Congratulations! It’s a bouncing baby Chicagoan! Living in what’s arguably the world’s greatest city is a heavy responsibility, so here’s a list of ideas that’ll start you out on the right bootie.
April: Head down to the Museum Campus with your sleep-deprived folks; don’t they deserve a little astronomy or dolphin-call therapy? Your ticket is free and your first skyline photo is priceless.
May: Sit in a beer garden. It’s a win/win: you’ll earn some neighborhood cred and your parents will enjoy a grownup beverage while you take a guaranteed nap.
June: Chicago’s architecture is second to none, and a guided river tour will help some local smarts sink in. Plus, boats are shiny!
July: Take in a Cubbies or Sox game—complete with Red Line ride. Whether you like to play at Wrigley or, uh, Guaranteed Rate Field, you’ll look adorable in your team colors for your first CTA selfie. (Bonus: if you’re into being worn, it’ll be the least germy train ride you’ll ever take.)
August: Dip a tiny toe into the lake. A shady nap at Montrose Harbor? A stroll down by Oak Street Beach? A full-fledged Chicagoan touches Lake Michigan at least once a summer.
September: Party at a street fest. Sure, you haven’t quite acquired the taste for deep-fried Twinkies (yet), but learning to support a local ‘hood (and dancing in the street) should start early.
October: Go apple picking. Chicago babies learn early that autumn is prime “apple everything” weather, and it’s an unwritten law that Chicago parents need at least one photo of their baby sitting in an orchard. (Overalls optional, but highly encouraged.)
November: Take a stroller tour of the Art Institute. Regardless of the weather, you can get your stroll on. And lucky baby, those once-a-month guided stroller tours are absolutely free with entrance. (You’ll be pointing out Seurat’s ‘A Sunday On La Grande Jatte’ to tourists in no time.)
December: Like the song says, the lights are much brighter downtown! Stroll State Street for some serious displays and cut over to Millennium Park to see holiday magnificence. Don’t let the proportions throw you; that tree is gigantic even to the fully grown among us.
January: Snuggle up at one of the many Chicago Public Libraries for story time. It’s free, it’s full of potential new pals, and it’s the perfect opportunity for your mom to pick up that book club novel (that she might not get to anytime soon).
February: Warm up at the Garfield Park Conservatory. It may be frigid outside, but in these blissfully fragrant rooms? 80-degree Orchid City.
March: Check out that famous dyed green river and wear something emblazoned with shamrocks—regardless of nationality.
April: A show at Emerald City’s baby-focused Little Theatre is the start of a beautiful friendship, Chicago stage-wise. (Not only is audience participation from the babbling, crawling set expected, it’s encouraged!)
May: Dine on dim sum in Chinatown. If you’ve been given the all-clear, allergy-wise, dim sum is a fantastic way to explore new tastes, textures and finger foods. (Pork bao and sesame balls, anyone?)
Welcome to Chicago, kid; we’re pretty sure you’re going to like it here.