Summertime for me is bittersweet with Clark and Stone. They have a three-month break until school begins, and while I enjoy traveling with them, sometimes my schedule may not allow time to fly away. However, a getaway can be what we need to keep from driving each other crazy. This is where a staycation can come in handy. It’s a day or two away from home but in the city you live in.
My Kinda Town
I was born and raised in Chicago. Although I’ve lived in several cities, I’m so thankful I am raising my sons in this amazing city. Chicago is a hub for food, sports, and entertainment. Plus, it’s loaded with many amazing hotels so it was easy to figure out how to plan a staycation with kids.
I had a ton of hotel options to choose from but I chose the Swissotel. What I like about a staycation with kids, is you have time to completely unplug with your kids but you don’t have the stress of a packed itinerary because you know the city you live in. I love this city and the staycation helped me fall in love with it all over again.
The Swissotel Chicago is prime location for a hotel in the city. It is located right off of Michigan Avenue and Upper Wacker Drive in the heart of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. It’s proximity to city landmarks like Millennium Park, Macy’s, Magnolia Bakery, Nutella Cafe and Navy Pier makes it prime real estate. It has two amazing restaurants inside: Amuse, a hotel bar located inside the lobby that offers signature cocktails and small plates. And The Palm, which has been a part of the Swissotel for over 35 years, with an elegant main dining room and private dining rooms for events.
Since this staycation was with Clark and Stone, I was over the moon to learn they have a kid’s suite. The kid’s suite we stayed in was a one bedroom suite with an adjoining double room completely tricked out for kids. The living room had loads of board games, toys and a teepee for the boys to have fun. Inside Clark and Stone’s room were two double beds, a kid-themed bathroom with bath toys for the boys and a toy bowling lane. Their beds were made with lovies for bedtime that the boys got to take home. The kid’s suite also comes with a free movie, so the boys enjoyed Sherlock Gnomes the morning before we checked out.
I need a whole day to talk about the food that is offered at the Swissotel. We took the boys to the Chicago Bears game earlier in the day, so the Swissotel catering department created a post-game menu that was a big and little kid’s dream. I’m pretty sure I gained 10lbs by checkout. The menu consisted of Chicago-style hot dogs, flatbread pizza, an amazing salad, tater tots and wait for it—a chocolate chip cookie cake that said, “Go Bears”. This was the highlight of the staycation for me because I love food. It is probably the only reason I work out. Everything was absolutely delicious. The food is worth its weight in gold. Seriously, I can’t stop raving about it.
While planning a staycation, think of activities in addition to staying at the hotel. It’s fun to explore the city as tourists. The boys love taking cabs/Ubers so we took one over to Soldier Field. It was their first Chicago Bears game. The Bears played the Kansas City Chiefs and the weather was great. Clark and Stone got their first Walter Payton jersey. We drive by Walter Payton High School every morning on the way to school so I’ve shared my love for “Sweetness”. He was the greatest running back of all time. I was a die-hard Bears fan when I was younger. The more I realize, I was probably destined to have boys because I’m the biggest tomboy. Anyway, the Bears won the game and the boys were so happy. It was a great day for their first Chicago Bears game.
We ended Saturday night with a family fireworks cruise on the Chicago River. As a resident of Chicago, you forget about the cool things to do in the city like taking a water taxi. The
Chicago Riverwalk Fireworks Cruise is the coolest thing for kids or adults. This night was really special as my cousin’s son proposed to his girlfriend in front of the family. It was the sweetest thing. Clark and Stone had so many questions about what it means to propose, what is an engagement, how do you get a girlfriend, etc. I’m so excited and looking forward to them growing up. It’s also really hard to imagine them as adults and no longer my babies.
Home Is Where The Heart Is
Even though I was born and raised in Chicago, I often times feel like a tourist with Clark and Stone. I’m seeing the city through a whole new lens. Planning a staycation for adults mainly is about unplugging and having time to decompress. However, I found planning a staycation for my kids was about exploring the city we live in. Moreover, it was about appreciating the amazing things our city has to offer and not taking them for granted in our day-to-day.
If you live in Chicago and you want to know how to plan a staycation with kids, I highly recommend the Swissotel Chicago for your stay. If you live in another city, I hope you choose a hotel that offers the many amenities that the Swissotel does. More importantly, I hope you fall in love with your city through your kids’ eyes.
Photography: Hallie Duesenberg