When you became a parent, you probably thought you kissed full-day dates goodbye forever. Turns out, the type of date that keeps you smiling from sun-up to sundown is still possible, but you might just have to bring along a different type of partner (namely, your kid).
Whether you’re an art-loving duo, urban explorers or a parent/kiddo pair who appreciates the finer things in life, we’ve got three perfect Chicago days to help celebrate the best duo since peanut butter and jelly.
Little Goat Diner for brunch created by an artist: Few celebrity chefs are regarded more highly for their art than Chicagoan (and mom-to-be!) Stephanie Izard. Her take on a diner (dark chocolate chip crunch pancakes, anyone?) is sure to provide a photo-worthy (and extremely kid-friendly) culinary brunch to start your day.
820 W. Randolph St., Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago for eye candy: Once your bellies are filled, do the same for your eyes at the always-engaging Art Institute. A spin through the famed Impressionist galleries? A tip of the hat to the Greeks? And, of course, no trip to the museum voted the best in the world is complete without a tiptoe through the Thorne Miniature Room and a debate about where Tiny You would be happiest living. (The Cape Cod living room, circa 1750, always gets our vote.)
111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
A session at Glazed Expressions for unleashing your own creativity: Feeling inspired? Try your hand at crafting your own masterpiece. It’s pretty much a foolproof activity: everyone knows that mamas love their offspring’s artwork above all else, and no kid worth their brains would ever suggest that their parent’s artistic creation is anything less than a masterpiece.
717 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago
Urban Outdoorsy Afternoon
Get on your bikes and ride: Any day that starts with wheels is destined for greatness. Whether you pedal your own or rent one along the way, biking across Chicago is sure to bring out the 8-year-old in all of us. (Hint: Easily accessible Divvy bikes are available all along the beginning, middle and end of The 606 Trail!)
On the trail in the city: …Which brings us to The 606! Once an abandoned rail line, the beautifully transformed Bloomingdale Trail connects four neighborhoods and six parks. Bike your way from its westernmost entrance at Ridgeway Avenue straight to Wicker Park. All of that fresh air can work up a mean appetite, so head down to Sultan’s Market for some incredible Middle Eastern takeout quicker than you can say “kefta kebab.”
2057 W. North Ave., Chicago
Dine under the stars: Head inside? Not just yet! Ride your picnic over to Wicker Park for one of the many stellar Movies in the Parks options. (Among the titles in the line-up? Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji!) Enjoy, all the while reminding yourself that this is exactly why you love raising kiddos here.
1425 N. Damen Ave., Chicago
Fancy Pants Fun
Fabulous to the tips of your toes: A mama/daughter day that doesn’t begin with pampering? Unheard of! Get those digits looking divine at Fuga Centro Salon& Spa (which, aside from being a great place to soak your tootsies, is also within walking distance of your next fancy stop). And remember, when it comes to nails—as with so many other things in life—there’s no such thing as “too pink.”
8 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Pinkies up with a china cup: Princesses of all ages are enamored of high tea at the Drake Hotel’s Palm Court, and with good reason: it’s a wonderfully decadent way to pass the afternoon with your favorite partner in fanciness. (Plus, the “Little Prince& Princess” menu, besides being adorable, will make lemon curd fans out of your young royalty.)
140 E. Walton Place, Chicago
Dance into the night: Take your fancy selves into the festive fray with a SummerDance rehearsal at 4 p.m. Free to join, watch and learn, the Millennium Park fun is led by a professional—and extremely tolerant—dancer. Then at 5? Twirl, samba and waltz your ways into the ball-er, crowd.
601 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago