A Locally Sourced Easter Basket For The WSWDTC Kids


 

Easter is THIS weekend! And no, I am NOT ready.

Here are some amazing goodies from local businesses that I scored for the

kiddos Easter baskets! Many of these ideas are still available

for you to rush out and last minute add to your basket!

 

Easter Basket Stuffers

 

RJK Productions

  • These breakable eggs are HUGE! Honestly, the pictures do not do them justice. They are completely made of chocolate and filled with lots of goodies!
  • Not only are there breakable eggs but lots of different shapes! Soccer balls, bunnies, carrots, and a video game controller!
  • And guess what else? I am taking a break this year from stuffing eggs and purchased an Easter egg hunt kit! All I have to do is hide the eggs and enjoy the fun! They come in 30, 50, 75, and 100 egg sizes.
  • I know for a fact these are still available so place your order NOW!

 

Makoshey

  • They are having an awesome spring sale right now with 25% off sweatshirts and quarter zips!
  • You can also use the code HELEN20 for your discount!
  • Easter basket ideas?
    • They have 3 awesome books you can order: Women in Science, Women in Sports, and Women in Art
    • There are also lots of pastel colored shirts perfect for Easter and spring. They have encouraging words and powerful women to emulate. Not to mention the softest clothing around! What’s better than that?

 

Fizzy Magic Bath Fizzies

  • What kid doesn’t love bath bombs?! The special themed boxes for the holidays are always fun because they come with so many bath bombs! Perfect for me to split amongst all 4 kids. The Easter themed box is absolutely perfect for the kids Easter baskets!
  • But there are also giant bath fizzies with all sorts of different surprises inside and a large variety of other options.
  • We love making bath time magical with pure and safe ingredients that smell great and soften the skin!

 

Rebecca’s Cakes By Design

  • You know we love our “Paint and Eat” cookies! So of course we had to order Easter / spring themed ones from Rebecca!
  • She has an amazing storefront in Bartlett now for all of our dessert needs!

 

WE Events

  • The spring packages were absolutely adorable, so we went with the Bunny Buddy package that includes this adorable bunny stand, a cookie decorating kit from A Little Frosting Bakeshop, Bunny basket tags for each kids basket, and spring confetti from Confetti Fun By Russell.
  • I also got balloon wands to place in each kids basket for some extra fun!
  • The packages may be sold out but she always has bags of balloons that the kids love to jump and play around in! Not to mention if you have any events coming up or birthdays, you will love her creative balloon garlands, hoops, and pretty much any creation you can think of!
  • The best part of all of this are all of the donations to non-profit organizations that come from people like you and me purchasing WE Events balloons!

 https://whatshouldwedotodaychicago.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/477eac9364cb4cd382a53d0bf0ea512f-1.mov

Created By Bash Crayons

  • You can never have enough crayons, so you might as well make them cute!
  • Name crayons, initials with a cute shape, or just cute shapes like bunnies and Easter eggs!

 

Moments Savored Events

  • This mama owned business always has the cutest candy / cookie tins, charcuterie boards, gorgeous giant flowers, you name it!!
  • Order by DM’ing @momentssavored or email momentsavored@gmail.com
  • We ordered these adorable bunny, candy, tins and the pastel, geometric, cocoa bombs!

 

State of Play Kids

  • Although perfect for Easter baskets, the rainbow colored Midwest and Windy City tees are a must have for spring and summer!
  • Kids will love it just as much as parents and who doesn’t love a good matching outfit for the fam?

 

Colorful Creations

  • Another great surprise for the girls Easter baskets.
  • They are a huge fan of the fun bows but I knew they would love these Easter themed necklaces! I can’t wait to see their reaction when they open them!
  • I also got them the mystery filled Easter egg! I cracked one open and got a sneak peek of what will be in store for the girls Easter morning!
  • How cute is this?!

 

Mama & OG

  • THIS is the Instagram account to follow! I love all of her sensory bin ideas and adventures with her kiddo! (Plus I love that we both have toddlers with the initials OG!)
  • She recently started making these resin letters / numbers and her lovely sister (@momschoolpsych) makes awesome monogrammed cases perfect to hold them!
  • Way too late to order these for Easter but that shouldn’t stop you from just ordering in general! You have to message @mama.and.og to place your order!

 

Kido Chicago

  • The CUTEST toy store in the city!
  • Luckily my 2 yr old doesn’t remember shopping for his own Easter basket gifts! Not only are the toys here adorable, but the book selection is FANTASTIC! Everything you need to create a perfectly diverse home library.

 

 

Easter / Spring Treats!

 

Stan’s Donuts and Coffee Chicago

  • Multiple locations around Chicagoland
  • You decorated eggs, now it’s time for donuts! Order a donut decorating kit from the infamous Stan’s!
  • There are also Peeps donuts! Yum!

JoJos Shake Bar

  • Chicago
  • Peep Show Hot Chocolate
  • Peeps N Cream Shake
  • JoJo’s outdoor Candyland ends 4/11! Make sure to reserve a table ASAP

XO Marshmallow

  • Chicago
  • Did you know the world’s 1st marshmallow cafe is in Chicago?
  • We visited this adorable cafe a few days ago and enjoyed their latest spring flavors!
  • My son got the frozen lemonade topped with marshmallow, jelly beans, and peeps!
  • I got the Frozen Key Lime Pie! Yum!

Vanille Patisserie

  • Chicago
  • Last call for Easter orders is 11 AM 4-1-21.
  • But don’t fret! They always have adorable treats around the cafe for last minute treats and basket stuffers!

REDstop

  • Carol Stream
  • The latest shake flavor at REDstop is a cherry shake with cotton candy bunny tail. Topped with Peeps, jelly beans, candy carrot, and a surprise Easter egg.
  • Don’t forget to order a yummy meal from their menu!

Premo’s Ice Cream

  • Oak Lawn
  • This ice cream shop is just the cutest! Their fun creations are to die for and the kids and I all tried something different!
  • I got a giant banana split encased in an Easter egg, the girls got the Cadbury Creme shake, and the boys got vanilla soft serve ice cream with gummy butterflies, easter sprinkles, and strawberry syrup.

Sweet Mandy B’s

  • Easer / spring cutouts sure to please the whole family!
  • Not to mention, all sorts of other sweets perfect to pass around the table.

St. Patrick’s Day in Chicagoland


This year we will surely be missing the parades and green river. It’s hard to believe that we are coming up on the 1 year anniversary of this pandemic and the second round of event cancellations for this particular holiday. But just as with Valentine’s Day, this is another opportunity for us to support local businesses with our wallets and still create special memories with your family.

 

Treats

 

West Town Bakery

  • Chicago
  • Green glazed donuts are available for preorder until 3/14!
  • Pssst! Hey moms and dads, you can actually preorder their green jello shots with gold leaf until 3/10!

 

Bombobar

  • Chicago
  • Stop by this month to score the limited time, Irish Cream flavored bombolini!

 

RJK Productions

  • Downers Grove
  • “You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy this family fun and delicious St. Patrick’s Day Activity. We love our Breakable Chocolate Shamrock with a variety of candy surprises inside: pop rocks green candy, gold & green coins and St. Patrick’s Day necklaces.”

 

Rebecca’s Cakes By Design

  • Bartlett
  • St.Patrick’s Paint & Eat Cookies
  • Irish car bomb cupcakes
  • Cookie decorating kits

 

Stan’s Donuts and Coffee

  • Emerald Dipped Donuts! Chocolate on the outside and green on the inside!
  • There’s also green hot chocolate and green, cold, foam beverages.

 

Sugargoat 

  • Preorder from the latest Stephanie Izard establishment!
  • St. Patty’s Day cookies
  • St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes
  • Irish Stout Cake
  • Lucky Cereal Cake

 

JoJo’s Shake Bar

  • Get the Lucky Charms Biggie Hot Chocolate, Starting Monday 3/8 through 3/11 at Hubbard St & Water Tower Location 

 

Sweet Mandy B’s

  • St. Patrick’s Day Cookie Decorating Kits are going fast!
  • Must preorder by calling:
    • Lincoln Park: 773-244-1174
    • Streeterville: 312-255-1632
  • Available March 13th – March 20 in limited quantities

Vanille Patisserie

  • Chicago
  • The pictures of their Lucky Charm Macarons are to die for! Place your order ASAP!
  • St. Patricks Day cookies and cakes also available.

