Spring is quite becoming on you Lady Chicago. Gone are the days of a desultory trot through the chilly streets; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and Chicago is humming a song of ebullience.
Yes, Chicago is truly the cynosure of midwestern America and we had the pleasure of enjoying its felicity on many leisurely occasions in the past two weeks. This may sound brash to those outside of the blizzard belt, my spin on Bible belt dedicated to the winter of 2014, but leaving the house more than twice a week was no easy feat during our most recent blunder of a winter.
Family-friendly and free rendezvous’ for spring days.
Lately I’ve been attempting the daunting task of getting our son out of the house every other day to explore, this can be very expensive in the land of a million opportunities so we’ve taken the challenge of finding free fun things to do in Chicago. Joey is an eighteen month old, only child, and is shy around other kids. With the help of our recurring jaunts he is coming out of his shell and building social skills at places like Millennium Park, The Faces Fountains, The Bean, Lake Shore East Dog Park and Playground on Benton Place, The Cultural Center on Michigan Ave, Shops on State Street, and many more.
This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the summer celebrations at Millennium Park. These events include a multitude of daily free events like musical entertainment, family-friendly activities, health and wellness classes in the park, festivals, tours, and non-stop entertainment. I personally am counting down the days until Yoga in the Park and daily wiggleworms, a children’s sing along and circle dance, as well the daily reading circle for children. Those activities run from June 23-Aug 24.
Picnic and play time at Lake Shore East Dog Park & Playground
We don’t have a dog therefore carrying Joey around the dog park allows us to teach him how to respect and treat dogs so that he won’t be afraid of them, with the permission and understanding that the dog is child friendly from the dogs owner of course. The dog park is immaculate and fitted with trees, artificial turf for cleanliness, park benches, water fountain, new tennis balls, a fountain and stream for the pups to drink from all within a double gated area for secure entry. The dog park is conveniently located next to the open Park and gated Playground at Benton Place behind Mariano’s gourmet grocery store. We are a one mile walk from this park, playground, grocery store area and would consider moving closer to this in the future, not to mention is only a block from Millennium Park.
Walking is one of my favorite things about the city. We’ve just sold our car and are working on selling the SUV because driving anywhere in the city is a joke, especially with the hundreds of dollars in parking structure fees each month. We walk to the market two or three times a week and pick up our next few days worth of groceries, it’s only a mile each way which is nice. This offers us a reason to exercise outdoors, enjoy the city, control food waste, eat fresh and local, and save money through choosing food carefully because we have to be willing and able to carry it all home.
Touring the city.
There are many ways to tour the city, but here are a few options that we’ve come across thus far, along with Millennium Park tours starting next month.