Chicago with the family

Chicago Fun with the Family Visit – Day 1

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Our first day in Chicago was action-packed!  Lucky for us it’s a short 3-hour drive from Indianapolis, so even with a stop, we were there early afternoon. We had a lot of Chicago fun with the family on this trip.

Every kid likes to start a trip with candy!

We decided to stop in Merriville, Indiana, and visit the Albanese Factory Tour and Outlet.  The tour was really just peeking through some windows to watch gummy bears being made – but still pretty interesting.  The candy was the winner. 

This store offered just about any kind of candy you could want, so you can bet we stocked up on a few varieties to enjoy the rest of the week! 

They also sell big bags of candies called “oops.”  The gummies didn’t quite make the grade appearance-wise but still taste great.  Fun!

Albanese "oops" gummies at the Albanese Factory Tour and Outlet

Big Bus Tours are easy and FUN transportation for kids

Once we arrived in Chicago, we checked into our hotel and quickly hit the street.  Our first stop was to hop on a Big Bus Tour.  There was a stop conveniently located a few blocks from our hotel so we walked over and chatted with the agent while waiting for our bus to arrive. 

She was super helpful and gave us some great tips and ideas for things to do.  She also shared that by hopping on the bus after 2:00 PM our tickets were good for the next day – bonus!

If you are interested in the benefits of doing a Big Bus Tour (and there are many), check out my blog post on the tour HERE.

👉If you are ready to go ahead and book your own Big Bus Tour in Chicago, head over here to check out the rates and routes.

Our original plan was to get off at the Water Tower, grab a bite to eat, and shop for a bit, but looking at the time we decided to just do the entire loop, go back to our hotel to freshen up, and then take the subway to find dinner near our evening plans.

Chicago 360 from below
View from the Bus of Chicago 360

The subway was easy and quick – my kids had never taken one before so they found the experience interesting.

Dinner and a show for a perfect Chicago evening with kids

Our fun event for the evening was going to see Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre – exciting, right?  

Once we were near the theatre I whipped out my phone and we started using Yelp to find a great place to eat.  The area was FULL of fantastic choices – it’s a nice little grouping of neighborhoods with theatres, restaurants, quirky shops, and brownstones.

We settled upon The Wilde and enjoyed an amazing selection of appetizers and drinks.  The atmosphere inside was dark and cozy but since the evening was nice, we decided to sit outside. 

The top picks for our family were the beets and the crab cakes.  Everything we ordered was delicious, but those were by far the standouts.  No pictures of the crab cakes – they were devoured too quickly!

Food at The Wilde in Chicago

Heading to the theatre we stopped at a little French bakery and the kids each picked a macaroon for dessert. 

It started sprinkling, but luckily there were lots of trees along most of our route to provide some cover.  We were just slightly damp when we arrived.

Blue Man Group was even better than we were expecting – I did a full review on it HERE, so be sure to check it out.  Suffice it to say I’d highly recommend it.

After a quick ride back to our hotel we called it a night.  It was a great start to our summer trip and we have plenty of fun adventures planned for the next few days!

Have you visited Chicago before?  What was your favorite part of the trip?

👉 Ready to book a fun family trip with your kids to Chicago? We almost always stay at The Hotel Blake – we love the location and amenities! Check rates and book YOUR trip at