 

XO Marshmallow

  • There are so many St. Paddy’s Day treat options, I don’t know how you guys will possibly choose!!
    • Vanilla shamrock shaped marshmallows
    • Irish coffee marshmallows
    • Irish cream dream bars
    • Pistachio marshmallows
    • Mint chocolate chip marshmallows
    • Lucks O’Charm frozen drink
    • Shimmy It Up mint hot cocoa

The Rainbow Bake Shop

  • Chicago
  • You’ll love the Irish Bitty Bombs, Rainbow & Irish Bagel Kits, and Leprechaun Chow Mix!
  • Can’t wait to surprise the kids with a fun breakfast and treats from this bakery!

REDstop

  • Carol Stream
  • NEW shake of the month: Leprechaun Shake. A mint shake rimmed with lucky charms
    • Topped with 2 thin mint cookies
    • 2 rainbow strips
    • Chocolate gold coin
    • Rainbow candy sprinkles
    • Ring pop

 

Premo’s Ice Cream

  • Oak Lawn
  • Enjoy a Lick of the Irish cone
  • St. Paddy’s Day Shakes
    • Dropkick Murphy
    • Sheleighly
    • Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow
  • A Guiness Sundae for adults is available!

Gifts

 

State of Play Kids

  • I love the rainbow Windy City and Midwest designs as a fun, subtle, celebration for St. Patrick’s Day but still perfect for Easter, spring, and all year round!

 

Fizzy Magic Bath Fizzies

  • Symbols of Luck Box Collection
    • 5 fizzies + 2 bonus items = Lucky #7
    • All fizzies contain surprises that represent symbols of luck!
  • My kids absolutely ADORE these bath bombs made by a local mama! She ships anywhere though so don’t let distance stop you!
  • “Educational Bath Fizzies – Fun, Fizz & Learn!. Pure & Safe Ingredients with essential oils to calm kids before bedtime but best of all – each fizzy contains a surprise, clue to guess and fun fact to learn along with bedtime story relates to the surprise.”

 

Colorful Creations

  • These bows are always amazing for fun holidays and occasions but I found it especially special that the girls could have St. Patrick’s Day bows featuring clay figurines with darker skin tones.
  • These bows will tie them to their Irish heritage without them feeling excluded due to their darker skin tones and features.

 

Makoshey

  • Need a green shirt to wear? March is Women’s History Month so why not support both?!
  • Our picks for green tees to wear are the Rosa Parks tee, the Jane Goodall tee, and the Wilma Rudolph tee!
  • Use code HELEN20 for your discount!

 

P.S. You’re The Best

  • We love coloring these kids for holidays and also no reason at all!
  • Is your family heritage Irish? This would be a fun way to say hello to a grandparent or other relative!

 

Hopscotch City

  • Download this adorable Lucky Charm Printable and snag the cutest garland for your mantle!

 

Mama & OG

  • Thinking of doing a St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin? Don’t miss out on purchasing these themed resin letters from this local mama!
  • Or purchase resin letters for any reason at all! They are fun for cake toppers, practicing letters, sensory bins, and “selfies!”

 

Le Village Cowork Unboxed

  • COMING SOON!
  • The newest edition of Unboxed is Fairytales and Folklore!

 

Activities

 

Colors of Chicago Virtual Story Time

  • COMING SOON!
  • We have a VERY special guest reading a special book to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We think you guys will be blown away by this so stay tuned and wait for our special announcement!!

 

Shamrock Our Block!

  • “After the cancelation of the South Side Irish Parade for the second year in a row due to COVID-19, organizers have come up with a new way to celebrate Irish pride and pump some badly needed money into businesses in the Beverly and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.”
  • “The South Side Irish Parade Committee will be hosting “Shamrock Our Blocks” celebration. We’re encouraging everyone to consider decorating their houses, light poles, cars or whatever else around their home or block they decide to deck-out in green this year.”
  • The Shamrock Our Block yard signs cost $20 and the funds raised will go towards supporting the area local businesses in the Beverly and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.

 

The Kid’s Table

  • “Calling all Lads & Lassies! Get a head start on St. Patrick’s Day & join us as we cook up some of our favorite themed recipes. Drop in for a virtual cooking class – just $18 for a 1 hour class or $35 for our 2 hour Supper Club. Hope to see you soon!”

 

Visit Givin’s Irish Castle

  • Givins Irish Castle is at the corner of 103rd Street and Longwood Drive in the Beverly neighborhood on the Far South Side of Chicago.
  • “The current church building, called the “Irish Castle” was built from 1886 to 1887 under the direction of Robert C. Givins, a successful real estate developer. It is a three story structure with three crenelated towers. Givins lived in the castle from 1887-1894, then from 1895-1897 the castle housed the Chicago Female College. Beverly Unitarian Church purchased the building for $14,000 and has used it since 1942. It is the only building in the city described as a “castle.”

 

St. Charles St. Patrick Celebration

  • “The St. Charles St. Patrick’s Celebration, which will be held on Saturday, March 13, will not include the St. Patrick’s Parade. In place of the parade, the St. Charles Business Alliance will be hosting events around town, including a festive Photo Op Area and Roaming Bagpipers. St. Charles businesses will also offer St. Patrick’s promotions to be featured on the St. Patrick’s Celebration website.

    Other events during the St. Patrick’s Celebration will be a Treasure Hunt, where families can find Leprechauns in downtown St. Charles Businesses and be entered to win a “Pot of Gold” containing a selection of prizes from around St. Charles.”

  • The photography station will be located on Riverside Ave. & Illinois St. March 13th-17th.
  • The roaming bagpipers will be visiting St. Charles on March 13th from 12:00pm-3:00pm.
  • Explore the local businesses and their special deals for the weekend!

 

Trinity Irish Dancers

  • Experience the Trinity Irish Dancers perform at Harp & Fiddle in Park Ridge. Free entry and family friendly
  • “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all month long with the Trinity Irish Dancers! All Trinity performances will showcase a blend of power and grace, featuring lively music, complex rhythms, and dancers as young as 3.5 who will melt your heart as they take the stage for the first time. At all of our Trinity performances, the audience is encouraged to get on their feet and learn the Irish Jig!”
  • Friday, March 12th at 5:15
  • Saturday, March 13th at 11:15 AM
  • Saturday, March 13th at 5:15 PM

 

Ballydoyle Family Day

  • Aurora
  • “St. Patrick’s Family Day is a way to celebrate the greatest of Irish holidays in a way that is fun for all ages! We’ll have Irish Brunch, Irish Dancers, Live Music, and Craft Kits for all the wee ones. Capacity will be restricted to ensure social distancing and a safe environment to celebrate with your family. This is a seated event and patrons will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis – so come early! There is no ticket fee for this event, however, you MUST pre-register.”

 

Downtown Geneva Lucky Leprechaun Hunt

  • “13 leprechauns are hidden in downtown Geneva. Find them all for a chance to win a $25 Geneva Chamber gift card.”
  • You must fill out the google form for entry:
    https://forms.gle/zGUWCE2WHX8Z9ts46 and post a selfie of you and a leprechaun on your FB or IG page and tag Adventures in Scavenger Hunting

 

Downtown Tinley Park Green Cauldron Scavenger Hunt

  • “Lucky the Leprechaun has hidden some of his treasure in various Downtown Tinley businesses and needs your help to find it! Starting Monday, March 1, find the green cauldron in the window of each participating business and use the official game form to note the treasure that Lucky has hidden in each one, http://ow.ly/ELte50DKPVo. If you get them all right, Lucky just might pick you as the winner!”
  • “Looking for that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow can be exhausting. While you search, why not take a break by checking out the Village’s brand-new Luck of the Irish virtual map? There you’ll find a listing of dozens of Tinley Park businesses offering special deals throughout March in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day!
    To participate, just visit the Virtual Map link and then click on each business to see all the Irish specials, http://ow.ly/MvJd50DKPv8″

Lucky Leprechaun Hunt

  • Fox Valley Park District
  • “We have shenanigans in our woods, the Leprechaun has been spotted and you can go seek his pot of gold! Purchase the digital clues to see if you can find him or his pot of gold somewhere on the grounds of Red Oak! The search is on from March 13th until the 18th. A small prize will be the reward for the lucky finders of this sneaky forest friend! Adults need not register but must accompany registrants. An email with a link to the clues will be emailed after 3pm on the 13th.”

 

 

 


A Black History Scavenger Hunt Through Bronzeville


The Great Migration of 1916 involved African Americans, in the tens of thousands, traveling to Chicago to escape the Jim Crow South and bolster the industrial labor force.

