Lunch between Midway Airport and Michigan
Hi! My husband, preschoolers and I are traveling to Michigan to visit family. We're flying into Chicago Midway and are driving to Michigan around lunchtime. On our way, we wanted to stop to have lunch and maybe let them run around a bit. Going to Millenium Park seemed ideal but I'm not sure if that's on our way or in the opposite direction or if there is food nearby. We would love someplace other than fast food places. Any suggestions of nice places we can have lunch with the kids en route to Michigan? We're actually staying a few days in Magnificent Mile and I'm looking forward to it after all I've read on this board. Thanks for your any suggestions you can give!
Millenium Park is not far out of the way although getting off the freeway is, of course, not necessary en route to Michigan. (I am assuming you are referring to the state and not the avenue.) Parking might be an issue, but if you don't mind finding a parking space, there are lots of places to eat in the area. Are you willing to venture off the freeway and drive to the park area? (It's really not hard to get back on track from there.)
And what sorts of food do you have in mind? Full lunch? Sandwiches? Ethnic?
But maybe I misunderstood your
Right across from Millennium Park is the Park Grill, a full-service restaurant. They also have a much more casual Park Cafe; if you want to picnic in the park, you can pick up sandwiches and chips here. A third option is their outdoor dining area, right in the park, where you can sit and eat. If you have a nice day, this sounds like it is ideal. The menus for the Park Grill and the outdoor Plaza Grill, I think its called, look very good to me, but I have not eaten at either. A few of my colleagues did the outdoor cafe in the evening, and they really enjoyed it. In any case, I'd call and make a reservation, inquire about parking, etc.
What I do know is that, my husband and I often make a two-hour drive from Chicago into Michigan to see family. And we make a point of eating lunch in Chicago because we have never found a good place to eat anywhere close to the freeway on that trip.
I should say that I misread your OP and assumed you were driving from O'Hare, not Midway. From Midway, you'd be backtracking a bit, but not much. But if you have the time and it is a nice day, it's not that far; it would be worth the trip. I guess it depends upon your tolerance. We don't mind driving a little out of the way for a nice experience and good grub! Millennium Park, whether you're eating or not, is a wonderful experience for adults and kids alike.
Soon after you leave Millennium Park, you can be on the Skyway and on your way to Michigan via Indiana. You may encounter traffic (it's Chicago!), you may encounter road construction (that could happen anywhere). If those possibilities are frightening, by all means, bypass the city.
You never said when you will be taking this trip. The time of year, or for that matter the day of the week, would be critical to any answer I (or anyone else) might give.
Millennium Park is VERY MUCH out of the way, and if you're traveling on a weekday, you risk being stuck driving through rush hour on roads that are under construction. It wouldn't be pretty. Besides, you said you would be staying a few days in Chicago, so you will have ample opportunity to see Millennium Park.
You would be be better off driving for about 45 minutes to get to NW Indiana. When leaving Midway, go south on Cicero to I-294 SOUTH, then stay on I-294 until it ends and becomes I-80/94 EAST.
Here's one suggestion. The second exit in Indiana is Indianapolis Blvd, go south on Indianapolis Blvd about 1 mile to Ridge Road. On your right will be a LARGE park called Wicker Park that would be great for the kids to run around. About a half-mile south of Ridge Road is Miner-Dunn, a sit-down diner that has been written about here and on other Chicago-area food sites. A little farther south is Round the Clock, another sit-down diner that is VERY kid-friendly and offers great value for good food.
Without the kids I'd suggest taking the first exit in Indiana (Calumet Ave) south for two miles and going to the Three Floyds brewpub. The beer is nationally-known and has become a cult item (particularly Dark Lord).