The best of the West (Loop)

Very important news: the West Loop is on fire … with kid-friendly fun. Even though the food that makes this ‘hood famous is life, there is so more to the restaurant district of Chicago than fancy, delectable, world-class eats. And it’s about time you go explore with this guide for tiny humans.

PLAY

Mary Bartelme Park

This block-wide play space might be small, but it’s perfect for imaginative play. ADA-accessible with skyline views, this park is home to swings, slides, a canine park fit for a king and a spectacular, Instagram-worthy gateway sculpture. 

POW! Kids

Raise strong, disciplined, awesome kids with the help of classes at POW! Kids. This training gym offers energetic themed parties and classes in martial arts, self-defense and more. Plus, they offer free parking—score! 

Brooklyn Boulders

Your little monkeys need to get those wiggles out, which is why Brooklyn Boulders is your new best friend. From classes to parties to after-school drop-ins, this climbing gym will give kids a new skill, an adrenaline rush and a confidence boost like no other. 

United Center

Because any classic Chicago childhood includes as many Blackhawks and Bulls games as possible. 

SHOP

Randolph Street Market Festival

This monthly award-winning vintage indoor/outdoor market is the best place in the city to score one-of-a-kind furnishings, clothing, jewelry, collectibles and more. The $8 general admission is more than worth it to shop unique treasures and indulge in all the delicious treats via local food vendors in the Shade Shack. Plus, kids 12 and under are free, and all children receive activity packs at the gate with chalk, bubbles and a treasure map! 

The Fig Tree

Gifts for any occasion on your calendar can be found at The Fig Tree. This one-stop shop for all things celebratory sells the most adorably sweet greeting cards, novelties, knick-knacks, trinkets and thingamabobs. 

Cat & Mouse Games

Kids of every age (including the parents) will find games to challenge and excite them at this fun storefront. The extensive selection of board, strategy and card games at this local gem are more than enough to bust the boredom right out of your house. Be sure to check out the board game events and Pokémon open play schedule for even more gaming goodness. 

EAT

Nonna’s

Enjoy the mouthwatering delights of the West Loop without the white tablecloths and the high prices at Nonna’s, the cool, modern little sister of the acclaimed Formento’s. This stop’s classic Italian sandwiches, such as the dreamy $10 meatball and chicken parmesan subs, make for the perfect lunch while out and about in the city. 

Lou Mitchell’s

The lines are totally worth it at this timeless diner, especially because waiting customers are given sugary doughnut holes to help the time pass. For almost 100 years, Lou Mitchell’s has been cooking up “meltaway” pancakes, heavenly omelettes and other breakfast classics that take Sunday Funday to a whole new level. 

Chicago French Market

This indoor market is a favorite of Chicagoans young and old. From pastries to artisan meats and cheeses, the tasty treats featured at the Chicago French Market will bring you back time and again. Check out the event schedule on their website for kid-friendly events year-round. 

Wishbone

For more than 20 years, Wishbone has been serving up southern comfort perfection in the West Loop. And although we are huge fans of Family Night, in which kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal every Tuesday, we will be forever grateful for the soulful fried everything … and also the corn muffins.

SWEET TREATS

Cone

This precious Irish-themed ice cream parlor makes the soft-serve that dreams are made of. You can get pretty much any creamy cone, milkshake or malt topped with Lucky Charms, and there are so many flavors, there’s bound to be something for every one of your picky eaters. 

Do-Rite Donuts and Chicken and Shake Shack

Both of these new locations, residing in the same building, caused a lot of buzz earlier this year, and for good reason. Between these two goldmines, families will be able to treat themselves to some of Chicago’s favorite specialty doughnuts, fried chicken sandwiches, burgers and milkshakes all in one fell swoop.

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