 

“The black population in Chicago more than doubled during World War I to around 100,000. By 1970, as the Great Migration drew to a close, there were one million African Americans in Chicago, a third of the city’s population. Most of these new arrivals to Chicago found themselves living in a narrow strip of blocks on the South Side, stretching from Twenty-second Street down to Fifty-first Street. The neighborhood was initially labeled the “Black Belt” or the “Black Ghetto,” but an African American writer suggested calling it “Bronzeville,” a name that many residents found less insulting.”

– “Chicago and the Great Migration, 1915–1950.” Digital Collections for the Classroom – February 24, 2021, https://dcc.newberry.org/?p=14436

 

Although Chicago did not have the same official discriminatory laws that African Americans were fleeing from, that was primarily due to the fact that there was not a large Black population initially. Once that shifted, culturally, the caste system of the South was still ever present in the North. However, Black History Month is NOT about rehashing the American history of discrimination and suffering but celebrating the accomplishments of Black people who persevered and succeeded when all the odds were (and are) against them. And Chicago, particularly Bronzeville, is brimming with remembrance.

 

Bronzeville IS Chicago Black History, and the goal today is to encourage you to venture out, with children in tow, to immerse yourself in the history of your own city. Due to the pandemic, the included map and scavenger hunt will be more of a walking tour of historical landmarks. But for future adventures, plan a more immersive experience by visiting the museums, galleries, and local restaurants!

 

Please enjoy these coloring pages designed in collaboration with Hopscotch City while you explore Bronzeville and appreciate the Black History that built this great city! And remember to tag us! @whatshouldwedotodaychicago & @hopscotchcity

 

 

 

 

Here are the top landmarks to explore throughout the area:

 

  1. Bronzeville Children’s Museum 
    • Although outside the bounds of Bronzeville officially, this museum is the first and only African American children’s museum in the U.S.
    • Named after historic Bronzeville, the museum focuses on African American culture and history.
  2. DuSable Museum of African American History
    • Another America first thanks to Chicago!
    • DuSable Museum of African American History is the nation’s first independent museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent.
    • “Chicago is a city rich in African-American History, and the Museum’s namesake comes from Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian of African and French descent, who in 1779 established the trading post and permanent settlement which would become known as Chicago.”
  3. Obama Family Home
    • 5046 S. Greenwood Ave
  4. Obama Kissing Rock
    • The corner of Dorchester Ave & 53rd St.
    • A plaque across from a Subway is where President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama had their first kiss
  5. Harold Washington Cultural Center
    • Originally the grounds held The Regal, a former historic black theatre. It played host to the most prominent icons in African-American music such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington regularly.
    • Now an education and performing arts center named after Chicago’s first black mayor.
  6. Gallery Guichard
    • “Andre Guichard, Frances Guichard and Stephen Mitchell, opened the gallery in 2005 with the mission to expose patrons to multicultural artists specializing in the African Diaspora. Through fine art exhibitions, experiential events, and art tours, Gallery Guichard gives emerging underrepresented talent and mid-career artists an opportunity to develop their imagination and creativity.”
  7. Louis Armstrong House
    • 421 E. 44th Street
    • “Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans into extreme
      poverty. He learned to play the cornet while serving a
      sentence for delinquency. After eight years of playing
      in clubs and on riverboats, Armstrong moved to Chicago
      to join Joe “King” Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band.”
    • The home is a private residence but there is a memorial plaque on the outside of the building.
  8. Nat King Cole Home
    • While living at 4023 South Vincennes Ave, Nat King Cole played amateur clubs in Chicago like the Savoy Ballroom and Regal Theatre.
  9. South Side Community Art Center
    • “Founded in 1940, SSCAC is the oldest African American art center in the United States and is a Chicago Historic Landmark. While taking pride in our rich past, we today build on our legacy and innovatively serve as an artist- and community-centered resource with programs, exhibitions and events that inspire.”
  10. Wabash Avenue YMCA
    • “Only the Wabash Avenue YMCA can claim itself as the undisputed birthplace of Black History Month. Located in the heart of the historic Bronzeville district and often referred to as the “Colored `Y’ ” during its heyday, the five-story building was where historian Carter G. Woodson and three buddies developed the notion that if whites learned more about the contributions of blacks, the races would get along better. The result of those meetings was “Negro History Week,” first observed 70 years ago.” – Sabrina Miller from the Chicago Tribune
  11. Chicago Bee Building
    • This building originally housed The Chicago Bee, an African American newspaper.
    • Built and founded by Anthony Overton, the first black cosmetics maker to be in Woolworth drug stores and the first African American to lead a major business conglomerate.
    • The building is now a branch of the Chicago Public Library
  12. Overton Hygienic Building
    • The headquarters of the aforementioned cosmetics company from Anthony Overton.
    • Overton was responsible for State Street being “The Black Wall Street.”
    • “The building also housed the Douglass National Bank, the first nationally chartered, African American owned bank. The Overton Hygienic Building not only housed Overton’s empire, it also provided rental space for other Black professionals, including lawyers, doctors, and architects.”
  13. Ida B. Wells House
    • 3624 S. Martin Luther King Dr.
    • “After settling in Chicago, Wells-Barnett founded the Negro Fellowship League for black men, the first kindergarten for black children, and, in 1913, the first suffrage club for black women.”
    • Ida B. Wells is known for documenting and speaking out against the lynchings that were occurring across the country and championing anti-lynching legislation.
    • Congress has never passed anti-lynching legislation to this day.
  14. Victory Monument
    • 35th Street and King Drive
    • “This structure was erected to honor the meritorious achievements of the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in France during World War I as part of the 370th U.S. Infantry.”
  15. Eighth Regiment Armory
    • 3519 South Giles
    • “The Armory was constructed in 1915 to provide refuge for the all black 9th Infantry Battalion, which fought in the Poncho Villa Campaign at the Mexican border. It was later reorganized as the 8th Infantry and was comprised of “all black” officers and soldiers from the State of Illinois which fought in France during WWI.”
    • The armory is now home to the Chicago Military Academy
  16. Sunset Cafe
    • 315 E. 35th St
    • Later known as The Grand Terrace Cafe, The Sunset Cafe was a famous jazz club in Chicago.
    • Considered a “Black and Tan” club where minorities could mingle with authorities without (as) much fear.
    • Also the club where Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, and many more graced audiences with their music.
    • A plaque on the side of the building commemorates this historical site.
  17. Chicago Defender Building
    • 3435 S. Indiana Ave
    • A former Jewish synagogue which housed The Chicago Defender newspaper from 1920 – 1960
    • This newspaper is partially responsible for encouraging southern Blacks to migrate North for work opportunities as well as campaigned for equality and against Jim Crow violence.
  18. Unity Hall
    • 3140 S. Indiana Ave
    • Chicago’s first African-American alderman and the nations first Black congressman, Oscar dePriest, established The People’s Movement Club and moved it into what is now known as Unity Hall.
  19. Monument to the Great Northern Migration
    • 2600 S. Martin Luther King Drive
    • Alison Saar’s 1994 sculpture depicts a traveler whose entire outfit is made out of the soles of his worn out shoes. He is pointed northward, hand raised, luggage in hand. Representing all of the Black travelers who comprised of The Great Migration.
    • The sculpture is situated at the historic entrance to Bronzeville.

 

From The Monument to the Great Migration, follow the Bronzeville Walk of Fame! The 91 bronze plaques on sidewalks and medians along 35th street commemorate former neighborhood residents who have made contributions to Bronzeville and the African American community at large.


Loving Our Chicagoland Businesses For Valentines Day


While last years Valentines round up consisted of a multitude of businesses, play cafes, and parks with fun children’s activities, this year the list is more about supporting our local businesses by purchasing from them and enjoying a fun day with the family at home.

I know we are getting sick of being cooped up at home for nearly a year now, BUT if February is about showing the love, let’s show the love to the small businesses that need our support the most!

