Family Chicago Trip

What a weekend! Our friends (Brooke & Ryan) live in the Lakeview area of Chicago, and invited us to stay with them. This was both the girls' first time in Chicago, so we were excited to take on the challenge of a kids weekend in the city. I'm going to tell you what we did, where we ate, and some helpful tips.


We arrived in Chicago around noon, and immediately headed out for lunch at Lou Malnatis. We snacked on cheese bread and the "Malnati Chicago Classic" which was a deep-dish pizza with sausage. I was blown away by how great it was! A lot of my friends on Instagram said this was their favorite pizza in Chicago. It was a perfect way to start our trip.

Next, we drove down to the Lincoln Park Zoo. This is obviously a great stop for kids. There is free street parking, and the entire zoo is free! Our favorite exhibit was the gorillas. You can get up really close to them, and they are very interactive. 

For dinner, we went to Big and Littles. After our drive and busy afternoon, we wanted something quick and easy for us and the kids. It's a counter-service restaurant that specializes in burgers and tacos. Also, it's B.Y.O.B. We packed a cooler with our own beer and wine! I ordered the Hawaiian burger and truffle fries. 


This is us standing outside of the cute town homes where our friends live. We woke up early and drove down to the Shedd Aquarium. You have to get there early! We arrived at 8:30am (It opens at 9am) and there was already a big line. Once we got in we immediately got our tickets for the dolphin show. (Brooke let us know they sell out quickly, so we made sure to get the time slot we wanted.) We hit the most popular exhibits first. Sharks, stingray touch, beluga whales, and the penguins. 

The girls were absolutely amazed by everything. Admission is pretty expensive ($40 adult, $30 child), but there are tons of awesome exhibits that make it worth the price. You could literally spend all day there. 

After 3 hours, the girls started to meltdown. We skipped the crowded cafeteria in the aquarium, and ate at the hot dog stand outside instead. I had a delicious Chicago dog for only $4! 

During nap time, the husbands snuck away for a couple hours and went to the Half Acre Beer Company Brewery. I'm sure they appreciated the break. Lol! 

For dinner, we ate at Tuco and Blondie. This place was awesome! Modern Mexican menu, great margaritas, and kids eat free from 4:30-6 pm. The girls chowed down on quesadillas, grapes, and ice cream. We ordered the "Tijuana Picnic", which was one of each of their tacos + rice & beans. Our favorite was the "Chili Braised Short Rib" taco. Cory was obsessed with the beans, and dipped all his chips in them. The interior/decor was super cool, and I love that they are so family-friendly. This is a must-go! 

After we got back from dinner, Brooke and I went down to Wrigleyville for a few hours of girl time. 

We went to the Old Crow where they had a country band, (Justin Fabus), and got the "Strawberry Hoedown" drink. Made with moonshine and muddled strawberries, these were so yummy! 


We had breakfast at Batter & Berries! You have to eat here! You also have to get there before 8am. People start lining up a half hour before it opens. 

The menu is crazy. All the combinations were so unique and fun. They have their famous "French Toast Super Flight", which is one of each of their french toasts. 

Cory ordered the Oreo french toast. Just look at that beauty. 

I ordered the "Chipotle Shrimp Omelet" (weekly special), cheesy hash browns, and the blueberry french toast. Guys, this was a whole life experience. 

Next, we took the train (the "L") downtown. This was one of the activities Lux was most looking forward to. 

We stopped at the Bean and took lots of photos! The girls loved seeing their reflection everywhere. 

Then we walked to the Navy Pier. It's a long walk. Maybe next time we will take the trolly. Haha! But, the girls loved looking up at all the skyscrapers, and being in the exciting energy of the city. 

After we explored Navy Pier, we took the "L" back to Lakeview. We saw Cheesie's right by the bus stop, so naturally we had to go in and get something. It's a super-casual bar feel, with arcade games and a rowdy football-game-watching crowd. I ordered the "Popper" (cheddar, cream cheese, fresh jalapeno, and bacon on sourdough bread.)  Cory had the "Tenderizer" (cheddar, mozzarella, hot sauce, bacon, fried chicken tenders, and bbq sauce on texas toast.)

So, that was our weekend! We are exhausted. We came home and fell asleep with all our bedroom lights on last night. Haha! I'm so grateful for Brooke & Ryan. They were so kind to let us stay with them, and they were extremely helpful (and patient) with the girls. I feel like we really got the local experience!


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