chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

Having grown up a midwestern gal, I spent a lot of time visiting Chicago and doing the prom dress shopping thing and deep dish pizza thing. Also, knowing my father, we went to a few cultural points and zoo’s to give the trip some street cred. And because zoo’s are where it’s at. Prior to this trip, our last visit to Chicago looked a lot different. We’ve swapped back stage at Lollapalooza for stroller friendly hot spots. While I’m sure Parker is going to have her fair share of concert experiences early on in her life, for now, we just enjoyed the spots that would accommodate a stroller. If you’re planning to visit Chicago with a one year old, this is how things went down for us!

chicago travel guide visit chicago kids
chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

We’ve become so spoiled with Airbnb, but that’s not always the easiest when you’re  visiting a walking city with a baby. We didn’t want to travel all that way there and then be a bit secluded from our main destinations (we were, after all, in town for a wedding). It was either stay downtown where we could get around to everything, like we do in New York, or stay in an Airbnb but pay for cabs to and from everything. Both are totally do-able, but being New Yorkers, we like to walk everywhere. So, we opted to play tourist and stayed in a hotel downtown. Since Parker was still on two hearty naps a day, we were able to venture out easily and go shopping, walk around to a lot of places we wanted to see, but still be able to easily pop back by the hotel for any needs.

chicago travel guide visit chicago with kids
chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

Millennium Park. Not surprising as it’s a must see for anyone who visits Chicago, but something about watching Parker just stand in awe of a big shiny mirror (aka “The Bean”) where she can just stare at herself at all angles. Kids are super narcissistic.  Once she had her fill of her own reflection, we went over to the huge Pritzker Pavilion where she could run wild and free. Perfect spot for a little picnic and relaxation too.

Navy Pier. Yes, it doesn’t get more touristy than this spot, but they have a giant ferris wheel and a carousel and nothing is cuter than babies sitting on a carousel. And she was free to run around and be a kid. Also you can jump on a boat tour here, which are the perfect way to get a full view and gorgeous pictures of the city. Same goes for New York. Boat tours are like the hidden gems.

chicago travel guide visit chicago kids

Chicago Riverwalk. A series of public walkways and seating areas offers interesting views of the city. Great way to weave in and out of some cool neighborhoods and also get some quality walking in! 

Shopping. Oh, the shopping! We were just a short walk to Michigan Ave, so while Parker was napping, I got to easily jump over and score some finds. Plus, we were close to Trader Joe’s and Eataly, so we could pick up some snacks and things for P to eat. With a child now, it really is more about convenience!  

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Noteworthy places that are worth a cab ride with baby in tow:

Bang Bang Pie 

Una Mae’s

Milk & Honey Cafe

Randolph Street Market

Lincoln Park Zoo

Frank Lloyd Wright House

Hemingway House


* We get a lot of questions about what travel stroller system to use, you can see the base and the carseat here! *

visit chicago travel guide with kids the bean