Note: These events have been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Please check out our virtual events calendar for family fun things to do safely at home. The details below are from 2015. We hope to update these events in 2021.
Celebrate Mother’s Day with something equally as sweet as Mom—tea, scones and an abundance of treats. Treat mom like royalty at any of these incredible teas.
Where: 160 E. Pearson St., Chicago
The Ritz is totally upscale and posh. You’re served in the lobby, which is opulent and overlooks a massive indoor fountain. Fortunately, there’s carpeting, which soaks up the noise of tantrums (we tested this theory, and it works). Their high tea is served only during holidays and Mother’s Day, and it’s fancy. Adults get an assortment of sandwiches including egg salad, chicken salad and smoked salmon all of which are complete with special garnishes that set them apart from what you’d make at home. The kid’s tea plate looks like it jumped off of a Pinterest page, with all of the sandwiches cut into various cute shapes. Mother’s Day tea is $45 adults, $22 kids ages 5-12.
Where: 108 E. Superior St., Chicago
The string duet performing live above the lobby where tea is served totally sets the mood for tea. The duet is also loud enough to dull the sound of any tantrums, though its not the place to go if you expect your child to be rowdy. This is a fancy, special place. Every detail is accounted for the high tea. The chicken salad sandwich has herb aioli and coconut cream while the smoked ham sandwich has a rum raisin spread and is served on pretzel bread. The children get hot chocolate or chocolate milk instead of tea, and they also snack on jello, gummy bears, mini hamburgers and everything else their little bellies desire. It’s served throughout the year for $60 adults, $35 kids.
The Palmer House Hilton
Where: 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago
The Palmer House Hilton’s high tea is served at the Lockwood Restaurant & Bar alongside other diners, some of who may be there for lunch, so this is a little more casual. They serve an assortment of classic tea sandwiches for adults, ranging from a delicious roast beef to a crab sandwich with a dusting of caviar. The children’s sandwiches are cut into cute shapes, which always makes them more fun to eat. Desserts include scones, plus more unusual treats like a tiny lemon crème brulee. It’s served throughout the year for $40 adults, $20 kids.
Where: 113 N. Green St., Chicago
While Soho House is only open to members, the lounge, The Allis, is open to the public. It serves high tea daily. You’d think it would be pretentious, but it’s the opposite. It’s everything you’d want your living room to be if you love the industrial chic style (cozy couches, exposed brick walls, massive chandeliers). This is the most traditional high tea that we sampled. My family lived in England for two years, and when we went for high tea there, this is what we got: simple sandwiches (egg salad on white bread, smoked salmon on a tougher bread, or a thin ham and cheese sandwich) plus a few small scones and fancy cakes. Tea is $29-$37.
Where: 140 E. Walton Place, Chicago
Famous for its high tea, The Drake set the stage with a harpist who sits in front of a fountain. Its elegant, but the room is nice and cozy. Be sure to check out the bathrooms, which are incredible. (Take note, nursing moms! These are some spacious, beautiful, elegant bathrooms with ample seating.) While the food here wasn’t as creative as others (the kids sandwiches were simply sandwiches), we enjoyed the lobster sandwich and the swan-shaped dessert. The scones tasted a little doughy, though they made up for it with perfectly baked macarons. Tea is $40 per person.
Where: 330 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago
You can either have a view of a modern fireplace or a soaring view of Chicagoland both are dazzling. This is not your mama’s tea service, and thats why we loved it. It’s all about attention to detail here, and we were blown away by the truffled egg salad, served in an egg shell. The raisins from the scones were soaked in Earl Grey tea before they were baked. Make sure you order the kids tea service a day ahead, as they need ample time to get it ready. $65 adults and $30 kids.
American Girl Place
Where: 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago
This is where girls and their dolls go to have some girl time. Kids can borrow an American Girl doll to dine with them. The dolls even get a place setting of their own (they can take the doll mug and plate home with them). The harpist adds the final girly touch. Since this is catered more toward the little ones, it comes with pigs in a blanket, a meatball, a mini turkey sandwich, a chocolate chip scone, Jell-o, etc. The kids tea and the adult tea are identical and it includes items that kids and adults will enjoy, plus a small craft. $19 adults and kids.
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This story originally published on April 29, 2015. It has been updated with the most recent information.