!), this steakhouse is great for families who want to try a lot of different things. With 50+ items on the salad bar—including roasted vegetables, fresh artisan breads, charcuterie, imported cheeses, authentic Brazilian dishes and other specialties—you will not leave this restaurant hungry. The service is amazing—friendly and attentive, without being intrusive—and the selections of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and sausage all cooked over an open flame and carved tableside by the Gauchos means even the pickiest eater will find something he likes. Be sure to leave room for dessert; both the Brazilian and American sweet options are delish.
Where to Play:
When traveling with kids, it can sometimes be hard to plan each day’s itinerary, but CityPass makes it easy. The pass allows access to the following attractions:
During our stay, we hit the Skydeck (the glass ledge felt like we were literally walking among the skyscrapers); the Shedd Aquarium (my kids loved the 4D Shark movie and the dolphin show); the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Adler Planetarium. The nice part about the CityPass is you can spend a few hours—or all day—at each attraction and wait until the morning of to figure out where to go.
Chicago is known for its architecture and one of the best ways of really getting the experience—and history—of it is through a river cruise. The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago's First Lady Cruises is a 90-minute informative tour up and down the Chicago river. It’s narrated by a CAF-certified docent and this expert told us about Chicago's various architectural styles and the stories of the people who designed and built the city. Highlights of the tour include the Tribune Tower, the Chicago Riverwalk, and the Wrigley building.
Parents looking for a little R&R should hit the Exhale spa, located on the Gold Coast. Treatments range from facials and massages to scrubs and acu-healing. My favorite is the 90-minute Fusion massage, a customized treatment that focuses on getting all the kinks out, while still providing a relaxing experience. Exhale also offers a variety of barre, cardio, and yoga classes — all well worth a try.
So come to the Windy City for great food, interesting attractions, and the famous Midwestern hospitality.
Main image: The author and her boys enjoying a fancy breakfast at Margeaux Brasserie.