Places to escape the hustle and bustle of life

Love the life you live, but sometimes take the time to get away. We all need to carve out some time to step back and smell the roses! Thankfully, in both the city and the suburbs, we are surrounded by ways to sneak in some downtime. Here are some of our favorite places and activities to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


One of the best ways to unwind is to visit a museum. Sitting underneath the Shedd Aquarium Wild Reef, as sea animals calmly swim overhead, is one of the most serene experiences. Walking the galleries of the Art Institute and getting the opportunity to talk about and admire art with your budding artist brings calm and culture to you and your child. Almost any museum has a time where they are less busy. During the week is probably best, but call ahead to check for field trips. Going in the afternoon, during nap time, and on a warmer day or season will also have better odds of giving you a calmer experience.  

Another big tip is to visit more than just the big, well-known museums. Small museums will offer a more intimate, less hurried experience. You will also likely get a cultural or educational experience you have never had before! Find a directory of Illinois museums here, and find upcoming museum free days here

Nature preserves

Illinois has one of the best natural landscapes. Both the city and suburbs have nature preserves and paths that can transport you out of the hustle and bustle of life. Nature preserves, specifically, have a goal of maintaining the natural growth and vegetation of the area. They also provide a more free range experience for children so that they can connect with nature and the earth in their own way. Nature preserves give you the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, so you have an opportunity to clear your head and renew your spirit, without having to travel far from home. These areas are also not lacking in activities. Many of them offer boat rentals, hiking guides and scheduled activities for the whole family to learn about loving the earth.

Find out more about the Illinois parks and preserves here. There is a great interactive map and information on every state park.


Become familiar with your local library and then venture out to other libraries! Libraries are designed to help you escape the business of everyday life, so you can lose yourself in a book!  Many libraries have updated their children’s areas to have a quiet toys, puzzles and games, in addition to books. There are often scheduled story times and activities. These are great if you are looking for something to do, but if you are looking for a quiet place to enjoy some downtime, consider going at a time outside of these activity times. Calling ahead or checking schedules is a great way to get a feel for what it will be like when you plan on going.  


Visiting a farm is a great opportunity to get away from city life and learn more about animals and where our food comes from! If you drive just about an hour outside of Chicago you can find several farms that welcome visitors and are eager to help you get a little dirty and explore your green thumb. If you go during the right times you can often pick fruits and veggies or help care for the animals.

Explore local farms and discover which ones welcome visitors here.

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