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Tag Archives: Family Activities

“Halloween is more than a day in Chicago; it’s an entire season.” –Explore Chicago

…and boy, are they right!

Chicagoween, the Windy City’s annual fun and frightful Halloween event, has returned! From October 26-30, Daley Plaza will disappear and mystically transform into the Haunted Village of Franken Plaza.

According to Explore Chicago, at Chicagoween, “The…streets are decorated and filled with an array of activities for children and the child within you.”

There are tons of FREE Halloween activities that will leave you amused for days!

  • A screening of the movie, Little Shop of Horrors (Rated PG-13)
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Hayrides
  • Photo Booth Fun
  • Costume Contests
  • Trick-or-Treating
  • Special performances by Midnight Circus, Magic Matt, Dave Herzog’s Marionettes, Storyteller Oba William King, the Batbuck$ Game Show and fcbc educational theatre


And Franken Plaza has added something new this year! Kids can walk through a kid-friendly Ghostly Maze decorated with hay bales, pumpkins, corn stalks, creepy crawlers and flying bats. Inside, they can create their own miniature city within a city with large, blue foam blocks at the Imagination Playground Oasis.

Who says Halloween is only on October 31st? Chicagoween will keep you entertained for the entire week! Check out more information on this Halloween extravaganza today!

And don’t forget to book a room with Broughton Hotels of Chicago  – City Suites Hotel, The Majestic Hotel or The Willows Hotel!

*Chicagoween is put on by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events


You are invited to a party—a Really Big Halloween Party, that is! Starting this Friday, October 19, Navy Pier will become a frighteningly fun festivity Fridays through Sundays, October 19 – 28, plus Halloween!

It says it all in the name—this party is really big, and great for Halloween fans of all ages:

  • Camel, Alpaca and Pony Rides
  • Free Petting Zoo and Hayrides
  • All-Day Dance Party with DJ Spinners
  • Live Bands
  • Performances of Harry Houdini’s Upside-Down Water Chamber Escape Trick
  • Trick-or-Treating with candy provided by Ferrara Candy Company and iCandylicious
  • Costume Contest (Saturday, October 27) for children and adults
  • Fire Spinning Shows by Pyrotechniq
  • 550 lb. Pumpkin Carving
  • Haunted architecture cruises on the Seadog
  • Halloween at Harry Caray’s Tavern with scavenger hunts, cookie decorating and spooktacular adult cocktails


So dust off your cutest, scariest or wackiest costume, and head down to Navy Pier’s Really Big Halloween Party this weekend! It’s guaranteed to be a spooktacular good time!

And don’t forget to book a room with Broughton Hotels of Chicago  – City Suites Hotel, The Majestic Hotel or The Willows Hotel!

Happy Halloween!

It’s October! And to us, that only means one thing: Halloween is here!

Will you be in Chicago the weekend of Saturday, October 20? We have the perfect event that the entire family can enjoy—Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual Spooky Zoo Spectacular!

Spooky Zoo Spectacular! is the Auxiliary Board’s largest community-service event that provides kids and parents with a free, safe alternative to Halloween trick-or-treating. Lincoln Park Zoo invites all of their guests to learn fun facts about the animals in the Spooky Zoo Education Zone, as well as enjoy several Halloween-themed activities including a haunted house, arts and crafts, trick-or-treating, a costume parade and more!

Dress in your best—or spookiest—costume, and celebrate Halloween this year at the 2012 Spooky Zoo Spectacular!

Want to have a more “spook-tacular” time? Since we’re in the neighborhood, book a room with Broughton Hotels of Chicago  – City Suites Hotel, The Majestic Hotel or The Willows Hotel!

Warning: Plan on dressing like a zoo animal? Don’t let your costume be too convincing—our zookeepers may think you’re a Lincoln Park Zoo animal! Happy Halloween!

Calling all foodies! Your favorite Chicago summer event is here again—the annual Taste of Chicago!