 

Edible Treats

 

 

 

  • West Town Bakery & Diner
    • Chicago
    • Delicious Valentine Day creations include:
      • Hot Cocoa Love Bombs
      • Heart Pop Tarts
      • Cakeballs
      • Heart donuts
      • Chocolate Smash Hearts
      • Love Bug cakes (premade or decorate yourself)
      • Mini cheesecake conversation hearts
    • MUST preorder by 2/10 at noon.
  • Sugargoat by Stephanie Izard
    • Chicago (shipping available through Goldbelly)
    • “Whether you’re treating yourself, your gal-pal or your partner, we’re here to make the day as sweet as can be!”
    • Preorder ASAP
    • Valentine’s Day cookies, cake, cupcakes, and giant cookie hearts.
  • Bombobar
    • Their seasonal Valentine’s items launch February 1st!! Stay tuned for some yummy goodies!
  • XO Marshmallow
    • Heart shaped marshmallows for your hot cocoa would be perfect!
    • Or how about the S’mores Kit For 2?
  • Coffee, Hip Hop, and Mental Health
    • Visit the coffee pop up shop at 3243 N. Broadway and enjoy some “Self-Love” from their coffee menu!
  • JoJo’s Shake Bar
    • Make a reservation at the “Love Shack” / JoJos Candyland beginning 2/2.
  • Molly’s Cupcakes Rivereast
    • Order before Feb 7th, and receive 10% off Valentines items for pick up or delivery on Valentines Day weekend 2/11-2/14
    • USE “EARLYBIRD” at checkout!
    • Heart shaped chocolate chip cookie or brownie
    • Cupcake assortment of their most valentine filled flavors
    • Valentines cheesecake sampler
    • Chocolate strawberries and truffles
  • Vanille Patisserie
    • Spread the love and sweetness for everyone in your life with your favorite Vanille treats!
      • Macarons
      • French pastries
      • Cutie cakes
      • DIY cookie kits
    • Check out this amazing Sweetheart Afternoon Tea Special
  • RJK Productions
    • Downers Grove
    • The “beary” cute breakable desserts were the PERFECT way to take this holiday to the next level for the kids. They are really going to get a kick out of this when they wake up to their surprises on the 14th.
    • On top of that, the menu consists of heart shaped chocolate covered oreos, heart hot cocoa bombs, coffee bombs, kid bomb valentines, and teacher gift sets!

  • Rebecca’s Cakes By Design
    • Bartlett
    • It has become a new tradition to order “Paint & Eat” cookies for each holiday. It’s a dessert and craft in one!
    • On top of that she will be carrying:
      • Decorate your own cookie kit
      • Conversation heart cookies in mailbox
      • Assorted valentines cookies $3 each
      • Valentines cake pops (vanilla, chocolate and red velvet)
      • Cocoa bombs
      • Chocolate covered strawberries
      • Cupcake bouquets (6 cupcakes)
    • New location set to open February 3rd!!!
    • Baked goods prepared in a nut free kitchen.

 

  • SmorgasBoards
    • Carol Stream
    • Enjoy with the kids or enjoy a quiet night, post bed time, with your significant other!
    • Offerings include:
      • Hot Cocoa Tray
      • Chocolate Fondue Tray
      • Fan Favorite Charcuterie Board
      • Midwestern Charcuterie Board

 

  • Hey Sugar
    • Geneva
    • Besides the over the top hot cocoa creations, you’ll love the Valentine’s Day selections:
      • Strawberry shortcake cupcakes
      • V-day themed hot cocoa bombs
      • Breakable chocolate hearts available for preorder
      • White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cupcakes

  • Portillo’s
    • “We’re giving our Famous, homemade Chocolate cake a new shape in this Valentine’s Day edition. Single-layer heart shaped chocolate cakes are now available for pre-order at all Portillo’s restaurants. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from every heart shaped cake purchased will benefit an organization close to our heart – The American Red Cross.”
    • “Heart shaped cakes will be available to pick up at your local Portillo’s February 10th-14th. You can pre-order a heart shaped cake now online or by calling 866-YUM-BEEF. Hurry! Pre-order today while supplies last.”
  • Lou Malnati’s
    • “What’s better than a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day? A heart-shaped pizza from Lou Malnati’s, of course!”
    • “9″ heart-shaped pizzas are available at all locations starting February 8th through Valentine’s Day.”
  • Jeni’s Ice Cream
    • Do you know what makes the perfect valentine?! Jeni’s Cone Coins!
    • “Every Cone Coin is good for one kids cone at a Jeni’s scoop shop. You can also buy Cone Coins in bundles at our scoop shops nationwide.”
    • I plan on buying a bundle to include with the valentine cards for my kids classrooms!
    • And don’t forget the adults! Jeni’s is featuring a “Bouquet of Chocolates for Two.”
      • “A Bouquet of Chocolates for Two! Available in our shops February 4–14, the bouquet includes two trios on a waffle cone—Darkest Chocolate, Cookies in Cream, and Dark Chocolate Truffle—plus two bottles of seltzer, for $15.”

 

Our wonderful friend @wheresrubytoday has even MORE fantastic suggestions of Valentine’s Day Sweet Treats. Follow her and check out her list!

 

 

 

 

Fun Packages

 

  • WE Events
    • Balloons fit for every occasion, with proceeds donated to a cause!
    • Purchase a bag of balloons & photo backdrop package for your at home v-day party!
    • Purchase a Be Kind garland to spruce up the mantle or your store front
    • Or purchase a fun valentine wand to surprise your kids on the morning of the 14th!
    • A portion of each package will be donated to One Tail At A Time.

 

  • Flour & Flowers by MK and Kio Creations

    • Naperville
    • Preorder now through Feb 10th for pick-up the 7th – 13th.
    • Bring the party home with this awesome collaboration!
    • The party pack includes:
      • 6 cupcakes to eat or 6 cookies to decorate and eat
      • A balloon cluster & banner to decorate your space
      • Coloring and activity pages

 

  • Staycation at The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago
    • The V-day package includes a POP Valentine’s Day kid’s box, DIY cookies to decorate, sparkling juice/wine, and a free movie rental.
  • Waterlemon
    • La Grange
    • STAY TUNED! Valentine’s Day balloon bouquets and the Valentine’s Day balloon box will be announced any day!
    • These adorable packages always sell out FAST so make sure to subscribe and order as soon as you get the email!
  • Dazzling Divas
    • Downers Grove
    • Dazzling Divas are open for private appointments! Either single appointments or small parties. The perfect way to spoil your little girls for V-day!
    • OR you can order a Diva Valentine Box for a spa day at home!

 

Clothing

 

  • State of Play Kids
    • Nothing says Valentine’s Day more than showing your love for the city you adore! Super simple, but super cute and a size for every member of the family!

  • Makoshey
    • We adore this company for their girl positive clothing. The super soft, comfy, and inspirational clothing is a fan favorite in our household and the perfect tee for February is the Maya Angelou, “Love recognizes no barriers” tee. Order yours today!
    • Use code HELEN20 for a discount!
  • Colorful Creations
    • The Valentines Day collection is too cute for words!
    • Hair bows and head bands with the cutest sparkles, characters, and fun colors!
    • There are also bow ties, straw toppers, and other fun items.

 

Crafts & Gifts

 

