Chicago kids speak out on the state of the city

Chicagoans have a reputation for being opinionated folks. As a group, we aren’t afraid to speak out on everything from local politics to hometown sports teams and the best spots to grab deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.

But we adults aren’t the only ones who love to dish on what makes Chicago such a great city. Our kids have plenty to say about their hometown, too.

Chicago Parent assembled a panel of 12 Chicago-area kids between the ages of 7 and 14 from both the city and the `burbs. We asked them to share their favorite hometown spots, thoughts on how we could improve our city, best local eats and more.

Turns out that these kids have lots of reasons to love the city they call home (and plenty of ideas on what we can do to make it a better place for future generations of Chicagoans).

Local kids chime in on everything good, bad and delicious about their hometown.

What is the best thing about being a kidinChicago?

“Being close to the city gives you a lot of opportunities thatpeople who live in smaller communities don’t get to experience,like the art, history, music andarchitecture.”Seth

 "Seeing different things every day." Haley

 "The public transportation is pretty awesome. I can go everywhere
without being able to drive!"Nathaniel

 "It is the home of the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and

 "I love to go downtown and explore the

“There are a lot of fun and educational programs like the SummerReading Program at the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago ParkDistrict after-school programs. You can learn a bunch of differenthobbies including music, dancing and sports.” Zoe M.

What is the worst thing about being a kid inChicago?

“Walking to school in the winter.”Ulaiassi

“Not having a big backyard.”Jake

“There are quite a few shootings in Chicago and they makeme nervous. I like to listen to the news on the radio but now Ican’t listen to the radio without breaking into a coldsweat.” Zoe M.

“There is a lot of traffic!”Drake

“I don’t like the smell of gas in the city. There are alot of cars and a lot of gas. It smells gross, doesn’t it?”Keira

“It is very cold in the winter and very hot in thesummer.” Doyle

“Nothing!” Zoe K.

What would you do if you were mayor for aday?

“I would go to see all of my favorite sports teams and getall of the players’ autographs.”Timothy

“I would let kids eat free across the city. I would alsolower the sales tax and cost of gas across the city.”Nathaniel

“No school for a day!”Madison

“Everyone has to donate one thing to the foodpantry.” Zoe K.

“I would have one day when you could go to any museum orattraction for free.” Drake

“I would make everyone in Chicago vegan for a day and Iwould free all of the animals in the slaughterhouses, and Iwouldn’t allow mouse traps anywhere.”Ulaiassi

“I would make a day that kids can be adults. I have alwayswanted to work even though I am a kid. If kids did this, they mightgive adults ideas on how to run the city and do their jobswell.” Zoe M.

“I would give everyone free candy.”Jake

“I would make it so homeless people have places to live,get food and clothes, and shower.”Haley

What is the most fun thing you’ve done inChicago?

“Windsurfing camp at Northwestern University.”Ulaiassi

“I took a tour of the city on a double-decker bus. It wasgreat!” Nathaniel

“Go to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The best part isthe butterfly room. They let the butterflies fly free in a roomfilled with trees, plants and birds. If the butterfly likes youenough, it will land on you.” ZoeM.

“I like the Museum of Science and Industry. Thebehind-the-scenes tour was pretty cool.”Seth

“Go to see plays at the Emerald City Theatre.”Zoe K.

“I like the American Girl Doll tea. I liked seeing all ofthe food and eating it. The tea tasted so good because it wasactually lemonade.” Madison

What would make Chicago a betterplace?

“I noticed on the expressway that we are now over 700traffic deaths this year. We need to slow down and drivecarefully.” Nathaniel

“Stop all of the violence and make the city a safer placefor everyone to live.” Haley

“Make sure that the parks and city stay clean.”Drake

“Recycle!” Madison

“We could add more grass and trees.”Keira

“We need a big market, like Pike Place in Seattle. Thatwould be cool.” Seth

“I would make Chicago a better place by not allowinganyone to buy guns except police officers.”Timothy

“Pollute less.” Doyle

Where do you want to live when you grow up andwhy?

“I want to live everywhere so I can see differentperspectives of how people live.”Ulaiassi

“Chicago because it is the best city ever.”Jake

“I want to live in Hawaii because they have really niceweather and I could be outside all year without being cold.”Timothy

“I want to be an author and live in the village where Ilive-Oak Park!” ZoeK.

“I want to travel a lot when I grow up so I am not sure.Hopefully, I will find a place that I love or maybe Chicago willalways be the place that I come backto.”Nathaniel

If Chicago had an “official food” what would itbe?

“Deep dish pizza.”Nathaniel

“Portillo’s cheese fries.”Haley

“Hot dogs!” Doyle

“Sushi.” Keira

“Tacos.” Madison

“Carson’s Ribs.” Seth

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