Every summer since 1980, Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park has been host to the world’s largest outdoor food festival, with upwards of 3 million visitors attending the event every year!

From July 11-15, visitors and locals alike can choose from a wide variety of the Windy City’s most popular cuisines, featuring 70-plus local restaurants and more than 300 menu items. Each vendor will be serving six items, two of which are special “Taste of” sample-size portions, so there will be something to please everyone—even the pickiest eater.

Need to take a breather in between sampling dishes? There will be live music (featuring headliners: Jennifer Hudson, Death Cab for Cutie, Roshon Fegan, Chaka Khan and Dierks Bentley), and fun family activities, too!

While admission is free, food and drinks are purchased through tickets sold at the Taste of Chicago (strips of 12 for $8).

This is an event not to miss! With tons of food and great music in the country’s most beautiful city, how could you not have a great time?

This Sunday, May 13, is Mother’s Day. Besides her birthday, this is the one day where your mom wants to be as far away from the kitchen as possible. Are you a disaster in the kitchen? Let the executive chefs take care of that, and say “Thank you!” to the mother in your life by taking her to brunch in the city. Here are some ideas for a brunch she will remember. And don’t forget to make those reservations!

Mother’s Day Brunch at the Brookfield Zoo

Sunday, May 13 – 11:00 a.m. or 1:30 a.m.

This is not like your average restaurant. Enjoy a delicious all-you-can-eat brunch in the Discovery Center, featuring cooked to order eggs, an omelet station, a chef’s carving station, a sweet table and much more. After brunch, take a stroll through the zoo with mom to see some of her favorite animals!

Fondue and Massages at Geja’s Café

Sunday, May 13 – Starting at Noon

Let your mom indulge—after all, this is her day. Known for their romantic fondue dining, Geja’s Café features over 20 combinations of fondue entrees (from traditional cheese to flaming chocolate desserts) and an extensive wine list. While she enjoys her chocolate fondue and flute of champagne, your mom will also be treated to a complimentary five-minute massage by licensed massage therapists from Lincoln Park Massage Spa. Talk about being pampered!

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Gage

Sunday, May 13 – 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Treating mom to a day of shopping and sightseeing along Michigan Avenue can really work up an appetite. Make a reservation at The Gage and enjoy upscale, comfort food, featuring Executive Chef Dirk Flanigan’s Lobster Benedict and Flageolet Bean Puree.

Lunch and Dinner at Michael Jordan’s Steak House

Sunday, May 13 – 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Is your mom more laid-back? Not much of a brunch gal? Treat her to a meal at Michael Jordan’s Steak House! Along with offering its full a la carte menu, the restaurant will also offer Executive Chef James O’Donnell’s Mother’s Day Special: Roasted Filet Mignon with Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Carrot Puree and Pea Shoots. In addition, moms can unwind over a specialty priced Blood Orange or Guava mimosa and enjoy a complimentary sweet treat from the pastry chef to finish off the meal!

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.  -Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul

Easter Sunday is “hopping” up on us! And in a city like Chicago, brunch reservations need to be made ahead of time. No need to call around to find out which restaurants have special Easter menus and brunches—we’ve got you covered. All you need to be worried about is where the Easter Bunny hid your basket this year.

Riva Crab House – Sunday, April 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bring the entire family down to Navy Pier for a scrumptious brunch, fantastic lakefront views and chance to meet the Easter Bunny! With a chef-attended omelet station, carving station, shellfish, fresh fruit and a decadent desert display, there will be something to surely please everyone! But don’t wait until the last minute to make your brunch plans—this brunch is reservation only!

The Signature Room at the 95th – Sunday, April 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, guests will be treated to an extensive buffet of delicious starters and chilled seafood. Plated entrees will include seasonal favorites like lemon ricotta pancakes, eggs Benedict and various unique omelets. Kids can visit with the restaurant’s special guest, the Easter Bunny, and will even be sent home with goodie bags!