  • Fizzy Magic
    • These aren’t just your every day bath bombs people!
    • “Educational Bath Fizzies – Fun, Fizz & Learn!. Pure & Safe Ingredients with essential oils to calm kids before bedtime but best of all – each fizzy contains a surprise, clue to guess and fun fact to learn along with bedtime story relates to the surprise.”
    • The Valentine Limited Edition Box has surprises inside the fizzies to match the included valentines for your kids to color and hand out.
    • The perfect, non-candy, valentine! Use in the tub or use in a sensory table!
  • P.S. You’re The Best
    • Valentine’s Day Card Packs ready for kids to color and send to their loved ones!
    • A fantastic opportunity for children to tell their friends and family how much they love them!
  • Ljacs and JLaur
    • Northbrook
    • “The Valentine’s Mini Sensory Kits have had rave reviews pouring in of kiddos spending hours exploring with our sensory/open ended kits, all while supporting local!”
  • 3D Valentine Card Workshop
    • Chicago Children’s Museum
    • Saturday, February 6th at 3 PM CST
    • “Join Chicago Children’s Museum for a free virtual 3D Valentine’s Day card-making workshop on February 6, 2021. You and your little ones will join Kim Koin, director of CCM’s Tinkering Lab and Art Studio, for a conversation about showing appreciation for loved ones, including parents, friends, teachers, and more. Then, you’ll use your favorite art supplies to create cards that incorporate surprising pop-up features that are sure to make your loved ones smile. Exclusively for Mastercard cardholders.”
  • Hopscotch City
    • Hopscotch City can always be counted on for adorable printables and craft ideas and Valentine’s Day is no exception!
    • Check out her etsy shop for a cute Valentines Day Donuts Paper Garland and Valentines Day Mailbox printable.
  • Pop of Paper Co.
    • “Looking for a simple and fun Vday craft? Pick up one of our Valentine Mailboxes to decorate and collect love notes all month long!”
    • Kit includes:
      •1 large kraft mailbox
      •Supplies to paint and decorate
      •2 honeycomb Valentines
      •Local drop off or pick up ONLY
    • Email info@popofpaperco.com to order!
    • Pop of Paper Co. will be popping up at Vintage Charm (La Grange) on February 6th selling their kid decor, Valentine’s POP boxes and taking orders for the Feb 14th Paper Balloon Valentine Drops!
  • Le Village Cowork
    • “All you need is love…. and our Valentine’s Day Unboxed! This special edition holiday kit comes with 4 adorable activities that are perfect for your kiddo to have fun learning while expressing their love for Valentine’s Day.”
    • “Make Valentine’s Day slime, Create a heart-filled memento, send a  V-Day card, and a create a piece of jewelry Mom might even want to wear!”
  • The Colorful Co.
    • Mantra Prints:
      • “Mantras are a powerful way for kids (and grown-ups!) to feel a sense of inner strength and take on whatever comes their way with confidence. Our art prints pair colorful affirmations with fully customizable illustrations of your kiddo: choose a hair style, hair color and skin color, and add their name to any print.”
    • Valentine’s Day Cards
      • Download printable Valentine’s Day cards! Available as an add on for Mantra Print orders or as a customized cards just for Valentine’s Day. (Bonus: custom card orders include a downloadable portrait of your kiddo to print and frame!)
      • Pickup and delivery options available for Chicagoans
  • Cozy and Cashmere
    • Hey mamas! Treat yourself to either of these two Valentine’s Day gift sets:
      • A trio of candles whose scents include: Rose, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and Romance
      • 5 piece Valentine’s Day Gift Set: The above three candles as well as a matte black, wick trimmer, and black canvas bag with cheeky saying.
    • Check out her Zoom Candle Making Parties including a Galentines Night!
      • Cozy and Cashmere provides kits for each participant with everything needed to make a candle, including a reusable double boiler.
  • Kido Chicago
    • If you are making Valentine gift bags for your littles, I highly recommend purchasing books and toys from Kido!
    • They are currently closed for in store browsing but you can shop online and purchase curbside pick up or have items shipped to you directly.
  • Little Babes
    • The cutest surprises for your little girl for V-Day!
    • Choose from the Mommy & Me Sweetheart Bag and Valentines necklaces!
  • Stacey M. Design
    • Valentine’s Day is about loving others and also, loving yourself!
    • Her inclusive, guided journals, notebooks, and most importantly, the social emotional learning curriculum, are fantastic tools to help children love each other despite our differences, and also love themselves!

 

 

Activities

 

  • The Kids Table
    • “We have a full line-up of virtual cooking classes for kids, teens and families. With interactive instruction from our skilled instructors, young chefs get to chop, mix and roll their way to a different delicious dish in each class – with enough to share with the fam! Kids learn valuable culinary skills and new recipes, enjoy a fun hands-on activity, and are inspired to expand their taste buds to discover that “real food” can be really good.”
    • Winter II Session begins February 8th and the menu includes:
      • Heart shaped sugar cookies
      • Fruit pop tarts
      • Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Berry Coulis
      • Baked Beignets
      • And more!
    • Keep an eye out for the Presidents Day Camp, Feb 15th & 16th!
  • Chitown Movies
    • Enjoy a romantic movie the old fashioned way!
    • This Pilsen drive in is showing rom com classics for a date night or family friendly Lady & The Tramp for some family, valentine, fun!
  • Ice Art Walk
    • Downtown Wheaton
    • Saturday, February 6th from 12 PM – 6 PM
    • Peruse the custom, carved, ice sculptures
    • (The cocoa crawl portion of the event is sold out already)
    • Winter Sidewalk Sales
    • Enjoy the holiday lighting in Adams Park
  • Virtual Enchanted Princess Ball
    • The Enchanted Princess Ball is going virtual!
    • The Princesses will transport you to a palace wonderland, singing & dancing into you hearts!
  • Paulette’s Princess Parties
    • Virtual offerings include:
      • Sweetheart Zooms with BeautyBelle
      • Cinderella Valentine Sing-a-Grams
      • Zoom Birthday Parties
  • A Fairy Tale Ballet
    • Look out for their Valentine’s Day Camps, celebrating love with Rapunzel’s Wedding!
  • Miss Jamies Farm & Nanny Nikki
    • A special team up of two loved, local, children’s performer favorites!
    • The YouTube video premiere will be on February 6th at 10 AM CST
  • Nanny Nikki Music
    • Live Valentines Day Sing-A-Long, Sunday Feb 14th at 10 AM CST
  • Bubbles Academy
    • Bubbles Academy will be weaving valentines / love content and black history month artist features into their virtual classes throughout the month!
    • Bubbles Academy is also a drop off location for Betsy’s Blankets Valentine Drive! Deliver virtual hugs through warm blankets and bedding for those in need.
      • New blankets, any size
      • New twin size bedding
      • Drop off in the lobby!
  • Be Our Valentine
    • Oak Brook Park District
    • Friday, February 12th at 4:30 PM
    • “Bring your family out to the park for a very special night on February 12 and Be Our Valentine! The event runs from 4:30-7:30 pm. Start at Central Park West where Minnie and Mickey Mouse would love to meet you and have a Valentine treat for you! After you meet them you can visit our patio dance party and walk our very special Winter Lights show. Use the camera app on your phone to hover over QR codes throughout the trail, to find special Valentine messages! All children must register to participate. Adults are free.”
    • The cost to participate is $11 for residents and $14 for non-residents
  • Candyland Trail
    • Itasca, Springbrook Nature Center
    • Saturday, February 20th at 10 AM
    • “The beloved children’s game is brought to life in this sweet and whimsical event. Participants will walk the path and encounter familiar characters, play interactive games, and find delicious treats. One adult per child. Masks are required. Dress warm for this outdoor event.”
  • National Eat Ice Cream For Breakfast Day is February 6th!
    • Check out your favorite creameries for special offerings that day or just to support their business and purchase a sweet treat!
    • Kimmer’s
      • Wheaton, St.Charles, Batavia
      • “It’s back! Our breakfast flavors will be in house for National Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast day on Saturday, February 6th! Our doors will open early, at 9am.
        Things will look a little different this year.
        Our breakfast themed Party Packs will be available for pre-order, both online and in shop, Wednesday, January 27th-Sunday, January 31st.”
  • Wauconda Winterfest 2021
    • Save the Date! WinterFest 2021: Feb 5-7
    • Enjoy Wauconda’s winter wonderland for a socially distant celebration that will be fun for the whole family!
    • Events include Hockey Skills Competition, Scavenger Hunt and Hike, Burling Tournament, Free Skate on Lake, Kid activities, Soup Smackdown, Tent Takeout, and more!
  • Winterfest Lake Geneva
    • February 3rd – 7th
    • “As the only national snow sculpting championship in the United States, Winterfest welcomes the most talented and award-winning sculpting teams from across the country. Be here to witness these teams at work during an epic 72-hour competition where their artistry is put to the test in creating remarkable, larger-than-life snow sculptures. The snow sculpting competition is open to all and is FREE to attend and view.
    • Also enjoy an array of more wintery fun during Winterfest, including a downtown ice sculpture tour, s’mores and bonfires on the beach, a cocoa crawl, fire & ice bar, hovercraft rides and more for the whole family.”

 

 

For The Parents

 

  • Scentcerely Yours
    • Geneva
    • Valentine’s Day Special
      • Two 11oz signature tumbler candles (one red and one white, or one pink and one white), a rose, and a chocolate.
      • Call or book a reservation online for Feb 10th – 14th
    • This is also a fantastic place to visit with the kiddos! The kids and I loved creating our own scents for our candles!

  • Girl & The Goat Meal Kits
    • “Experience a meal kit adventure straight from the Goat restaurants to your home kitchen! With James Beard Award-winning chef Stephanie Izard as your sous chef, you’ll be guided through a flavorful, restaurant-quality meal featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients.”
    • “Celebrate Valentine’s weekend with your friends, family and loved ones with sweet treats by Sugargoat, Meal Kits by Stephanie Izard and hand-selected beverage packages!”
    • Preorder and pick up in Chicago or select suburb locations.
  • Alinea Valentine’s Day Dinner To Go
    • Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a 5-course tasting menu from Alinea.
    • Pick up your prepaid order in Chicago or various suburban pick up locations.
  • Common Good Cocktails
    • Glen Ellyn
    • Let’s face it, most of us are going to order take out for Valentine’s Day so why not pick up “to-go” cocktails as well if you are in the west suburbs!
    • May I recommend, “Partners In Trying,” or “I Love It When You Call Me Big Paw Paw.”
  • Justice of the Pies Galentine’s Day Virtual Workshop
    • A Virtual Culinary Workshop to celebrate Galentine’s Day!

    • Gather up your girlfriends and join us for an amazing virtual class where we’ll learn how to make a STRAWBERRY LEMONADE PIE while sipping on STRAWBERRY LEMONADE WHISKEY SOURS.

    • The Workshop will take place on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 4 PM CST/5 PM EST.

    • One week prior to the workshop, you’ll receive a Grocery + Pantry List , a recipe card, and a link for the class.


winter in chicago

8 Things To Do in Chicagoland This Winter


This list of things to do in Chicago, IL will keep you and the kids busy and cabin-fever free this Winter!

winter in chicago

Winter is tough with kids. I’m sure some of you die hards will disagree, but for me it takes so much more effort to get out of the house: coats, gloves, hats, taking off coats for carseats, defrosting the car. And the list goes on. But I’ve put together a list of kid-friendly things to do around Chicagoland area that will make all the effort worth it! Good luck! 🙂

 

8 Things to do with Kids in Chicago, IL this Winter:

 

1. Visit an outdoor ice rink!

      • Rosemont Skating In The Park
        • Now through February 28th
        • “Admission to the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink is FREE, however a credit card is required to hold reservations. Bring your own skates or rent skates online for $8. Guests with reservations who fail to appear for their skating time will incur a $8 per person fee. Refunds will be given to guests with reservations that are cancelled due to rink closure caused by inclement weather or COVID-19 mandates. In order to ensure social distancing this year, the outdoor ice rink will limit capacities and advance ice skating reservations are required. 45-minute skating time slots can be reserved and ice skate rentals can be made using the link below.”
        • Face masks encouraged, required for staff.
      • Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon
        • Skate rental – $16; Skate with your own skates – $5
        • Reservations required to skate
      • McKinley Ice Rink
        • 2210 W. Pershing Rd, Chicago
        • Admission is free, skate rental is $7
        • “There will be a 50-person occupancy limit at the rink. Admittance will be first come, first served. Warming buildings will be accessible to the public for skate rental only. Expect additional wait times for entry, skate rental, and cleaning. As with all other park spaces, masks are mandatory while skating, and social distancing must be observed at all times. No more than two (2) people may skate together.”
      • Wentworth Ice Rink
        • 5625 S. Mobile Ave
        • Admission is free, skate rental is $7
        • “There will be a 25-person occupancy limit at the rink. Admittance will be first come, first served. Warming buildings will be accessible to the public for skate rental only. Expect additional wait times for entry, skate rental, and cleaning. As with all other park spaces, masks are mandatory while skating, and social distancing must be observed at all times. No more than two (2) people may skate together.”
      • The Winter Wonderland Ice Rink in Orland Park
        • 15600 West Avenue & Fun Dr.
        • Admission is $3
        • Reservations to skate can be made up to 5 days in advance online
      • Warren Park Blackhawks Ice Rink
        • 6601 N. Western Ave
        • “This winter, the ice rink will operate (weather permitting) from Thanksgiving weekend (Friday) until February. Call (773) 761-8663 for skate fees, times, and rental information. If it gets a little chilly…no worries we have a toasty warming house. Restrooms are also available at the rink.”

*Many local parks and towns will have natural rinks where you bring your own skates and there is no one monitoring or maintaining the rink. Just watch the weather to determine when the ice will be frozen!

2.  Keep the holiday spirit going by making a reservation at a holiday, pop – up, restaurant experience

    • Snag reservation at Santa Baby
      • A multi-room, multi-level, christmas experience open through January!
      • It’s not just for adults! Kids and parents alike will enjoy this Christmas experience in Wrigleyville
      • All seating is considered outdoor seating – regulations allow us to offer a tented patio (with heaters!) and indoor dining tables next to open air windows. Dress for the weather and the season!
    • JoJo’s Shake Bar Winter Wonderland
      • “Tis’ The Season with JoJo’s Winter Wonderland. Launching November 16th, JoJo’s is bringing a 5,000 sq ft outdoor Winter Wonderland to Downtown Chicago. This incredible food and beverage experience will feature JoJo’s over the top holiday treats including Baked Hot Chocolate, Santa’s Milk & Cookie Flights, Spiked Ciders, Biggie Hot Chocolates and The Winter Wonderland Shake, a Peppermint Shake topped with a Christmas Tree Cookie, Snowman DoDo & Marshmallow Presents. The Winter Wonderland experience takes place in our heated outdoor dining pavilion.”
      • Open daily 11 AM – 10 PM through February 1st

 3. Head to the drive in!

    • Chitown Movies
      • We had a blast at this drive in movie theatre in Pilsen this summer. Turn the heat on and the headlights off for a fun movie experience this winter!
      • Food delivery ordered from your phone & delivered straight to your car!
    • Obscurity Brewing Drive-In
      • 113 W. North St, Elburn
      • Full car hop service with food and drink right to your car!
      • Movie list scheduled through mid February!
    • Rock Island Public House Drive In
      • The movie selections are not necessarily younger children friendly, however, parents need a date night even in a pandemic!
      • Enjoy free screenings every Fri – Sun on a first come, first serve basis.
      • Food and drinks available for purchase!
      • You’ll love the unique movie selections!

 

4. Go sledding!

    • Dan Ryan Woods (Chicago)
      • S Western Ave & W 87th St
      • Call 773-233-3766 for sledding hill status.
      • This sledding hill has lighting and staff when open Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 7:30pm; Friday-Saturday: 10am – 8:30pm daily when conditions allow
      • There is a separate area just for snowboarders!
    • Caldwell Woods (Chicago)
      • W Devon Ave & N Nagle Ave (hill is on the Devon side)
      • Call 847-647-2240 for sledding hill status.
      • This hill has lighting and indoor bathrooms
    • Soldier Field (Chicago)
      • Don’t count on this 35 ft. sledding hill always being open but when Chicago gets 4-5 inches of snow and the forecast calls for multiple days of freezing temps, the kids will get a kick out of sledding next to the famous football field!
      • Call (312) 235-7000 for sledding hill status.
    • Horner Park (Chicago)
      • 2741 W. Montrose
      • You’ll find a great slope on the corner of Montrose & California
    • Humboldt Park (Chicago)
      • You will find the sledding hills west of the fieldhouse near the lagoon
    • Warren Park (Chicago)
      • 6601N. Western Ave
      • Great sledding hill for younger children since there are stairs on either side of the hill and a nearby warming house. Also plenty of parking!
    • Blackwell Forest Preserve (Warrenville)
      • “On weekends and school holidays December – February when there’s plenty of snow on Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve (usually more than 3 inches) you can take a fun 800-foot ride down the hill. Inner tube rentals are at the base of the hill and are $10 per tube per day. Only District tubes are allowed.”
      • The tubing hill is open 10AM – 4 PM with rentals ending at 3:30 PM
    • Riverwalk Sled Hill at Rotary Hill (Naperville)
      • “There is great sledding right on the Naperville Riverwalk. The hill provides fun for the entire family. Sledders should bring their own inner tubes or plastic sleds. Wooden sleds and metal-runner sleds are not permitted. The hill closes at 9:00 p.m. except on Fridays and Saturdays, when it remains open until 10:00 p.m.”
    • Weigand Riverfront Park (Naperville)
      • “The hill at Weigand Riverfront Park may be used only as a snowboarding hill. Snowboards are restricted on all other Park District hills. Sledding is not allowed at Weigand Riverfront Park. Please note that snowboarders assume full risk and responsibility for determining that all conditions are safe for snowboarding. The snowboarding hill at Weigand Riverfront Park closes at dusk.”
    • Techny Prairie Park and Field (Northbrook)
      • “The popular sled hill remains from the former Meadowhill Park South, along with a warming house, stairs and lights for evening use. The hill measures 28 feet in height.”
    • Century Park (Vernon Hills)
      • Ice Rinks and Sled Hill
        Monday – Sunday: 7:30 am – 9:00 pm.
        *Lights around the rink and hill automatically turn off at 9:00 pm
      • Warming Shelters
        Saturday and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
        *Only available if either the ice rink and/or sled hill are open
      • A limited supply of loaner ice skates are available on weekends from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm when the ice rink is open. They will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Hot drinks and candy are also available for purchase.
    • Caboose Park (Lake Villa)
      • 27908 Fairfield Rd
      • “For your recreational pleasure the toboggan and sled hill at “Caboose Park” will be lit for evening use between the hours of 5:30 and 10:00 p.m., weather and conditions permitting. Easy access can be gained from the Grand Avenue parking lot.”
    • St. James Park / Mt. Trashmore (Evanston)
      • This former landfill holds a massive hill (where sledding is actually off limits) however the surrounding smaller hills are open for sledding!
      • Dodge Ave. & Mulford St.

