At a recent BCBrunch we had some of our favorite moms share their secrets of navigating the City of Chicago as a new parent. Here were some of their tips:
Rainbow Partridge, Mom of Three
FREE Things to do in the City All Summer Long!
Explore: 606, North Park Nature Center, Montrose Beach, Foster Beach (parking, walkway to beach, bathrooms, and concession stand.
Take a class! Check with your various kids classes—most have a free trial class that you can sign up for to try, including such places Lil Kickers, Bubbles Academy, Gymboree.
Check local kids stores: Land of Nod, Monica + Andy, Sprout San Francisco. Many have free classes—story time, art, music. Or you can take a drop in class for a nominal fee.
Summer: Target Family Fun Festival at Millennium Park, under tent: June 20th- August 21st, every day. This series includes Old Town School of Music performances .
Local Parks: Check your local parks for free events. Things like puppet shows, kids activities, festivals, story times.
Movies in the Park: Millennium Park Summer Film Series (good for older kids or date night!)
Splash Pads: Adams Park and Pulaski Park are two favorites, but check the local Park District website to find a local pool or park
City Pools: Check out Chicago Park District’s Pools. Favorites include the Baby pool at Holstein, Hamlin and Wrightwood Pool (just for 12 and under). Pools have Toddler Swim times.
Festivals: Most have a kids area with free activities. Favorites include Retro on Roscoe.
Green City Market: Free activities for kids. Wednesday and Saturdays, 7am-1pm.
Millennium Park Crown Fountain: A great place for kids to splash around!
Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion: Bring a picnic, listen to music during lunchtime rehearsals or evening under this wonderful pavilion.
Chicago Cultural Center: Juicebox series for toddlers on alternating Fridays.
Garfield Park Conservatory: Free events for families. Wild Wednesdays: 4-7pm, free activities in the garden for kids.
Cubs games: On Sundays, there are giveaways to kids, included hooded towels, pullovers. Upon entrance, get a special pass to run the bases. For more information.
White Sox: Become a free member and get two tickets for free. Sunday: free giveaways for kids. For more information.
Photo from transitchicago.com
Need help getting there? Check out: The Ins and Outs of Public Transit
By Lara Compton, Mom of Two
- Stated Rules from the CTA
- Children in open strollers are welcome on CTA, however we encourage parents to be considerate of other customers and adhere to these rules when traveling with a stroller.
- Keep strollers clear of aisles and doorways aboard buses and trains.
- Seniors and customers with disabilities have priority use of the Priority Seating area aboard buses and trains. If these seats are not in use, open strollers may be parked in this area. This will help you to avoid blocking the aisle. Please yield this space if a customer with disabilities, a senior, or a person using a mobility device wishes to board. On buses, you may request use of the access ramp or lift to help you board and exit.
- Please fold your stroller in the event that a bus or train becomes crowded, in order to make room for others. Be aware that in the event that a bus or train is crowded, a CTA employee may ask you to fold your stroller or wait for another vehicle. Please follow their instructions. Also, during certain periods of high ridership, we may require that all strollers be folded before you board.
- Children in an open stroller should be seated and secured in the stroller before boarding the bus or train.
- Note that strollers are never allowed on escalators. If traveling with an open stroller in a multi-level facility, please use elevators or ramps where available. On train station platforms, position your stroller parallel to the platform edge (not facing it), use wheel locks/brakes and stay with it at all times.
- Tips that I always abide by:
- Plan Ahead
- Give yourself extra time
- Consider using a carrier whenever possible
- Practice folding up and carrying your stroller with baby (as well as with gear)
- Avoid rush hour (approx. 8am – 9:30 and 4:30 – 6pm M-F)
- Plan your route
- Check for handicap access (you will really struggle to get your stroller out if you are alone)
- Clark/Lake, Washington/Wells, and Harold Washington Library are the only Loop L stops with handicap access
- Merchandise Mart is difficult to maneuver on weekends