Macy’s on State’s Bunny Brunch – Sunday, April 1 and Saturday, April 7

Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet in Macy’s Walnut Room Restaurant on State Street. This is great for kids, because fun continues beyond the food—with face painting, balloon twisting and more! The best part? This brunch will happen for two days.

Mercadito – Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Who says you have to stick with your standard eggs and pancakes at brunch? At Mercadito Chicago, you can enjoy traditional Mexican brunch favorites like Chilaquiles or Huevos Rancheros. Not much of a Mexican eater while the rest of your family is? Don’t worry! They offer the classic American options, too.

For an extended list of Chicago brunch spots, check out Concierge Preferred today!

It’s the sweetest season of the year in Chicago! No, it doesn’t involve trick-or-treating or scavenging for candy-filled eggs—it’s maple-tapping time! The annual celebration of nature’s sweetest gift occurs all over the Chicagoland area; and this weekend, March 24-25, the Chicago Park District will host the 2012 Maple Syrup Festival!

Visitors can enjoy music and storytelling, take a stroll through the sugar bush, watch collected sap boil down into syrup, sample fresh maple syrup right off the fire and even try tapping a tree themselves! Approximately 50 trees in Chicago’s nature preserve will be tapped for sap collection. After all, it does take 40 gallons of sap to produce only one gallon of maple syrup!

Head to the North Park Village Nature Center this weekend and take part in one of Chicago’s sweetest traditions! It’s fun for all ages!

Check out more on the Maple Syrup Festival today!

Whether you’re Irish or not, wear as much green as you can, venture downtown and celebrate Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Come early and watch a major feature of the parade—the dyeing of the Chicago River! A tradition since 1962 and dubbed as the “Irish Miracle,” motor boats carrying Chicago’s Journeymen Plumbers will drop 45 pounds of green dye into the river, creating a bright green phenomenon that lasts for several days. The dye formula is Chicago’s closely guarded secret, but it has been deemed as environmentally friendly to the Chicago River.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at noon. Adults and children alike will enjoy three hours of colorful floats, marching bands, bagpipes and Irish Step dancers!

No matter what your heritage is the other 364 days of the year, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! So put on your favorite green outfit and celebrate the holiday with the city of Chicago!

For more information, visit Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade today!

Is it still too cold to participate in any outdoor family-friendly activities? Fear not! The International Kennel Club of Chicago (IKC) will be hosting the 2012 Chicago Dog Show this weekend, February 24-26, at Chicago’s McCormick Place Lakeside Center.

One of the largest benched dog shows in the country, top dogs from across the United States and Canada come to compete for various prizes and the coveted “Best in Show” title. Come observe more than 150 breeds of dogs demonstrate their agility and obedience skills in a variety of judged competitions and demonstrations. And using IKC’s unique “Chicago-style” format, guests are encouraged to meet and greet with the dogs and their handlers when they are not competing!

The 2012 Chicago Dog Show will also feature over 125 canine-related vendors, where guests can shop, learn more about recue information from non-profit groups and watch performances by the Purina Pro Plan Canine Team.

So don’t just sit at home this weekend. Come to the 2012 Chicago Dog Show! To learn more about this event, check out IKC’s official press release.

Is New Years Eve your favorite holiday of the year? Are you sad that you have to wait another 340 days to celebrate again? Well, fear not, because the Chinese New Year celebration has arrived!

On January 29, the 2012 Chinese New Year Parade will celebrate the “The Year of the Dragon,” and march through the heart of Chicago’s Chinatown. This vibrant parade features marching bands, elaborately decorated floats, lion dance teams, the winner of the Miss Friendship Ambassador Pageant and a 100-foot long mystical paper dragon made of silk, paper and bamboo. This year’s parade is special because it also kicks off the celebrations for Chinatown’s Centennial (1912-2012)!

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, and check out Chicago’s Chinatown for more information on the Chinese New Year Parade. Kung hei fat choi! Congratulations and be prosperous.