 

5. Enjoy a winter themed dessert!

 

  • Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
    • Both locations are closed due to the pandemic except for preorder through their online pantry for contactless pickup in Logan Square
    • (Reopening Jan 15th)
  • Firecakes Donuts
    • Seasonal donuts include: Malted Milkball and Valrhona Chocolate
    • No one will judge you if you make it a Donut Ice Cream Sandwich either. Consider it a prescription for 2020/21
  • First Slice Pie Cafe
    • Did you know that Food & Wine voted First Slice as one of America’s BEST apple pies?!
    • In addition, First Slice served more than 37,000 meals in 2007, and currently serves close to 4,000 meals each month to Chicago’s hungry, every month.
  • Floriole
    • Open Wed – Sun
    • Dying to try the Galette des Rois and Gingersnap Lime Pie
  • Beatrix 
    • The Oh My! Caramel Pie will have your mouth watering and you ordering seconds.
  • Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe
    • “Blue Sky does more than create sweet and savory pastries made with the freshest, highest quality ingredients. As a nonprofit organization, we also raise the edible consciousness of our community by providing transitional employment to homeless and at-risk youth.”
    • Pumpkin pecan scone with a side of social justice please!
  • BomboBar
    • You are just going to drool over BomboBar’s fall menu! If the salted caramel hot chocolate and caramel apple cider wasn’t enough already, there’s the pumpkin pie marshmallow and apple caramel gelato to sweep you off your feet.
  • Brown Sugar Bakery
    • The most famous and tastiest caramel cake in Chicago! Don’t sleep on this amazing bakery.
  • Do-Rite Donuts
    • I’ll take my pumpkin spice in donut form thank you very much. With a Michigan apple fritter on the side. :p
  • DMK Burger Bar
    • Skip the campfire and head straight to DMK for a toasted marshmallow shake. Hard day monitoring the e-learning? Make it a boozy shake! 😉
  • Glazed And Confused
    • Try a donini! Pressed like a panini, served on a classic cake donut!
  • Goddess And The Baker
    • Treat yourself to a Pumpkin Apple Butter Latte before exploring the rest of their delicious menu!
  • Hoosier Mama Pie Company
    • (Reopening January 15th)
    • Make sure to order a pear apple cranberry pie, you won’t regret it!
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
    • Known for the unique ice cream flavors you can be guaranteed for some wintry picks here!
    • Brandied banana brûlée anyone?
  • Jo-Jo’s Shake Bar
    • Until February 1st, JoJo’s outdoor patio is converted into an adorable winter wonderland! Enjoy winter themed shakes and biggie hot chocolates, as well as their normal menu!
    • The igloos  are are available on a first come, first serve basis!
  • Katherine Anne Confections
    • Upgrade from your regular old chocolate with a creamy cup of Katherine Anne’s drinking chocolate!
    • The salted caramel will definitely be the right flavor for the season
  • Kilwins
    • There are multiple locations around Chicagoland but the Hyde Park location is African American owned and operated, so we like to support them whenever we can!
    • You will find yourself drooling over the caramel apples and chocolate confections but my absolute favorite flavor of ice cream from Kilwins is their Perfect Apple Pie flavor. I look forward to this returning to their menu every year!
  • Mindy’s Bakery
    • The famous Mindy Segal will be selling to go hot chocolate on the weekends!
    • Forget winter, I would drink this delectable cocoa in the heat of the summer if I could!
  • Molly’s Cupcakes
    • The winter cupcake flavors are back in season and I am here for it!
    • Don’t miss out on the German chocolate cake & Tiramisu for January!
  • Pie, Pie My Darling
    • 100% Vegan sweets baked from scratch!
    • You can find their cakes by the slice (while supplies last) for delivery and pickup at Uptons Breakroom in West Town & The Handlebar in Wicker Park. The flavor changes every other week, so check their menus/ instagram for this week’s flavor.
    • E-mail to inquire about ordering a whole cake!
  • Pretty Cool Ice Cream
    • Special pops, pints, and more made in festive flavors for the winter holiday season
    • (The key lime pie flavor is my favorite no matter what the season!)
  • Sweet Mandy B’s
    • The snickerdoodle cupcake is a personal favorite of mine!
  • XO Marshmallow
    • The World’s FIRST Marshmallow Café is right here in Chicago!
    • Their s’mores menu is fantastic! Plus, hot chocolate, marshmallow latte, pumpkin spice marshmallows, and more!
  • Xurro
    • The yummiest Churros with a creative spin!
    •  The Peppermint Christmas milkshake is the reason for the season.

6. Book a Chicago staycation and reserve a pool time slot!

 

*Make sure to call ahead to determine the rules surrounding the pool and verify it’s availability

    • Hyatt Centric
      • After booking with the central reservation line, contact the front desk to book your pool reservation.
      • The reservations are for 45 min time slots
    • The Hilton at McCormick Place
      • Private only pool times available on weekends only
    • The Peninsula
      • The pool can be booked for one hour, once a day
    • The Waldorf Astoria
      • Pool reservations for 90 min, no more than 2 families
    • Aloft in Rosemont
      • Pool time slots available in 60 min increments
    • AC Hotel by Mariott
    • Westin Rosemont
    • The Ridge at Lake Geneva
      • Hop over the border and enjoy the beautiful hotel, grounds, and pool.
      • While you are there make sure to book an igloo for dining, and visit the Ice Castles when they open mid January!
    • The Intercontinental
    • The Langham Chicago
      • “Lounge furniture has been re-arranged according to local social distancing recommendations and are sanitized after each use. High-touch areas will be sanitized hourly.”
    • Great Wolf Lodge Gurnee
      • Save up to 40% with code GETAWAY if you book before Jan 17th and stay before March 11th
      • Every nights stay contains two days of play.
      • All queues will be 6-feet and managed by staff, especially in waterpark​
      • All seating will be 6 feet apart across waterpark, F&B, ​public areas
    • Holiday Inn Express (Hoffman Estates)
      • When checking in, you can reserve individual time slots for your family at 40 min a time.
    • Marriott Suites (Downers Grove)
      • 2 hr private pool reservations that you can reserve as soon as you book.
    • Hyatt Lodge Oakbrook
      • Pool available with limited occupancy
    • Renaissance Hotel – Schaumburg
      • “Indoor Pool & Outdoor Pool Patio is key access only to limit interactions of guests in this space. Guests interested in swimming can sign up for a 1.5-hour swim segment. Each swim segment will be followed by a .5 hour cleaning. This will include water filtration, towel replenishment, cleaning and sanitizing.”
    • Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark at Grand Geneva
      • “When you stay at Timber Ridge Lodge, you receive four free waterpark passes with a one-bedroom suite, and six passes with a two-bedroom suite.”
      • Throughout the waterpark you will notice social distancing signage and floor markers placed throughout the waterpark.
      • Clear protective screens have been placed where regular interaction with resort associates occurs such as the bag check and towel desk.
      • Guests enjoying mini-golf will find staggered tee times to allow for social distancing.
    • Comfort Inn & Suites Galena
      • Big water slide and area for smaller kids.
      • Close to skiing and fun outdoor adventures!

