There’s more to do on the South Side than cheer on the White Sox and eat in Chinatown. There are world-class museums, incredible dining establishments and lots of ways to have fun.
1 Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery, 1035 Sterling Ave., Flossmoor; flossmoorstation.com
Housed in a historic train station, this restaurant and pub is the perfect spot for a meal both kids and parents will love. The kids’ menu includes dishes such as the Mini Choo Choo Burger and Pullman Car Pizza, while adults can’t go wrong with choices ranging from appetizers to sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads. Try the Chicken Berry Wrap, Pullman Pork Beer-B-Que or Chicken Caprese Sandwich.
Adults also flock here to sample the beers brewed on site.
Some nights, families can catch special entertainment. On a recent visit, we enjoyed a magician who traveled from table to table doing tricks.
After dinner, grab a frozen treat at the Old Caboose Ice Cream Shoppe, an authentic renovated caboose located on the brewery’s south lawn.
2 Bud Billiken Parade, Martin Luther King Drive from 35th to 55th; budbillikenparade.org
Affectionately known as “The Bud” by the many of its young performers, the Bud Billiken Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. Aug. 9 in Bronzeville.
Marching bands and tumblers are joined by floats and celebrities during this event, which focuses on getting students ready to go back to school. It is the largest and oldest back-to-school parade in the nation.
An institution in the Chicago African-American community, the parade’s participants span generations and travel across the country to be here. The parade and picnic began in 1929 as a way for the Chicago Defender newspaper to say thanks to the children who sold the paper.
The list of celebrities who have appeared over the years is a who’s who in the entertainment and sporting worlds. You never know who you will see at “The Bud.”
3 Beverly Farmers Market, parking lot at 9500 S. Longwood Drive, Chicago
The Beverly Farmers Market is the best in Chicago, says Crystal Nells, owner of C+D Family Farms, which sells all natural free range meats at the market.
The market is held 7 a.m.-1 p.m. every Sunday through Oct. 26 with friendly vendors and colorful fruits, vegetables and flowers.
On a recent Sunday, kids sat on a curb eating fresh-made frozen yogurt from the Yoberri Yogurt tent as parents taste-tested cheeses made by Stamper Cheese Company, which brings artisan-made cheeses to Chicago from southwestern Wisconsin.
Other vendors from local farms sell fresh grown produce, fresh eggs, jams and flowers. Where else in the city are you going to find pesticide-free strawberries picked the day before for only $5?
4 Odyssey Fun World, 19111 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; ofwtinleypark.com
Any attraction you can imagine is pretty much under this roof or on its sprawling outside grounds. Families can enjoy mini golf, laser tag, an indoor Ferris wheel, bumper boats, speed boats, ziplining, batting cages, go karts and video games galore.
Little ones will love the indoor Exploration Adventure, filled with tunnels and slides, and the outdoor Kidz Park filled with bounce houses and rides.
If a typical day here doesn’t offer enough excitement, visit 6-8 p.m. Aug. 22 for a back-to-school bash with Radio Disney’s road crew.
5 Oriental Institute Museum, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago; oi.uchicago.edu
The mummies on exhibit are always a hit with kids and parents, says Moriah Grooms-Garcia, youth and family program coordinator at the museum, located on the University of Chicago campus. They also marvel at the 16-foot statues of King Tut and the Assyrian Bull.
Permanent galleries are devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia and the ancient site of Megiddo.
Although all ages are welcome, the museum appeals most to kids 5 and older as many of the artifacts have no cases or glass around them. This allows the public to get an up-close view, but may prove stressful for parents when young fingers want to touch.
Family programs take place throughout the year. On Aug. 1, a reading of “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” will be accompanied by a discussion on ancient hats. On Aug. 6, stop in for Secrets of the Mummies, where kids take out organs of a faux mummy and learn about the mummification process.
Junior Archaeologists meets on Aug. 12 and allows participants 5-12 to go on a simulated archaeology dig. Online reservations at oi.uchicago.edu are needed for the Junior Archaeologists program.