“Help! My family is coming to visit me in Chicago!”
Fear not my friends! As you already know, Chicago is filled with things to do, places to eat, and sights to see. It’s choosing which are most parent-friendly and most exciting that can be a challenge–if I had my way, it’d be nonstop burgers every time my parents came to the city! Take a gander at my recommendations for Chicag0-centric parent-approved restaurants and activities:
I’ve mentioned this spot before and for good reason; it’s delicious. Better yet, there’s not one, but several menu items to satisfy all types of diners–steaks, ribs, pasta, chicken, you name it. And it’s all cooked up in the best way possible. Mom and dad will enjoy the ambiance and impeccable service, as well as the food and cocktails. Pro tip: order the MSG Wings. You’re a fool if you don’t.
Tapas: the perfect meal for groups of people with varied tastes. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba is my favorite tapas place in Chicago for a bunch of reasons–it’s affordable, tasty, and offers a fun and vibrant atmosphere. Order several small plates to share with the ‘rents and I guarantee everyone will be satisfied and happy. Try the garlic potato salad, the rioja-braised short ribs, and the skewered chicken and chorizo sausage–and save room for the mini-desserts!
Who doesn’t love a good steak? My dad is always up for a steakhouse, and Chicago Cut is where it’s at. Located right along the Chicago River, this place is spot on with the most delicious cuts, sides, and desserts. Skip the chain steakhouses and make sure to come to this one–along with your steak, make sure to order the lobster mac n cheese and the whipped potatoes.
Of course, Chicago is a brunching city. Mom and dad will LOVE the all-you-can eat options at Fremont. A waffle station. An omelette bar. A carving station. A seafood tower. A donut tower. And a TON more. Their bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary bar are among the best I’ve had in the city (and this girl loves to brunch!). Go hungry and don’t make dinner plans for later that day–Fremont has you covered with one ginormous meal.
For the sushi loving fam, Sunda is the perfect place. Creative and fresh-to-death sushi rolls, beautiful cocktails, and a trendy yet inviting atmosphere; what more could you want? Make sure to order the Firecracker and Spicy “Tail of Two Tunas” rolls!
Things to do
Whether you enjoy the game of baseball or not, a day at Wrigley Field just can’t be beat. The history of the field alone is enough to make any parent nostalgic and the hot dogs are by and large the best in Chicago. Pro tip: check StubHub for tickets–you’ll be surprised at how cheap they can be!
See the most beautiful and historic buildings in Chicago on the Architecture River Cruise. The tour is only 90 minutes, runs down the Chicago River, and offers a TON of great information that will appeal to both visitors and locals.
It sounds like an odd parent-friendly suggestion, but hear me out. Vintage video games and a fun atmosphere make a for a fun, competitive afternoon with the fam. My parents loved playing all the old games (and I learned my mom is really darn good at Ms. Pacman!) and had a blast beating each other. Pro tip: head to Headquarters during the day–way less crowded and a great afternoon activity.
Chicago History Tours
Chicago was a haven for some of the most notorious gangsters and criminals including Al Capone and John Dillinger, and many of their crime scenes still exist today. The Chicago Crime Tour and the Chicago Gangster Tour are two educational yet exciting ways to learn about the history of Chicago crime. Jump on a bus with a knowledgeable tour guide and hear about the craziest criminal acts in U.S. history. It’s a fun afternoon and you’ll get to check out some cool stuff, like Frank Nitti’s escape vault.
Do you come from a family of sports nuts? Go check out the Chicago Sports Museum, located in Harry Caray’s restaurant in Watertower Place. There, you’ll be able to test your jumping skills compared to MJ, see how fast you can stop a puck, and try on a replica of The Fridge’s Super Bowl ring. A wealth of history and memorabilia from all Chicago sports is disbursed throughout this museum and definitely worth a look–the best part is that you can get free entry with your dining receipt from Harry Caray’s!