There's something to be said for playing tourist in your own backyard, and the best place to set up housekeeping just happens to be the very welcoming Hard Rock Hotel.
A hotel that prides itself on a good vibe, the super-friendly Hard Rock staff put us in a hip corner room on The Who floor overlooking spectacular Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue. The hotel's spot on Michigan Avenue is perfect, placing so much within walking distance.
We used it as home base as we shopped along Michigan Avenue and State Street, listened to the street performers wailing on their saxophones and banging on their bucket drums, and hit Chicago pizza staple Giordano's to fill our tummies with deep-dish pizza. We ended the night watching the big screen TV from the super comfy beds and munching Garrett Popcorn's Chicago Mix.
Hard Rock Concierge Scott Thompson knows his city. We put him to the test the next morning, asking him to create a family-friendly day for us that included music. He was eager to help.
But first, breakfast. Based on his recommendation, we hit Wildberry, for the most amazing breakfast of Oreo s'mores pancakes and red velvet French toast. It's within walking distance of the hotel. He warned us to be prepared to wait, but it is definitely worth it.
We burned off the calories romping around Millennium Park across the street.
To fill out the musical component, Thompson directed us to Buddy Guy's Legends, which hosts acoustic music open to all ages during lunch hours Wednesday-Sunday and dinner hours. Best to call ahead before heading over just to double-check.
Plus, the Hard Rock Hotel is its own little musical trip. Grab the directory from the room and visit each of the 21 floors to check out the memorabilia. It's encouraged. The kids thought it was huge fun to end the day checking out the artists' outfits and guitars.
Don't forget to take advantage of the downloadable playlist Hard Rock offers as a reminder of the stay. Now when a song on the playlist comes over the car's speakers, the kids start talking about the fun they had at the hotel and their "see Chicago like a tourist" visit.
Tamara is the editor of Chicago Parent and mom of three.
See more of Tamara's stories here.