Posted on 03/13/2014

Frugal Travels to Fun Places: Chicago

Adventure/ Travel

When I saw a deal on flights to Chicago I jumped at the opportunity to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in nearly a year. Since she lives a few hours away from Illinois and I have been wanting to go for some time now, we figured we would explore the windy city together … with our kids. As we started planning out what we’re going to do we both realized how our weekend girls trip was really centered around the kids.

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I signed up for Airbnb (affiliate link that gives you $20) and reserved a space for us, then checked out local Groupon activities and restaurants so we could save on fun things to do in the short time of our visit. I kinda feel like by skipping the hotel option and staying in a local neighborhood, we’ll be able to check out the city the way local families do, and save money. I mean, I really wanted to stay at a hotel that offers free drinks and snacks all afternoon, but then I realized I could just buy all that myself and still pay less than the hotel bill by going my route. After we had the travel, stay, and a few Groupon vouchers under our belt, we still had to figure out what to do with the kids. I checked out Macaroni Kid Chicago‘s events  calendar and voila — suddenly we had too many outings to choose from! (Which is good, because then if we missed something we had a backup.)

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I recently got back, and this trip will definitely need to be longer next time. It was a week before St. Patrick’s Day, but the city was buzzing with anticipation. Every food item that could have green dye in it was overloaded with bright green, store windows were flooded with Shamrocks, the streets were lined with shamrock flags, and the many McDonald’s locations boasted that they are now serving Shamrock Shakes. Part of me wishes I made my trip for St. Patties weekend, but the parent in me also thinks it would have been a way too crazy first visit to Chicago for my daughter.

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While we were there Savannah saw snow for the first time, we went ice skating, we encountered interesting art sculptures, visited Wrigley Field, and we explored Navy Pier. The visit was quite adventurous (I learned that a lot of train stations with three flights of stairs don’t have escalators) and rewarding (many Chicagoans went out of their way to be polite, generous, and helpful with carrying a stroller down many flights of stairs).

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Where will you go on your next trip?

*I was not paid to write this post. I did include a personal affiliate link to airbnb.com.

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