A day in Chicago with an 11 y.o. girl

Sueb20May 30, 2012

Long story as to why, but in mid-June I will have a whole Saturday in Chicago to spend with my 11 yo DD. She isn't a museum lover, but she likes to walk around and shop and explore. There is a Chinese circus at Navy pier that I'm thinking about. Any other suggestions for things to do? Her main interests are gymnastics and arts/crafts. Oh, and food -- both eating and creating!

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lynninnewmexico

How about the American Girl store/museum and restaurant? When my own DD was that age, it was the one place in Chicago she wanted to go. We, sadly, never made it to Chicago but I've seen pics and info on the place and it looked wonderful.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:02AM
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jakabedy

The Museum of Science and Industry is really cool. I know science may not be her "thing", but it's hard not to find something interesting there.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:14AM
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fourkids4us

Have fun! When my daughter and her best friend turned 10, her friend's mother and I took them to New York City for a weekend. We did do the American Girl store (had a surprisingly good lunch there), and the girls enjoyed it even though they were not huge into dolls - they both had them, but neither played with them much. It was still really cool to visit - who knew dolls could have so much paraphernalia! They really liked clothes shopping, we went to the zoo in Central Park and to several of the big toy stores there. I haven't been to Chicago in years and never with any of my kids, but I loved the Navy pier. What a special day for the two of you!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 12:18PM
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francypants

Between Navy Pier and shopping on Michigan Avenue, that will fill a whole day. Oh, and Millennium Park with "The Bean".

If your daughter enjoys fine dining, Cafe Spiaggia is open for lunch and dinner, with a break in between. It will cost you MUCH less than its mothership, Spiaggia.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cafe Spiaggia

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 1:12PM
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jlj48

Museum of Science and Industry is awesome but it would take the entire day. So would Shedd aquarium. If I were you, I would do a little shopping in the area of the American Girl Store and right across the street from that is the Hancock building. Go up to almost the top of the building and have lunch or even just a special drink. The views are amazing! You could take a boat ride. They have ferrys between Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium. Walk along the beach front or visit Lincoln Park Zoo (Free). Plan a few things but keep it open. Take in Chicago in an unhurried way. Hope you have a great time!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:01PM
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patty_cakes

How about Water Tower Place? It's loaded with shops and restaurants as well as an intersting structure.

Don't forget to ask if she's ever heard the story of the great Chicago fire and Mrs. O'Leary's cow. Proven to be false, it still makes for a good laugh about the city. ;o)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:11PM
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DLM2000

If you don't take her to Garrett's, you're not showing her Chicago ;-) Get the Chicago Mix - I recommend it highly!

Here is a link that might be useful: Garrett's Popcorn

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:45PM
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cat_mom

Oh, ditto on jakabedy's suggestion!!! We went to that museum when I was 14 years old, and 46 years later I still remember it as being the coolest and most fun museum ever!!!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Sueb20

dlm, last time we went to Chicago (have been only once, and that was with adults only) we got Garretts popcorn in the airport. Does that count? ;)

Thanks for all the ideas so far. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), we have an American Girl store not far from us, so BTDT, and she is almost "over" AG these days anyway. She might still enjoy taking a look, but I don't think I'd plan our day around it.

I'm going to check out the Museum of Science and Industry web site. She wouldn't want to spend a whole day in any museum, but we could check out the highlights, maybe. She does like science.

I'm going to look up some of the other places you all mentioned, too. The story behind this trip is that DH and DS are going to Chicago for DS's 16th birthday (a tradition in our house -- when you turn 16, Dad takes you away for a weekend) to see the Cubs play the Red Sox (we're from Boston). DD and I are crashing their party, but we need to pretend we don't know them so they can do their "guy" stuff. From there, we're all heading to San Francisco, where we will be allowed to stay together a family again!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 5:34PM
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woodsy_1 Zone 5b Illinois

If she likes science, the museum has a hands-on Mythbusters exhibit going on all summer. I have it on good authority (10 year old GS) that it's really cool!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 8:23PM
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anele_gw

If she does not love museums I would skip MSI. I like your idea of the circus . . .I think if you went to Navy Pier and saw that + went on a boat ride, that would be a lot of fun.

What kind of shopping does she like?

Since she likes arts and crafts maybe there is some sort of pottery studio . . .but then you'd have to carry it around.

How will you be getting around?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:52PM
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pammyfay

You might look at the website for Flat Top Grill (a couple locations in Chicago). It's a build-your-own stir fry place, not very expensive, and if she likes Asian food, she might like putting together her own combination.

And even tho I lived in Chicago for just a few years, I don't think it counts if you get your Garrett popcorn at the airport, SueB! You have to stand in the line that rolls out the store (Michigan Avenue one, I'm talking about; there are others, but ...) and along the sidewalk with all the other tourists!

(Truthfully, there are as many residents as tourists in that line!)

Also, on a Saturday in mid-June, there could very well be a crafts fair either downtown or in a close-in neighborhood.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 1:09AM
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jmc01

I''d go to the Lincoln Park Zoo, to the Crown Fountain in Millenium Park and let her splash around with other big and little kids. I'd consider going to a paint your own pottery place like Glazed Expressions on Armitage. there are always family activities in Millenium Park as well. throw in lunch and I'd call it a full day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Millenium park

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 6:25AM
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Sueb20

Anele, I haven't figured out the "getting around" part yet. I need to look at the map... I did get the circus tickets for 6:00 on that Sat., so I think we'll head to Navy Pier late afternoon and explore, have an early dinner, and see the show. Millennium Park looks really neat, so maybe we'll do that in the morning. If it rains, well, we'll hit the museum!

Flat Top Grill sounds like something she'd like. We have a similar place here but she hasn't been there yet.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:44PM
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chijim

Don't forget there is also The Children's Museum on Navy Pier as well.

If she likes dollhouses, The Museum of Science and Industry has Colleen Moore's huge fairy castle
Also, You can see period rooms done in miniature at The Art Institute.
While there, see La Grande Jatte by Serault and its amazing size.
Check out American Gothic by Grant Wood as well

If you go to the Lincoln Park Zoo, nearby is the Conservatory and the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum.

It's worth touring Macy's on State St(aka Marshall Field's) the huge, venerable, dept store

Here is a link that might be useful: MSI Fairy Castle

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 3:51PM
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