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Hey there,<br>
I will be attending a mommy meet-up from a due date club for the midwest and we have chosen Chicago as our destination. The thing is, this is a more "mainstream" group of mamas and I would like to gather up some info on good places to visit that are budget friendly to offer up when they suggest malls and mcdonalds.<br>
I am pretty sure they want to stay in the city, but if there are any cabins or more nature areas that people can stay in that are fairly close to the city, I would really appreciate information on those.<br><br>
If anyone needs info on minneapolis...i'm your mama!<br>
thanks in advance<br>
gabby<br><br>
Oh also, has anyone been to the frontera grill?
 

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how fun that you're meeting up with some women from a DDC!!! i had a doula client who did this last year & i'd love to do it with my current DDC someday.<br><br>
anyway.....if the weather is nice you could meet at the lincoln park zoo (FREE!). right outside the zoo on stockton drive is also the lincoln park conservatory - very small but the outside garden would be fun for kids to run around, have a picnic & visit. the lake is also a great place to go if you're not afraid of sand! where are you staying?
 

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Millenium Park is also free and worth taking a look at: <a href="http://www.millenniumpark.org/" target="_blank">http://www.millenniumpark.org/</a>
 

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I second both those recommendations. Really, unless you're out in the suburbs, there's no reason for anyone - mainstream or not - to go to malls or McDonald's in Chicago. It's just not that kind of city (the burbs are a different story). I don't know what age kids will be with the group, but if it's a warm day, the fountain at Millennium Park is a fabulous place for kids to run around and get wet, and there are lots of great beaches, playgrounds, etc all along the lake, in addition to the free zoo. If you check the calendar ahead of time (<a href="http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/" target="_blank">http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/</a> is a great resource), there are also often free concerts and events on summer weekends - again, often by the lake. Ravinia, up by Highland Park, has wonderful outdoor concerts where you can bring a picnic and sit out on the lawn, and Millennium Park often has free concerts (Ravinia's usually run $15-20 for a lawn seat) where you can do the same thing.<br><br>
Outside of the city, there are a few good areas for more of a nature experience. Look into Moraine Hills and Illinois Beach State Park, or check out the Botanic Gardens up in Glenview. There are also a bunch of places you can rent a canoe, both inside and just outside the city (either on the Chicago River or the Fox River), which could be a fun family outing for a bunch of people. And while it's not super cheap, I recommend the Architectural Foundation tours to anyone who comes - there's both a boat one and several walking ones.<br><br>
As far as where to stay, honestly, I think I'd recommend staying in the city. Unless you want to get well outside the city, you're not going to find any great cabins or outdoor retreats like you describe, and there's so much fun, free, and family-centered stuff to do in the city that you might as well take advantage of it. Plus, if you're in the city, you can use all public transportation.<br><br>
And yes, I've been to Frontera Grill - it's wonderful Mexican food and not nearly as pricey as Topolobampo next store (which is run out of the same kitchen). However, either go right when it opens or early in the week or be prepared for a long wait - they don't take reservations. Chicago has a lot of great Mexican restaurants that aren't Tex-Mex, actually, and many other good restaurants for all kind of cuisines, depending on what you're looking for. That website I mentioned above is a good resource for restaurants too....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the tips ladies... We are a groups with babies born in feb 06, and we are planning on going in late august or September, but NOT labor day weekend. So the babes will be 18-19 months old. There are several families flying so I am pretty sure we will stay in town.<br><br>
I think we will try and go a day or 2 early so we can go to frontera, as my DH has a little man-crush on Rick Bayless, lol.
 

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<span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">There are so many fun things to do. Favorite things with links... enjoy!<br><br>
Garfield Park conservatory…It’s beautiful place, nature at it’s best when its too cold to be outside!</span></span><br><a href="http://www.garfield-conservatory.org/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.garfield-conservatory.org/</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum- Don’t miss the green house filled with flying butterflies…they been know to land on people too.</span></span><br><a href="http://www.naturemuseum.org/index.php?id=114" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.naturemuseum.org/index.php?id=114</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Pizza DOC-- A favorite authentic Italian restaurant that is the MOST kid friendly place ever! (Favorite dish- agurula pizza w/a super crispy, thin crust cooked in their imported marble wood-burning oven- forget Chicago style<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> )</span></span><br><a href="http://www.pizza-doc.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.pizza-doc.com/</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">The Old Town School of Folk Music- lots of good family/kid concerts</span></span><br><a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/performances/list.lasso?c1=kids" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.oldtownschool.org/performances/list.lasso?c1=kids</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">Chicago’s one and only NFL store owned by moms!</span></span><br><a href="http://www.bebybaby.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.bebybaby.com/</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Lincoln Park Zoo, free zoo</span></span><br><a href="http://www.lpzoo.com/index.php" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.lpzoo.com/index.php</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Brookfield Zoo, check out their virtual site map for the fun (great petting zoo)</span></span><br><a href="http://www.brookfieldzoo.org/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.brookfieldzoo.org/</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Downtown at it’s best, ice skating, summer concerts, etc</span></span><br><a href="http://www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents/family.aspx" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents/family.aspx</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Where we go to look for restaurants</span></span><br><a href="http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/</span></span></span></a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Red Moon Theatre--- huge puppet theatre, some performances good for kids.</span></span><br><a href="http://www.redmoon.org/homepage/homepage.cfm" target="_blank"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.redmoon.org/homepage/homepage.cfm</span></span></span></a>
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gabbyquilts</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7949760"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think we will try and go a day or 2 early so we can go to frontera, as my DH has a little man-crush on Rick Bayless, lol.</div>
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We met Rick at the Frontera. He is not as hyper as he is on tv though- thankfully! We were having a drink waiting for a table and he came up right behind me to survey the bar.<br>
IF you go, get there early and if you want to meet him- you can buy one of his books and ask if he is around to autograph it. He's usually game too.<br><br>
go easy on the MArgaritas, they are strong and full strength, not your local mexican frozen ones! I dont recommend taking the kids in a group there though!
 
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