Chicago with kids
Hi there, we'll be visiting Chicago for the first time and are looking for a couple of fun dinner spots to go to with two young kids. The kids are fairly conventional eaters (pasta/pizza/burgers/steak) but the adults wouldn't mind something a little more interesting... We're staying near the Art Institute and can walk short distances or take public transit for a few stops. We'll probably grab sandwiches (ideas on where?) for picnic lunches.
Any ideas much appreciated!
Thanks for all the thoughtful ideas. In the end we were so busy looking around your great city we stayed close to hotel at dinner time and had a hilarious loud dinner at Pizano (very good pizza, OK chicken dishes, HUGE portions) one night and a quieter night at the Park Grill (very nice salad, steak and ahi tuna, good kids menu too). The Park Grill is the most "linen tablecloth" place I've been to with kids and I was very impressed with how well they handled them alongside groups of serious adult diners.
We'll definitely be back as there's a lot more to see (and relatives in the area) and we'll check out more places. Thanks again.
If the weather is good and you are at the Art Institute, the outdoor garden at the Art Institute is nice. For lunch try the Corner Bakery - good salads, sandwiches and desserts (either eat in or to go) - at corner of Jackson and Michigan (diagonally across from Art Institute) .Possibly also a pasta dish. Open 7 days. If you are there on a weekday, for lunch you can try the large cafeteria in the basement of 55 E. Monroe (entrances on Adams and Monroe and front on Wabash) (Also eat in or to go) . Many choices. Also, for dinner, there are now many restaurants on Wabash south of Roosevelt Road. They are good and some are not too expensive. If you go early (6 p.m.) you could probably take children - Opera, Gioco. Also, think there are some sushi restaurants on Wabash and on Michigan between Congress and Roosevelt.
Also, check out this article on south loop restaurants. I don't know the date of it but it is fairly recent http://www.chicagoreader.com/features... Also you could try Ada's Famous Deli at 14 S. Wabash. It is not NY deli food but does have things like chopped liver, tongue, etc. Also for lunch try the 7th floor of Marshall Fields (now Macy's) which has many choices, including a Frontera Grill fast food option. Also the basement cafeteria of Marshall Fields (macy's) with many choices (including sushi, salads, hot foods, etc.).
Finally, if you are going to Navy Pier, about 11/2 blocks before reaching there on Illinois St. is Fox & Obel, an upscale supermarket with a very good sit-down (or take out) cafe.
Starting from the simplest:
1. Rainforest Cafe @ Clark and Ohio if your kids are under, say, 8 to 10-years old. Animatronic animals pop up, and there's a simulated rain storm, complete with thunder and lightning, guaranteed at every meal.
2. Ed Debevic's on Wells and Ontario. Kids and adults with a sense of humor will like the sassy servers and the "golden oldies" music tracks. Servers take turns standing on a table or counter to sing along.
3. FoodLife Court in Watertower Place has enough choices to satisfy all ages. You roam from kiosk to kiosk to select (no waitstaff) your food. Kids enjoy the grazing, and the food is pretty good for what it is.
Try these as suggestions:
- Pizano's - really good pizza. (Madison near Michigan)
- Park Grill (at Millennium Park under the Bean
)This is a higher end restaurant (not really fancy though) and they have a nice kids menu. Good place if you would like a more adult meal and the location is great. Outdoor seating too.
- Many chain places - Cosi, Au Bon Pain, etc are on or near you on Mich. Ave. that you can grab and take to Mil. Park for a concert or other activities
- First National Plaza Food Court (Madison and Dearborn - lower level
)Also called Chase Plaza. It is where the Chegall's Four Seasons and a great fountain plaza are located. The food court is at the lower level, by the fountain, and has LOTS of selections. You can then eat by the fountain or the Chegall. Weekdays only and it is usually pretty packed with downtown workers on lunch break so try early or late.
- Wishbone (near West side)
This is a family favorite around our house and worth a bus or cab ride for you. It is a block from Oprah's studio on Washington and they have great southern cooking, but really good kids grub like real mac & cheese, etc. Good brunch spot too.
- River North area - Ed Debevic's, Rainforest, Hard Rock
OK, these are really tourtisty places, but they are fun for kids.
- Trader Joe's - 44 Ontario (near Mich. Ave).
If you are looking for fun take away to have a picnic (maybe at the lakefront or or other), Trader Joe's has some fun grub and they always have great shopping bags (I have a collection!
OK, this is just a short list of stuff in the area, but public transportation can get you to tons of other places around the city that are great.
Also check out:
Hope you have a lot of fun!