Chicago for Tweens
Chicago is a perfect weekend getaway for tweens
I recently had the opportunity to visit Chicago with just my son. For school-related reasons my daughter (and therefore husband) couldn’t join us so it became a fun one-on-one trip. Not something we get to do often, so it was very special.
We arrived Friday night at our amazing room at the Wyndham Grand – it was the perfect location, easy to get everywhere, and with awe-inspiring city views.
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Once I parked my car, we used Uber or good old-fashioned walking for the rest of the weekend – it was lovely to not think about driving, parking, etc. However, I do want to caution everyone to be very careful with valet parking – we ended up with some theft issues that were never resolved – and this was at a very nice hotel and expensive parking spot (which is why we’ve switched to The Blake for future stays).
Enjoy the sights at night
We knew our Friday night adventure would be the 360 Chicago Observation. After enjoying the views – loved the ice breaking up on the water – we walked across the street to do a little shopping at The Water Tower. I actually remember shopping there as a kid so it was nostalgic to share that experience with MY kid.
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As we had a full day planned for Saturday, we just grabbed quick salads and “fancy” drinks at The Cheesecake Factory just outside the mall. I rarely do chains when traveling, but that’s what my kid wanted and this was his weekend …
Visit Chicago museums to keep your tween entertained
The next morning started bright and early with the goal of seeing how many museums we could visit in one day (and still enjoy them!). We also placed bets on how many steps we’d walk – any guesses?
Our first stop was the Adler Planetarium. We visited the planetarium last summer, so this time we spent a lot more time reading and learning about the areas my son was currently studying in school. We also grabbed a quick bite to eat here and I discovered a delicious new breakfast.
Side note for allergy sufferers: For those of you with food allergies, you know how frustrating it can be when you ask a server if an item contains nuts and their answer is “I don’t know.” (Really? Maybe you can find out?) That was the response I got when I asked about the scones in the cafe. Since she seemed unwilling to help me out, I checked out the pre-packaged items and picked out a dip made with greek yogurt, feta, tomatoes, and balsamic served with seed crackers on the side.
I wouldn’t have selected this for breakfast normally but it seemed like the best option available. Turns out it was delicious – and something I will definitely make on my own later! So, I guess you never know when a frustrating situation will lead you to something positive!
When we were ready to leave the Planetarium, it was pouring down rain. Luckily the museums are all in a row on Museum Campus so we quickly walked over to Shedd. I haven’t been to Shedd Aquarium since I was a kid so I was excited to spend some time enjoying it.
It was very busy – obviously the thing to do on a rainy and cold Saturday in February, but we still enjoyed checking out the different areas and watching the dolphin show and we especially liked the 4D experience – it was a very interesting documentary on predators. My favorite animal was this guy enjoying some ice cubes:
There is just one more museum on the Museum Campus and that is The Field Museum. Although it’s my son’s favorite, we didn’t spend too much time as we were getting hungry and ready for a break. We walked through his favorite areas and then headed back to the hotel.
After a quick lunch break at the hotel, we were back at it for our final museum of the day – The Museum of Science & Industry. Back in June, my son and I opted to skip this museum to spend more time at Field, so I was excited for him to get to experience it. As I suspected he loved it and I think it’s his new favorite.
So how many steps did we walk? 15,479. Not bad!
Enjoy a relaxing dinner
After such a fun-filled day we were pretty exhausted but in the mood for something nice for dinner. Just across the street from the Wyndham was the perfect spot – Fisk & Co. With a table by the window, we enjoyed people-watching and excellent food.
Fisk & Co. is known for its raw bar and mussels with a side of Frites. My son opted for a steak and Frites meal while I enjoyed the smoked trout rillettes. With a glass of wine for me (and a mocktail for him), it was the perfect ending to a busy and exciting day.
End the trip with a sweet treat
Sunday we were up early again and walked over to Stan’s Donuts for a breakfast treat. After scarfing down our donuts, we took our drinks and walked the city a bit before starting the drive home. Aside from a stop for lunch at Fair Oaks Farm, it was a windy but uneventful trip back to reality.
Have you ever taken just one child away for the weekend? Where did you go and what did you do? I’d love to hear about it!!!
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