A few weeks ago, I had the chance to experience the many kid-friendly attractions that Chicago has to offer. Having only been to Chicago once before in the winter, I was excited to experience it in the summer with my daughter in tow.
We stayed in the Embassy Suites as part of their 300% MORE summer travel campaign where we learned great getaway ideas and tips for traveling to Chicago with Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown as our home base. This was collaboration with Travel Expert Samantha Brown who has been sharing the top family destination activities and insider tips so that families can make the most of their vacations.
With only two nights and three days in Chicago, we made the most of our trip by seeing the city on foot where we visited the Chicago Childrens Museum, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Magnificent Mile and Wrigley Field. It was a lot to soak in but we had a blast in this very walkable city where we explored the many fun attractions and things to do.
Where we stayed: During our adventure, we stayed at the Embassy Suites Hotels in Downtown Chicago. As a part of the Hilton Worldwide Brand, we stayed in a luxurious two-bedroom suite complete with a separate living room with a couch and a desk, a microwave, mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, an extra sink, two flat screened TVs, and much more. I really loved the separate living room since it allowed me to go there when my daughter was sleeping so I could catch up on work. Another bonus was having the refrigerator, which we used to store snacks and waters from the Trader Joes across the street.
Our favorite experience at the hotel, though, was having the chance to participate in an omelet-making competition. One of the best features that the Embassy Suites offers is full breakfast buffet for all of their guests. This includes an omelet station, salads, fresh fruit, cereal, muffins, coffee, juice and much more. Our group was competing to see which omelet would be served the next day at breakfast. With the ability to only use four ingredients, we made 'Tofu Surprise' using tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and parmesan cheese. Our omelet didn't make it but it was fun creating and testing out the different creations from our group.
Another cool part of the Embassy Suites is that they offer a business center with free Wi-Fi - making it easy to check email or print out anything that you may need. My daughters favorite part of the hotel was the pool, which we went to morning and night. Since it was open until midnight (for all guests), we had a blast enjoying night swims.
What we did: I mentioned briefly what we did, and one our favorite things to do was the experience at the Chicago Children's Museum. The cool thing about the Embassy Suites Hotels is that they partnered with the Association of Childrens Museums so families staying at Embassy Suites Hotels on a MORE-day will have access to guest-only VIP conveniences at their local childrens museum, like a discount at the gift shop or access to a VIP entry line.
Located at the Navy Pier, we loved the interactive museum that took my daughter to a firehouse, pretend animal room called 'Ready Set Pet,' and had her climbing ropes like a pro. She also loved the Dinosaur Expedition where she could dig for bones and the cool WaterWays room where she could play with water. Through play and discovery, the exhibits also focus on literacy, math, science, health, visual and performing arts.
After the museum, we walked around Navy Pier where we saw a collection of shops, restaurants and rides. Attracting more than 8.6 visitors a year, my daughter was excited to go on her very first Ferris Wheel. Going around once, the 15-story Ferris Wheel allowed us to see beautiful Chicago from afa
Another favorite part of our trip was our visit to Millennium Park. Located in the downtown Loop of Chicago, I was really impressed by this beautiful and clean park that featured a collection of art like the Jun Kaneko Exhibition, the Crown Fountain live art water display, and Cloud Gate (aka "the Bean"). We also happened to arrive during Family Fun Festival, a free kids festival from Target that had tons of hands-on activities like block building, art, books on display, live music, and tons of hulla hoops for kids (and big kids) to enjoy. My daughter said her favorite part of the park was Crown Foundation where she could watch the interchangeable LED faces as they sprouted water from its 50 feet high towers.
Right across the street is the The Art Institute of Chicago where we explored their collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. As the second largest art museums in the U.S., the museum also includes American, Old Masters, European and American decorative arts as well as Asian, modern and contemporary works of art. Our favorite exhibit was the Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity where we viewed art and fashion from the mid-1860s through the mid-1880s. It was really interesting for my daughter to see who couldn't believe people used to dress "so fancy."
Another unique experience to our trip was being to able to tour Wrigley Field. I personally don't know that much about baseball, but after our tour I really was able to appreciate this iconic stadium as I learned more about the home of the Cubs. Built in 1914, this extensive tour took us to various seats in the stadium as we learned all about the history of the stadium. My favorite part was listening to our passionate tour guide who has been working their for 60 years! We also had the chance to take pictures in the dugout and watch as the greenery was being tended to before the game.
What we ate: As a New Yorker, pizza is pretty much the norm around here, but pizza is completely different in Chi-town where we noshed on traditional deep-dish pizza at the legendary Gino's East. We loved the thick and buttery crust that we enjoyed with a fork and knife and finished off with some tasty pastries.
We also ate at the American Girl Cafe where we were amongst my daughters favorite American girl dolls. We had lunch where my daughter enjoyed Tic-Tac-Toe-Pizza and I had Broccoli Quiche. In general, you should make reservations since seating is very limited.
What we didn't see (but want to next time): With our trip being short, we managed to pack in a lot of fun adventures but there was also a lot that we didn't get the chance to see. Next time, we want to check out the Chicago Botanic Garden, the John Hancock Observatory, the Adler Planetarium, and Lincoln Park Zoo where we are excited to return with our whole family!
Travel Channel host and new mom, Samantha Brown is also working with the Embassy Suites and shared her favorite places to visit in the Windy City:
For more information, visit embassysuites.com, facebook.com/embassysuiteshotels and twitter.com/EmbassySuites.
Momtrends was not paid for this post. Our accommodations, food and activities were paid for by the Embassy Suites Hotels.