With an amazing city just a short drive away, we try to go as often as we can. I love a good 24 hours away, no matter the setting. A favorite destination for us is Chicago, mainly because it’s such an easy getaway because we live so close. We booked a hotel last minute, packed a few outfits, talked about what we wanted to do, and planned a few things based off our hotel location. We were all set!
Went off to lunch at Barney's. The Ambassador Hotel is in the gold coast, which is easy walking distance to some of my favorite stops. Barney's was only a few blocks away and has a great lunch. They are kid-friendly with a pretty good view. We had some good food, did some coloring and left without browsing let alone buying and went back to the hotel to officially check in.
I had a lot planned for the evening, so we got acclimated to the room while Arabella took a play break and Windsor napped.
We took a cab to dinner at one of our favorite spots, Quartino. This has been one of my favorite city go-to spots. We would go weekly when we lived there. I was underwhelmed by the food, however. It seemed like the quality and taste went down a little, but thats okay. Maybe it was an off night. I'm willing to give them another shot because in the past I have never had this experience. We did, however, have the nicest server and of course the wine was good.
Arabella is only THREE but begs us to go into the city. She loves it because it is so different from where we live, and it's such an easy short trip.
This time American Girl was "closed" if you know what I mean, so I wanted to plan other fun things. Since it was a little foggy and rainy, we thought it would be a good opportunity to beat the lines and take the kids to Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) Sky Deck. The kids LOVED it, and they were fearless!
It's not a complete evening when we are on "vacation" without a sweet treat to end the night, so we took a cab over to Dylan's Candy Bar. I think Windsor must have pointed to every piece of candy...She has a major sweet tooth! We all collected a few things and headed back to the hotel. We started winding down for the night and were looking forward to the next day.
One of my favorite things to do to make the hotel stay feel extra special is to pack some extra things like comfy slippers, Sukki Skin (duhhhh!) and random face masks (I always throw an extra one in for Greg because he won’t admit it but he loves them! Haha). It’s hard to get to the spa but something about being up in the air with a city view (or nestled in the woods in a cabin) makes you feel like pampering yourself. Because who can get to the spa with two littles and a day packed full of adventure?! So when Windsor fell asleep and Arabella was watching a movie, I pulled out the face masks.
The next morning we ordered room service and used the awesome dining area in our hotel room. We packed up and headed over to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Its free, it's cute, and it's in a beautiful setting. We spent the morning strolling through the zoo, with the majority of our visit watching the dolphins and monkeys.
SPRINKLES cupcakes is a favorite stop of mine, and it's usually our last stop. I love that they have an ATM now because it helps keep the line down. I like to go in because I never get just one cupcake. We bought a half dozen and headed back to the 'burbs. The kids fell asleep on the drive home (the only time they nap these days!) and we had our cupcakes for dessert after lunch!
For all you locals or any Chicago enthusiasts, I hope this post gives you inspiration of what to do in the city in a 24-hour period or how to plan and pack things into your day to a city nearby. Chicago holds a huge spot in my heart because I love it, but every city has so much to do! Most have zoos, fantastic restaurants, candy stores, cupcakes and ice cream shops, museums, parks, shopping, etc. My advice is to plan a whirlwind stay. Even if it’s just one night, your kids will love it. It will break up the week or give you something to do during summer vacation. There is something about going strong and packing a lot in that makes the kids and my heart full, and it’s so fun to experience with them!