Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Little Help From My Friends

Our summer vacation this year is a short trip to Chicago. I have been wanting to visit Chicago for a long time, so I'm pretty excited about this vacation. We have heard about so many wonderful things to do that my head is spinning. It probably doesn't help that I've read four or five travel guides already. I just don't know how to narrow it down to a manageable handful of great fun. Jeffrey and I don't want to push so hard that there is no time for relaxing, either.

So far, we have our hotel and a plan to take Sloane to the American Girl Place. She has been saving every bit of her money for a year and a half in order to purchase an American Girl doll. At the time of this post, Sloane is not certain which doll she will get. She loves Josefina and really wants her. But, Sloane also loves Samantha and likes her clothes better. (Molly is my favorite, in case you were wondering.) My bet is that once the American Girl movie about Kit comes out, it will be a Kit doll for certain. Our project from now until our trip is to finish reading all the Meet.... books. That way Sloane will know every girl and find it easier to make a choice. For the uninitiated, American Girl dolls are beautiful but expensive dolls. You can buy clothes and furniture and so on. Each girl is the character in a series of books set during different times in U.S. history. The books came first and remain great children's literature. Many of my students have become fans of history and the historical fiction genre by reading the American Girl doll books. Yikes!! I didn't mean for this post to be about dolls, American or otherwise.

Actually, what I wanted was to ask for your help. I imagine that several of you have visited or live near Chicago. Please tell me, what wonderful things should we do while we are there? Sloane will be with us the entire time, so all entertainment must be kid-friendly. We are not huge shoppers, but love a good deal. I love home stores and we live for art museums. We are all big readers, in case you know of a great used book store or two. We do know about Tyrannosaurus Sue at the Field Museum and the Chagall windows at the Art Institute. Those are the only definites on our list. I've been enamoured of the Hyde Park neighborhood since reading Chasing Vermeer, but would Sloane be completely bored? We've heard of SO many things that sound wonderful (including an IKEA). Please help!!

Any thoughts? Tips? Favorite restaurants? Favorite stores? Places to absolutely avoid? Money saving tips? Thoughts on transportation? I really would appreciate your advice. Can you help me?

The photo above was taken by Flipped Out.


Christina said...

Hmm... let me think. Ginos East for deep dish pizza. the aquarium, the field museum. It sounds as though you will be headed to michigan ave... wow if I come up with anything else I will stop back. Don't leave chicago without having the deep dish pizza, it's a must. Yum!

Ken said...

Thanks for linking my photo of the Bean ... so definitely, Millennium Park should be on your list. It is just a block south of the Art Institute, so you could visit both on the same day. Make sure to have a change of clothes (and swimwear) ready for your kid ... the Crown Fountain is interactive and she might not be able to resist playing under the water.

Laura said...

Hey, I have an idea...You want to see the Hyde Park area...there is an absolutely wonderful and great museum in that neighborhood. The Museum of Science and Industry. It has been fascinating children and adults for years. It is an absolute gem and I think you would all love it. Check it out online. Also, there are two used book stores in that neighborhood. Powells and 57th Street books!

I will think of more stuff later.

Dulcy said...

Make sure you ride the train!

Have a blast!!!!!


Ragamuffin Gal said...

Wish I could help you with Chicago, but I bet Dulcy really could! I had a super great time today ~ sorry it was shorter than I'd have liked it to be. My favorite doll is Julie. I'll tell you why next time I see you! K

Jessica said...

I've only driven through Chicago a couple of times, but haven't stopped there. I was going to suggest American Girl Place, but you are already going there! Last summer I read all the American Girl books aloud to my neighbor every summer morning. They are great books...and there's lots of new girls since I was little. I'm sure your trip will be wonderful!!!
And sure, use my lounge pants away!! That would make me very happy! Happy Thursday!

Beth said...

I love chicago, but I am a shopper... or at least become one when I get to Michigan Ave.

I think you are on the right track....laura knows her stuff for sure and I bet she'll come back with more ideas.

The one place we always stand in line for is the popcorn and Garretts....that's a must have/must do !!!

Patti said...

I live south of Chicago and love it! You will have a wonderful time in our city! I agree with the other posts: Garretts is great for popcorn, American Girl- a must, Gino's East for the pizza! My suggestion is Navy Pier - lots of stuff goes on there including a Children's Museum and many free outdoor concerts. There are quite a few types of boat rides as well- one favorite one is an architectural/ historic tour on the Chicago River, as well as the Sea Dogs the go out onto lake Michigan (a favorite 7th grade field trip at my school). Whatever you choose will be fabulous and fun! Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I would check out Navy Pier. There is a huge ferris wheel that is lighted up at night and they do fireworks on Saturdays at 10:15. There are also boat tours that you can go on of the city, most of them you can catch at Navy Pier. Or they have double decker tour buses that looked like fun. Go to the top of the John Hancock Building...96 floors and grab a soda...awesome view. There is a Cheesecake Factory Restaurant fight by the Hancock building where you could eat lunch or grab dessert. It is also fun to eat Tapas (mini appetizers) in order a lot and share with your group.

Oldies, but Goodies