You know that giant feudal-style castle just off I-90 West in Schaumburg? That’s Medieval Times, and you must go. Inside await kings and queens, a falcon, horses, jousting, a decadent meal, and overpriced merchandise that your kids will annoyingly beg for. (There’s a full bar too, if that helps.) Medieval Times is corny, so fun and kids from kindergarten on up will find it seriously cool.
It’s super easy to get to.
Remember, you can see it from the interstate. If you’re like us, your children will be chant-screaming “EVIL TIMES! EVIL TIMES!” the second they lay eyes on the castle. So, be thankful you’re, like, a minute and 30 seconds from parking.
It’s first-come, first-served seating, but really, every seat is good.
The castle opens 75 minutes before showtime, and there’s typically a line to get in. However, all seating is assigned when you check in, so don’t worry about a mad rush to get the best table. The earlier you arrive, the closer to the jousting action you’ll be. But every seat in the arena (where the tournament and dinner take place) allows a clear view.
You’ll spend a while in the Great Hall before the show begins.
After you check in, you’re funneled into the Great Hall…of light-up swords and fairy costumes. Medieval Times is a business after all, and what kind of business would forfeit a chance to sell pricey things to a captive market? The doors to the arena are locked until showtime, by the way.
The Great Hall has a full bar.
What a coincidence! A bar lit up like a rainbow (really). Drinks are expensive, stiff and you get to keep the novelty cup.
Your fellow audience members ensure epic people-watching.
It seems all kinds can appreciate Medieval Times––families, young couples, older couples, and people who live and die for Renaissance Faires.
The food is surprisingly good.
Arrive Thanksgiving-style, with an empty stomach. The garlic bread and tomato bisque are seriously bomb, then it’s onto roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, potatoes, and the “pastry of the Castle” (an apple turnover). A vegetarian option is also available––hummus, warm pita bread, three-bean stew, and fruit or Italian ice.
There are no utensils.
Hey, this is circa 11th century Europe. You do, however, get a warm wet napkin after that roasted chicken.
You’ll be (genuinely) cheering all night.
Your section of seats is assigned a knight to root for in the jousting tournament. I know, I know, you’re all, “I have to cheer?” But the magic of Medieval Times will take hold, and you’ll be all, “Go right! No, left! What are you doing?! WIN!”
The knights are required to have long hair.
And most have facial hair. Magical.
We’re lucky to have a Medieval Times so close.
There are only nine locations in the country. Go ye forth.