Chicago kids speak out on the state of the city


Chicagoans have a reputation for being opinionated folks. As a group, we aren't afraid to speak out on everything from local politics to hometown sports teams and the best spots to grab deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.

But we adults aren't the only ones who love to dish on what makes Chicago such a great city. Our kids have plenty to say about their hometown, too.

Chicago Parent assembled a panel of 12 Chicago-area kids between the ages of 7 and 14 from both the city and the `burbs. We asked them to share their favorite hometown spots, thoughts on how we could improve our city, best local eats and more.

Turns out that these kids have lots of reasons to love the city they call home (and plenty of ideas on what we can do to make it a better place for future generations of Chicagoans).


What is the best thing about being a kid in Chicago?

"Being close to the city gives you a lot of opportunities that people who live in smaller communities don't get to experience, like the art, history, music and architecture." Seth

"Seeing different things every day." Haley

"The public transportation is pretty awesome. I can go everywhere without being able to drive!" Nathaniel

"It is the home of the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and Cubs!" Timothy

"I love to go downtown and explore the city." Drake

"There are a lot of fun and educational programs like the Summer Reading Program at the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Park District after-school programs. You can learn a bunch of different hobbies including music, dancing and sports." Zoe M.


What is the worst thing about being a kid in Chicago?

"Walking to school in the winter." Ulaiassi

"Not having a big backyard." Jake

"There are quite a few shootings in Chicago and they make me nervous. I like to listen to the news on the radio but now I can't listen to the radio without breaking into a cold sweat." Zoe M.

"There is a lot of traffic!" Drake

"I don't like the smell of gas in the city. There are a lot of cars and a lot of gas. It smells gross, doesn't it?" Keira

"It is very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer." Doyle

"Nothing!" Zoe K.


What would you do if you were mayor for a day?

"I would go to see all of my favorite sports teams and get all of the players' autographs." Timothy

"I would let kids eat free across the city. I would also lower the sales tax and cost of gas across the city." Nathaniel

"No school for a day!" Madison

"Everyone has to donate one thing to the food pantry." Zoe K.

"I would have one day when you could go to any museum or attraction for free." Drake

"I would make everyone in Chicago vegan for a day and I would free all of the animals in the slaughterhouses, and I wouldn't allow mouse traps anywhere." Ulaiassi

"I would make a day that kids can be adults. I have always wanted to work even though I am a kid. If kids did this, they might give adults ideas on how to run the city and do their jobs well." Zoe M.

"I would give everyone free candy." Jake

"I would make it so homeless people have places to live, get food and clothes, and shower." Haley


What is the most fun thing you've done in Chicago?

"Windsurfing camp at Northwestern University." Ulaiassi

"I took a tour of the city on a double-decker bus. It was great!" Nathaniel

"Go to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The best part is the butterfly room. They let the butterflies fly free in a room filled with trees, plants and birds. If the butterfly likes you enough, it will land on you." Zoe M.

"I like the Museum of Science and Industry. The behind-the-scenes tour was pretty cool." Seth

"Go to see plays at the Emerald City Theatre." Zoe K.

"I like the American Girl Doll tea. I liked seeing all of the food and eating it. The tea tasted so good because it was actually lemonade." Madison


What would make Chicago a better place?

"I noticed on the expressway that we are now over 700 traffic deaths this year. We need to slow down and drive carefully." Nathaniel

"Stop all of the violence and make the city a safer place for everyone to live." Haley

"Make sure that the parks and city stay clean." Drake

"Recycle!" Madison

"We could add more grass and trees." Keira

"We need a big market, like Pike Place in Seattle. That would be cool." Seth

"I would make Chicago a better place by not allowing anyone to buy guns except police officers." Timothy

"Pollute less." Doyle


Where do you want to live when you grow up and why?

"I want to live everywhere so I can see different perspectives of how people live." Ulaiassi


"Chicago because it is the best city ever." Jake

"I want to live in Hawaii because they have really nice weather and I could be outside all year without being cold." Timothy

"I want to be an author and live in the village where I live-Oak Park!" Zoe K.

"I want to travel a lot when I grow up so I am not sure. Hopefully, I will find a place that I love or maybe Chicago will always be the place that I come back to." Nathaniel


If Chicago had an "official food" what would it be?

"Deep dish pizza." Nathaniel

"Portillo's cheese fries." Haley

"Hot dogs!" Doyle

"Sushi." Keira

"Tacos." Madison

"Carson's Ribs." Seth

Kids Eat Chicago

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