My dad was born and raised in Chicago and knows the city grid system like the back of his hand. He also knows that for Father’s Day he prefers outings with yours truly rather than gifts. My husband only has one official Father’s Day under his belt, but he seems to be leaning toward the activities-over-gifts route as well. We already kicked off his second Father’s Day early with a beach day. If your dad or husband is more likely to choose an experience than a gift for Father’s Day, then I have you covered with these four ideas.
Get it write
After years of scouting places to explore with my dad, I have learned that wherever we go needs to have a cultural component and give him an opportunity to learn something. If your dad is also a culture vulture, why not take him to the American Writers Museum that opened in May? Bonus for dads who happen to be Jack Kerouac fans: They can see the famous manuscript scroll that became his “On the Road” novel through Oct. 27!
Big Jones in Andersonville serves up rockin’ fried chicken for dinner, and the brunch — especially the biscuits — will make you realize that food comas are real. Recently, we savored my husband’s birthday dinner on the cozy patio. The al fresco area is forgiving of kiddo shenanigans such as sippy cup spills and “accidental” food droppage. It was definitely OK for our munchkin to make a little mess. The server went above and beyond to engage and accommodate our toddler. Big Jones also won a stamp of approval from the Father’s Day star of our little trio.
Reach for the beach
We already snuck in some early Father’s Day fun this week at Loyola Beach — yay! We typically head to the Evanston beaches that require admission but decided to give our neighborhood beach a try and were pleasantly surprised. It was not crowded. (Although, I have seen the area pretty jammed on the weekends.) Fellow beachgoers were mostly low-key families swimming in the relatively clear water and lounging on the generally well-maintained sand.
There are also bathrooms, which is key for beach bumming longevity. The free admission was great for our family budget and parking for a couple of hours only set us back four bucks. As long as the dad in question has not written any open letters about loathing sand — ahem … Matt Boresi — Loyola Beach will be a win for Father’s Day fun.
Hit the green
Let’s face it — parenting can be demanding, and perhaps your hardworking hubby could use some down time from the boss baby in your house. Enter golf. There are a ton of golf-related activities around town that you could treat your husband to this year. One option that my husband recently tried out and recommends is Topgolf in Naperville. He dubbed it a high-end driving range experience and enjoyed the food, drinks and, of course, the competition.
From scoping out the prose party at the American Writers Museum to getting into the swing of things at Topgolf, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the hardworking dads in your life this year around Chicagoland. Happy Father’s Day, from my family to yours!
Josannah is a writer, producer and mom of one from Chicago.
See more of Josannah’s stories here.