Tuesday Travelers: Chicago and Family Fun Landmarks

by Carrie with Children with 2 comments
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Tuesday Travelers series! This week, Melisa tells us all about her hometown of Chicago!  I’ve heard so many fantastic things about Chicago and I’ve always wanted to go for St. Patrick’s Day and see the river turned to green!  I’ve never tried Chicago style deep dish pizza too, so there’s another reason I need to go there!  Check out Melisa’s recommendations for “can’t miss” hot spots in Chicago!

Keep reading and learn all about it – sounds fun! (psst…wanna be a featured traveler? Here’s the scoop!)

I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share my very favorite city (and my hometown) with you today, on Travel Tuesday!

What do you think of when someone mentions Chicago? Chances are, you think of deep dish pizza, hot dogs, the Cubs (okaaaay, maybe the Sox), crooked politics, and frigid winters. Nothing wrong with that, but Chicago is so much more. It’s truly one of the most fabulous cities in the entire world. (<—– totally unbiased opinion)

I recently published a book called “Chicken in the Car and the Car Won’t Go: Nearly 200 Ways to Enjoy Chicagoland with Tweens and Teens”, and people ask me all the time for suggestions on can’t-miss Chicago destinations. Let’s say that you’re coming to Chicago for a day. What do you need to see?

One of the best (and most beautiful) attractions in Chicago is Millennium Park. Situated just north of Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park used to be an old, ugly railyard. It was transformed over several years into a real jewel. It’s home to Cloud Gate (known to locals as “the Bean”), a beautiful mirrored, kidney bean-shaped sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Other park features include the Pritzker Pavilion, which is a great place to catch a musical performance OR, on Saturdays, a free workout on the great lawn, and the Crown Fountain, two tall glass-block towers whose rotating faces of Chicagoans “spit” water on the people below at regular intervals. Make sure to visit Millennium Park during the day AND at night for different perspectives.

Just up the street from Millennium Park is the DuSable (formerly the Michigan Avenue) Bridge. It crosses the Chicago River at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, which is a bustling, beautiful corner on which to stand and admire the skyline, the river, and the brass plaques in the sidewalk that indicate the location of the original location of Ft. Dearborn, which is where Chicago got its roots. I could literally stand at this corner and/or on this bridge for hours and watch the world go by, without the smile leaving my face.

An architectural river cruise is a relaxing and entertaining way to learn more about the city while getting up close and personal with some of the world’s most famous buildings.  There are many boats out there: I’ve taken cruises with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, Wendella and Shoreline Sightseeing and they are all really good.

If you’re into museums, Chicago has some of the world-class variety, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute, just to name a few. The best strategy is to figure out what your family really likes, and go from there.

Of course, don’t forget to try some deep-dish or a Chicago dog while you’re here, to get a well-rounded Chicago experience!

Planning a visit to Chicago?  Get more information about my book (which is great for people of any age, really!) at its website, http://chickeninthecar.com.


  • Molly

    My family loves Chicago, thanks for posting this. My husband is from there, so we get to go visit often. We’ve been to Millennium Park, and the kids loved it. I’ll definitely be checking out your book too!

    • Melisa

      Thanks Molly! 🙂