Finding an indoor place space for the little ones to amuse themselves in Chicago can make any parent feel like Goldilocks. Some feel too small, others too big. Some have coffee, others have animals. Some have no adult seating, others have seating but no line of sight to the actual children playing. Food for purchase, but no outside food allowed. Not enough toys, too many toys with batteries …
If you go
3701 N. Ravenswood Ave. #247248, Chicago
Tuesday – Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.Saturday & Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
First child, ; Sibling (6 months+), ; Additional sibling(s), Children under 6 months: Free with paid sibling
Excuse me for a minute while I short circuit. Okay, there we go. Brain back online.
When I stepped into Present Place it felt like all my wishes for an indoor play space had finally come true. Mostly it felt like it had been designed by actual, real-life parents of actual, real-life little humans (which, incidentally, it was). Drenched in natural light, this play space offers both pretend play and active play structures. There are no toys with batteries, lights, or manufactured sounds. There is a pretend kitchen play space. There is the obligatory play space train table. The back wall is filled with couches for parents to enjoy and rest while the kiddos enjoy themselves. There are shelves filled with books for a multitude of age ranges. There is a special area for babies and crawlers only. You can purchase healthy snacks or bring your own food and sit at the table with real high chairs that you would find in your own house (and even store perishable items in their refrigerator!).
And there’s free coffee and tea for the grownups. (Maybe I should have led with that.)
What I like most about Present Place is that it has everything to keep the young ones happy while also not overwhelming the senses. Kids can climb or read. They can play in the pretend kitchen or ride on the play horses. While there is a lot to do, it doesn’t feel cluttered. Rather, it feels like how the play space you envisioned in your house would look like with children in it but never actually does: played in but beautiful, and effortlessly fun but also engaging and curated.
There’s a reason all the parents who have been to Present Place since it’s opening on February 1 are raving about it. It answers all the parental Goldilocks quests for play spaces effortlessly .. and with free coffee. (I really can’t get over the free coffee.)
Conclusion: If you’re the parent of a child under the age of five and looking for an indoor solution to our late winter weather surge, be sure to present yourself* as quickly as possible to Present Place.
And you’ll know me if you see me there. I’ll be the one on the couch with the coffee.
*Obligatory lame mom joke achievement unlocked!