Teach kids about culture by visiting Chicago


We force our kids to take Spanish lessons. We drag them to museums to learn about French impressionist artists and we encourage them to read "Fancy Nancy" just to get a few French words into their blossoming vocabularies.

But we've found that the best way for our kids to understand the world is to feed it to them, to let them play in it and to help them love it instead of making them learn from books, worksheets and classes.




Take them here King Spa Sauna

Why In this massive traditional Korean sauna, children are invited to relax along with the adults. Older kids will love this place (there's not much to do for children under age 8 or 9) because you basically walk around from sauna to sauna. Discuss how the salt room makes your body feel, and then run from the hot sauna into the ice room and back again. There are Jacuzzis, shower areas and movie rooms with continual movies being played day and night (it's open 24/7).

Make them squeal Take a break for a little Korean food at the small cafeteria-style restaurant and grab some shaved ice for dessert. It's a full Korean immersion here.

Details 809 Civic Center Drive, Niles, (847) 972-2540, kingspa.com




Take them here Bonjour Café Bakery

Why One of the best parts of visiting France is sitting down at the café, ordering an espresso and a pain au chocolat, and listening to the beautiful French language being spoken around you. It just feels très magnifique. Here, the pastries are authentic, the employees only speak French and the quaint atmosphere is exactly what is lovely about a French café.

Make them squeal Grab them a macaron and a hot chocolate, sit them in a little seat and maybe they'll pick up a French word or two.

Details 1550 E. 55th St., Chicago, (773) 241-5300




Take them here Szalas Restaurant

Why When you step into this wooden cabin, you're entering Poland. Or what can pass for over-the-top Poland in Chicago. You'll sit in a converted carriage where you will eat traditional Polish fare (come famished and wear adjustable-waist pants) while watching the live Polish entertainment.

Make them squeal It's the experience that makes this fun (there are better places for Polish food). So let your child pull the chain on the bell to request permission to enter this restaurant. Prepare to be transported back to a time when doorbells didn't exist.

Details 5241 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, (773) 582-0300, szalasrestaurant.com



Britain and Ireland

Take them here Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro

Why Catch a cricket, rugby or football game (American soccer) at this traditional pub and introduce your child to English and Irish sports while eating classic British fare (Shepherd's Pie, fish & chips).

Make them squeal Explain the rules behind a rugby game: Essentially, there are no rules, so watch the real-life drama that ensues, complete with delicious accents.

Details 3905 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, (773) 248-3905, irishbistro.com




Take them here Mitsuwa Marketplace

Why It's a supermarket the size of Walmart, filled to the brim with exotic Japanese fruits and veggies (you can still get your normal stuff if you want to do your shopping while you're there), live fish, random pickled vegetables and even a Japanese bakery.

Make them squeal The food court is better than any American food court we've ever seen-and has everything from sushi to ramen to Japanese burgers.

Details 100 E. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights, mitsuwa.com


Kids Eat Chicago

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