Daily Escape

Pritzker Pavilion

Photo by Clark Maxwell, flickr

Pritzker Pavilion

Chicago, Illinois

In less than a decade, Millennium Park in downtown Chicago has become one of the most iconic urban greens in the US; its important architectural and artistic builds include Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture, the Crown Fountain by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, pictured. Here, crowds gather on the Great Lawn, a vast green space, under a web of steel beams where attached microphones help project sound. People gather for concerts, picnics or to simply admire Chicago’s stunning skyline.  


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Local Delicacies
Local Delicacies

Local Delicacies

Parents: Chicago-style Vienna hot dog with everything (yellow mustard bright green pickle relish chopped onions sliced tomatoes tiny sport peppers and a dill pickle spear on a steamed poppy seed bun topped with celery salt) at LandShark Beer Garden.

Kids: Corn dog (a delicacy invented in downstate Springfield IL) with or without mustard at LandShark Beer Garden.
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Boat Rides

Boat Rides

Parents: A Lake and River Architectural Tour 75 minutes of gentle sailing on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Kids: Extreme Thrill Ride 30 minutes of high speeds 360-degree turns and inevitable splashes.
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Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Parents: Double-cheeseburger, Billy Goat Tavern & Grill.

Kids: Cheeseburger Happy Meal, McDonald's.
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Thrill Ride

Thrill Ride

Parents: Navy Pier Ferris Wheel, 150 feet high, a slow, sweet rotation providing one of the best of all possible views of the Chicago lakefront and skyline.

Kids: Transporter FX, a dynamic high-speed simulator not recommended for pregnant women, people prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia -- or moms.
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Backup Ride if Those Lines Are Crazy Long

Backup Ride if Those Lines Are Crazy Long

Parents: Musical Carousel -- just what it sounds like.

Kids: Wave Swinger -- kind of like Disney's Flying Dumbo ride with the nausea but without the elephants.
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Indoor Diversion

Indoor Diversion

Parents: Chicago Children's Museum a wholesome collection of interactive exhibits geared toward increasing young people's understanding of the world and the way things work.

Kids: Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze a collection of tunnels drops lights noises and tight squeezes of incidental educational value.
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Colleen Kelly, flickr  

Live Shows

Live Shows

Parents: Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions. Some are kid-friendly; many are literally Shakespearian.

Kids: Productions on the Skyline Stage under a big white tent. Rock shows sometimes. In summer Cirque Shanghai's acrobats contortionists and roaring motorcycle stunt-drivers are in residence.
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Dinner Entree

Dinner Entree

Parents: Ahi tuna filet baby bok choy king oyster mushrooms Thai demi-glace. Riva Restaurant.

Kids: Shrimp po' boy Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
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Dessert

Dessert

Parents: Fried dough, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar, Massa.

Kids: Dough a la mode: Fried dough topped with gelato, hot caramel, apple topping, whipped cream and nuts, Massa.
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Museums

Museums

Parents: Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. A permanent exhibition of stained glass designed by masters of the art including Louis Tiffany Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright much of it salvaged from demolished homes and churches. Near the Pier's east end. Free.

Kids: The Chicago Sports Museum. Relics of famous athletes and artifacts including 2 from the Cubs' 2003 season: a shattered corked bat used illegally by Sammy Sosa and a mangled baseball that arguably had been snatched from the grasp of a Cub defender in a playoff game -- at great cost to the home team -- and was later ceremonially mangled by explosives. Inside Harry Caray's Tavern. Free.
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