Multigenerational travel is a growing trend in tourism, and it’s easy to see why — exploring new places and having the grandparents around to help with the kids is one perk, while being able to sneak away for a just-the-two-of-you date night is a luxury all its own.
Encourage your clients to extend the invitation to the extended family, and enjoy all the multi-age attractions, family-friendly eats, and date-night escapes that Chicago has to offer.
Lincoln Park Zoo
There are ways for everyone in the family to go a little bit wild at this escape in the heart of Chicago. At this free zoo, kids will of course get a kick out of the animals, as well as daily activities that let them feed cows, meet a few fantastic beasts up close, and watch keepers train marine mammals. Older visitors will also appreciate the zoo’s history (dating back to 1868) and cutting-edge conservation.
Another Chicago institution with all-ages appeal is the Field Museum, home to Sue, the largest T. rex ever discovered. Along with historical exhibitions like Ancient Egypt and Evolving Earth, families can watch fossils being prepared, visit an interactive PlayLab, watch 3D movies, and much more.
Located on the museum campus alongside the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium lets kids laugh at silly sea lions, touch slippery sting-rays and marvel at aquatic performances. Aside from the more than 32,000 animals to see, kids will love the Polar Play Zone, where they can try on a penguin suit, slide through ice-like tunnels and explore a kid-sized submarine. Parents and grandparents might enjoy learning about Shedd’s Great Lakes conservation efforts and animal rescue programs.
Broadway In Chicago
Check the ever-evolving Broadway In Chicago calendar of shows to see what’s in town at theatres like the Cadillac Palace Theatre and James M. Nederlander Theatre. Family-friendly musicals like past Disney’s Aladdin are a great opportunity to give kids their first taste of Broadway.
Little Goat Diner
This is a modern Chicago diner sure to please. While pretty much everything on Chef Stephanie Izard’s creative, crowd-pleasing menu of burgers, salads, sandwiches, and shareable snacks is kid-friendly (two words: Choco Taco), there’s a separate kids’ menu with waffles, mini-dogs, and more.
This Southern-style BBQ joint has high-quality meats, rare bourbons and an upscale ambience that caters to adults, while a generous kids menu includes fun foods like pulled-pork sliders, mac ‘n cheese, “potato smiles,” and a cookie or sundae for dessert.
The River North location of this famous deep-dish pizzeria is still a family favorite after all these years. Order a couple of pies for the table (there are also thin-crust options, more-manageable for little hands), and let the kids loose on the graffiti wall — a great way to keep them busy before the food arrives.
Tapas for tots? Indeed. This classic Chicago tapas restaurant presents the perfect opportunity to expand the little ones’ palates with Spanish cuisine that’s as healthy as it is delicious. Order a pitcher of sangria for yourself and some pint-sized pintxos for the kids and everybody will be saying gracias for the awesome pick.
Harry Caray’s Seventh Inning Stretch
Located along The Magnificent Mile, Harry Caray’s restaurant offers both an excellent array of menu items and a sports history experience for visitors of all ages. Guests who dine at Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch restaurant and sports bar will receive complimentary admission to Chicago Sports Museum, where you can experience interactive skill challenges and a collection of historic sports memorabilia.
Mom and dad date nights
Perhaps the best part of traveling with the extended family? The chance to sneak away for a just-the-two-of-you date night while the kids bond with grandma and grandpa. ‘Scuse you while you kiss the sky at Chicago’s dazzling rooftop bars, like Cindy’s (atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel), with its snuggly firepits and intriguing menu of potions, elixirs, and boozy popsicles. The swanky, tri-level rooftop terrace at the LondonHouse peers over the Chicago River and iconic Wrigley Building, while AIRE, at the Hyatt Centric Loop Hotel, offers 360-degree skyscraper views of the Loop.
Chicago river cruise
While the kids and grandparents are having solo time, kick back on a Chicago Sunset Cruise with Wendella that’ll give you majestic and mood-setting skyline views. Or, hop on a Spirit of Chicago Cocktail Cruise that winds past landmarks like Willis Tower and Marina City.
All that jazz
Paint the town with a true Chicago experience: live jazz and blues. South Loop icon Buddy Guy’s Legends, Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park, or Blue Chicago in River North are just a few of the electric blues clubs your clients will love.