Traveling around the world with kids is always an exciting adventure, but did you know that you could do the same in Chicago and never actually get on a flight? Chicago is a city made up of neighborhoods, informal when they were first settled, but now each represents a distinct global community where immigrants have settled and grown. With so many distinct neighborhoods creating a cultural smorgasbord, it can be hard to choose just a few to visit.
If you want to explore the world in Chicago with kids, try these five neighborhoods for the adventures that will keep them busy for hours and thrilled for days.
Chinatown, on the southwest side of Chicago, is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in the city because it is everything one thinks of when you envision a Chinese neighborhood. There is actually the old and new Chinatown districts that collide and spread out, but it is easy to see, shop and dine out in both sections of the neighborhood. Start out in Chinatown Square, where kids can find where they fit into the Chinese zodiac and check out all the stone and metal statues. Shop the stores in both the new and old districts for trinkets and mementos of your trip. Finally, pick from the dozens of restaurants along Wentworth Avenue, or in the new mall and finish off the meal with a stop at one of the local bakeries or smoothie shops.
Andersonville’s Swedish Community
Head north to Andersonville, where the view is a little more urban Scandinavia and shops, museums, bookstores and restaurants of Sweden collide with the rest of Chicago. Andersonville has a small town vibe to it, and is very family and kid friendly. Stop in at Ann Sather’s for a traditional Swedish meal, learn about Sweden and the Swedish immigrants that helped settle Chicago at the Swedish American Museum and then take kids to hang out and play in the numerous toy, book and gift stores that line Clark Street.
Little Village of Mexico
For a taste of Mexico, Chicago actually has two options, but Little Village is slightly more touristy, kid friendly and colorful. Start your trip out near the arch that welcomes you to the Village and keep walking down 26th Street. You’ll find an abundance of bakeries, restaurants, stores that import goods and items from Mexico and even Mexican candy stores. Pick a festival or parade day and you’ll be in for a treat that will include the music and dancing of Mexico where ever you turn.
Nearest downtown Chicago, Greektown is a small community of close knit neighbors and business owners that keep the area alive. Try a restaurant with a patio garden or rooftop dining to give kids an excellent view of the city they might never have the chance to see in this way. Stop by the cultural center where kids can learn about traditional Greek dress and customs, and then take them out to find some traditional Greek pastries at any one of the corner bakeries turning out authentic dessert daily.
Also on the south side of Chicago, Little Italy will whisk you right back to the Old Italy, where families that have been here for generations still keep the same traditions and have planted roots that they mean to keep. Every block has their own favorite Italian restaurant that everyone supports, bakeries that have been patronized by Chicagoans for generations and sidewalk ice cream windows that are the place to be every night. The cultural and professional contributions of Chicago’s Italian community are celebrated at the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, where young sports fan will enjoy looking around at all the displays to find sports moments they know of.
Now, after all of that being said, there is a great deal on an amazing hotel to share with you!
I had the chance to stay at the Hyatt McCormick Regency and LOVED it — and, because I did, I get to share some amazing rate specials with you!
- The first one is their link to their new Stay & Play package! It’s a new package that’s good for leisure travel and is a $69 value for $30.
- The second link is the Social Media Special Rate. This rate is discounted anywhere from 20-60% off the regular rate of the day. It’s not available any day of the year, but when it is, you can get VERY, very low rates (we’re talking the $79-85 range). Great for ANY Chicago upscale hotel, right?
Now, I stayed in an executive suite — but it was attached to a very nice “standard” room. Fridge, TV, etc are all common and you can make your plan of attack for your 5 day-5 country tour! We were MORE than comfortable for our 5 day attack on the International Home and Housewares Show! The staff was exceptional, even down to Jeff in security. We DID have a small issue with our room keys — they never seemed to work more than one time and we kept getting new ones, LOL! I have an even dozen and am thinking of something crafty to do with them.
Hyatt Regency McCormick Place – 2233 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Chicago Il