Summer is prime festival season for Chicagoans, and with good reason! You simply can’t beat being outdoors amidst all of that glory—the kind we remind ourselves of during hibernation.
Got new tinies in tow? A few tips and tricks:
Eliminate the biggest headache: Parking
Chicagoans are incredibly lucky, what with the availability of buses and train routes. Think folding up a stroller is a hassle? It doesn’t hold a candle to circling upwards of 40 minutes for parking—and then paying close to $15 once you land a spot (half a mile from your festival destination).
Pack light and plan ahead
Wasn’t one of the reasons you sprang for that trendy lightweight stroller its killer portability? If you’re with a partner, you’re even more golden. One to hold the kid, the other to grab the diaper bag and kickstand the stroller. (Bonus points if you track the bus or train and have the whole operation completed as your ride pulls up. People might actually applaud you.)
There’s no shame in leaving after an hour (just as there’s no judgment in popping into a neighborhood restaurant to escape the melee). You’ve got a small human with you—the concept of “getting your money’s worth” out of the day went the way of sleeping past 8 a.m. You are not being timed. And even marathoners are allowed water breaks.
Packing for the fests
Yes, it’s easier to do than you think, and no, it doesn’t have to be a military operation.
The word of the day is “lightweight,” and it extends to everything: stroller, canvas bag, blankie for nursing/swaddling, and at least three baby-sized layers you never even knew one smallish person could soil so rapidly.
Leave the big camera at home. (Baby’s first corn dog can be captured perfectly well via iPhone.)
Pretend you’re preparing for air travel: Stash plastic bags inside plastic bags (trust us), plus snacks and liquids sorted and secured. Invest in two gigantic bottles: water and sunscreen. (Unless you dig paying $10 a pop from a vendor.)
Have cash, have lots of it and have it accessible. Everything past this point is obviously going to be great: you’re about to go play in Chicago, after all.