Mother Hoods: Chicago
Written by James Kicinski-McCoy
Photography by Photograhed by Matt Savage
Visiting the Windy City anytime soon? Check out our Chicago guide from mama Stevi Savage, full of her favorite kid-friendly spots that she likes to hit up with her four-year-old son Rhodes and more. Stevi also shared how to visit Tulum with a baby a couple of years back, so if you’re headed south of the border in the near future, be sure to have a look.
What are your favorite places in Chicago to…
Eat with the kids?
Our go-to spots are Antique Taco, Bang Bang Pie, Heritage Bikes and Coffee. Antique Taco is kid-friendly and so addictive. I’ve never had cravings so strong for any other food like I have for Antique’s tacos and they are Rhodes-approved too! Bang Bang Pie has the best outdoor pie garden with ample seating and shady umbrellas, and Rhodes loves sitting at the mini kids’ picnic tables. It’s the perfect gathering spot for families and we have lingered there for hours on a Sunday afternoon. The menu is full of both sweet and savory brunch plates and, of course, delicious pies. Heritage is the neighborhood hangout and Rhodes and I typically stop by after school a couple of afternoons during the week. His favorite snack is a cinnamon scone and apple juice and I usually put in an order for an iced decaf latte (sometimes lavender flavored!). All three of these places are owned by the nicest, hard-working, dedicated people you could ever meet, which is another reason we love to support them.
Eat with adults?
Five Rabbits Cerveceria has a taco night every Thursday! The tasting room is beautifully designed and has a cozy atmosphere for getting together with friends and trying out all of the beers on tap. Personally, I always go for the Ironica IPA or the Prickly Pear Paleta on a hot summer day! The Hampton Social is my new favorite lunch/dinner spot, great for an afternoon work meeting, date night, or getting together with a group of friends.
Shop for kids?
Heritage Littles is our favorite neighborhood spot for kid shopping and their community events are a plus, too! Aside from selling the best balance bikes around (perfect birthday or Christmas gift for a 3-4 year old!), they host happy hours and monthly pop-up shops featuring all types of kids’ clothing, accessories, and toys. Lilla Barn Clothing, Half Pint Shop, and Iddy Biddy Baby are all Chicago-based online shops that sell unique, modern handmade kids clothing. Land of Nod is another one our favorite places to shop for kids and is where we typically end up when we are looking for the perfect baby shower or birthday gift for our friends. We love participating in the fun store events (story times, craft parties, etc.) as often as we can.
Shop for yourself?
About a-year-and-a-half ago I committed to trying out a lifestyle of capsule wardrobes for a full year and along with that came no shopping for anything new and only using what I already owned to build out each of my four seasonal capsules, so I don’t have a current answer for this one. If I were to go shopping for a friend right now, there are a few places I would go for gifts! Watercolor art by Tiffany Wong, watches by Le Coeur Watch Co., bags by Chelli Harms Collection, and for flowers and knick knacks I’d head to Fleur.
Play with your children?
Brooklyn Boulders! Even at three years old, Rhodes loved going to the climbing gym and attempting to climb up the rocks with our help. Now, being four, he has his own harness and is learning to feel more confident climbing on his own.
Play with your adult friends?
Chicago Athletic Association is a beautiful place to spend an evening with friends downtown. They have billiards, bocce ball, shuffle board, checker’s tables, and great food and drinks! Don’t forget to head up to Cindy’s rooftop to take in view of downtown from its open-air terrace.
Get out in nature?
Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’ve found nature in the city, but we do love the bird sanctuary at Montrose Harbor for an easy escape and to spot some wild life!
Any good flea markets/thrift shops?
I’m not much of a thrifter, so I’m going to change this one up a bit and recommend the best pop-up market in town! Dose Market, which happens a few times a year, is my favorite. It is a highly curated pop-up with many of Chicago’s best makers, artists, designers, and chefs. There’s truly no other place to find an all-in-one stop to shop for such a variety of unique goods and curious finds (and great food, too!).
Any good museums?
We love the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, which is one of the least touristy museums in the city. Once temperatures start to drop, we visit at least 2-3 times a month when we are looking for something fun to do outside of the house. Being in Lincoln Park, it is easily accessible with plenty of free street parking. The museum is small and completely doable in just one or two hours, which is perfect for keeping the experience from feeling too overwhelming. Lincoln Park Conservatory, just across the street from the nature museum, is another great spot that we like to hit up on cold, winter days!
Where do you take out-of-town visitors?
On an architectural boat tour! Over the past few years, the river walk has developed into an exciting place to explore and take in some great views of downtown! And, of course, the fireworks and the ferris wheel at Navy Pier are hard to beat when it comes to experiencing the excitement of Chicago!
Any tourist-y places that are worth it to visit?
Grab a cocktail at sunset on the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower! It’s a great way to take in a bird’s eye view of the city, yet skip the lines and pricey tickets for the Skydeck at the Willis Tower. Crown Fountain is the perfect place to cool off with kids during the summer, while taking in all the beauty of the city around you!
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