 

7. Eat in an igloo or cute dining hut!

    • Giannis Cafe
      • Locations in Kildeer & Palatine
      • Call to make a reservation in their igloo village
      • “We are a family owned and operated, Full service Italian Restaurant. For over 17 years we have been serving some of the freshest seafood, pasta and other Italian entrees in the Chicagoland area.”
    • Kuma’s Corner
      • Heated outdoor dining at all of their Chicagoland locations!
    • Formentos
      • Make a reservation for their heated patios / snow globes!
    • Beatrix
      • Igloo and greenhouse dining options!
    • Tanoshi Sushi
      • “We have individual greenhouses available for our outdoor dining. COVID-19 has put a big strain on small restaurants, but we want to continue serving customers with minimal risk. Each individual greenhouse is heated and ventilated, and sanitized/aired out between customers. Make a reservation by calling, or through OpenTable.”
    • Tavern on Rush
      • Call 312-664-9600 to reserve an igloo!
    • Somerset by Viceroy Hotel Chicago
      • “For the ultimate winter dining experience, book a reservation in our heated outdoor Greenhouses.”
    • Granite City Food & Brewery
      • Schaumburg location has heated tents
    • The Melting Pot
      • The outdoor huts at the Schaumburg location are semi-private
    • Fiamme
      • Naperville
      • All reservations guarantee a winter villa or greenhouse
    • Solemn Oath Brewery
      • “Our brewery features a 4200+ SF outdoor beer garden with tables 8-12 feet apart featuring our freshest beers and seltzers. Dome deposits will be applied to the bill during your visit.”
      • 90 min reservation for up to, but no more, than 6 guests.
    • The Assembly American Bar & Cafe
      • Hoffman Estates
      • Call 847-843-3993 and reserve a dining hut for an adorable and safe dining experience!
      • The dining huts hold 4-6 people max and can only be reserved for 90 min.
    • The Drake Hotel 
      • Oakbrook
      • “Select from four private and fully enclosed igloos, all with a unique theme. Each igloo has a small heater for your comfort, but we suggest bundling up if it’s cold. Igloos seat up to 8 guests, but during the current government mitigations, igloo seating will be capped at 6 guests.”
      • There is a $200 minimum after 5 PM Sun – Wed and it goes up to $300 Thurs – Sat. But all us moms know it’s better to take the kids to dinner early when eating out!
    • Aurelio’s of Geneva
      • Geneva
      • Reservations required at dinner time
      • Closed on Mondays
    • Bien Trucha
      • Geneva
      • “Is there anything more fun than enjoying our tacos and drinks in your own outdoor pod under the sun, stars, or falling snow?!!
      • “Pods will be available for 1.5 hr. increments and will have no minimum at lunch and a minimum of $50 Sun-Thu and $125 Sat & Sun for dinner.”
      • Ask about kid menu options in person
    • Livia Italian Eatery
      • Geneva
      • To reserve the igloo tents at the Geneva location, you must call 630-402-6444
    • Ivy
      • Wheaton
      • “Whether you are interested in having a full dining experience, or an opportunity to enjoy wine, cocktails, and conversation with 4-8 of your closest friends or family members, the Ivy Igloo is the perfect winter setting.”
      • With a maximum capacity of 8 people, the rental fee is $100 and the minimum is only  $400 for dinner, $300 for lunch.
    • The Hen House of Wheaton
      • Wheaton
      • “We have heated Igloos and a heated tent, Igloos are by reservation only, call (630)480-0611.”
      • Hours: 7 AM – 2:30 PM
    • Wine Thief
      • Frankfort
      • Bring the family for a snow globe visit! Hot cocoa bombs, kid food, and games!
      • No food and beverage minimum on bookings between 11 AM – 2:30 PM
    • The Lucky Monk
      • S.Barrington
      • “We look forward to hosting you like we have never hosted you before. Book your Sanctuary Experience in one of our 4 private Igloos for up to 6 guests. Each Igloo is set with seating for 6, personal bluetooth speaker, a heater and will be served by our experienced TLM Ambassadors. Order from our regular menu or choose from our Exclusive Sanctuary Add Ons. All reservations are limited to 2 hours and no outside food or beverages will be permitted. Please come prepared for the elements.”
      • $200 Food and Beverage Minimum Fridays & Saturdays
        $150 Food and Beverage Minimum for all other reservations
    • Digs on Canal
      • Lemont
      • “Each igloo has a heater and is ventilated. Time slots are set at 90 minutes, allowing our staff to clean and sanitize the igloos prior to the next reservation.
      • We do require a deposit when you make your reservation. The deposit will be used for your food and beverage choices while you are dining in the igloo (90 minute maximum, +taxes and fees).”
    • Hacienda Real
      • Yorkville
      • Please inquire about reservations for the heated, outdoor, igloos by calling the restaurant directly at (630) 882 9541
    • Hometown Coffee & Juice
      • Glencoe
      • Hometown Houses are available to privately rent for a fee with advance reservations. Unrented Houses are available on a walk-in basis at no charge.
      • Houses are heated and can accommodate up to 6 guests at a time. Each house is cleaned, disinfected and sanitized between reservations and well ventilated.

 

 

8. Enjoy an outdoor adventure!

 

    • The Ice Castles
      • Lake Geneva, WI
      • “Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction located in four cities across North America. The experience is built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists. The castles include breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, fountains and much more.”
    • The Forge
      • Lemont
      • “Don’t stay cooped up indoors this winter. Come out and play!  With Forgefire Globe Dining, ice skating, laser tag, winter lights, and climbing towers to explore, the possibilities for outdoor fun are endless.”
    • Troll Hunt at The Morton Arboretum
      • Timed-entry tickets are required for all members and guests and will help ensure paced arrivals and moderated attendance numbers.
      • “Journey through our far-reaching forest to hunt for six colossal trolls crafted from reclaimed wood by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. Marvel at these 15- to 30-foot-tall (and one 60-foot long) sculptures that have been created to serve as protectors of our environment.”
    • Chicago Mural Hop
    • Suburban Mural Hunt in the West and Far West Suburbs

Explore murals in the west and far west suburbs courtesy of Families On The Fox!

 


Chicagoland Holiday Light Displays

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Welcome to your go to guide for Holiday Light Displays in the Chicagoland area!

 

 

The holiday season is upon us and with so much uncertainty, many people are planning farther ahead for their

holiday plans and winter fun. Make sure to buy tickets and pre-register as soon as you can

before tickets and time slots sell out!

 

Let It Shine: Drive Thru Holiday Light Show

  • “Let It Shine is proud to present North Shore’s largest drive thru world of Christmas lights at Northbrook Court! Guests are invited to stay in their cars and immerse themselves in a wonderland of light displays that are synchronized to holiday classics. There’s no denying the holiday cheer as you cruise past dazzling archways, sparkling candy canes, glowing snowmen and more illuminated installations.”
  • Nov 15th – January 9th.
  • 1515 Lake Cook Rd., Northbrook
  • **** One (1) Ticket Per Vehicle ****. Tickets can be purchased online only

 

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo

  • “Now in our 39th year, get ready to visit Chicagoland’s largest and longest-running lights festival featuring over a million twinkling LED lights!”
  • Friday through Sunday, November 27-29, Wednesday through Sunday, December 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, Saturday through Thursday, December 26-31
  • 3 – 9 PM
  • “New this year, guests of all ages can play the Game of Gnomes. Embark on a fun-filled scavenger hunt in search of 24 whimsical and enchanting themed gnomes, measuring 12 – 20 inches that will be located throughout the park.”

 

Six Flags Great America: Holiday In The Park Lights!

  • Select days November 27th – December 30th
  • 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee
  • “The third season of Holiday In The Park returns November 27 as a re-imagined experience featuring over 3 million dazzling lights plus entertainment. While our world-class rides will not be open during Holiday In The Park Lights, we’ve planned some exciting holiday experiences you and your family will enjoy.”

    The Holiday In The Park Lights experience will include:

    • Over 3 million sparkling lights
    • Continuous twinkling holiday light displays throughout our property
    • Themed entertainment for open-air viewing
    • Special socially-distanced photo ops
    • Delicious holiday treats and other exciting surprises
  • “Pick up your s’mores kit and get ready to toast some marshmallows at one of our fire pits throughout the park for the merriest and meltiest treat this side of the North Pole!”

 

Jack Frost Winter Walk Pop-Up & Christmas Tree Farm 

  • Goose Island Chicago. 1467 N. Elston Ave
  • “Jack’s Winter Walk & Christmas Tree Farm Pop-Up is located on over 2 acres of land in the historic Goose Island. Pick a perfect Christmas Tree, grab a memorable Instagrammable moment, or just get out of the house and get some fresh air on a perfect midwinter evening, as you get lost in the largest, and only, evergreen forest in downtown Chicago. In accordance with Chicago’s Department of Health Safety standards wearing a mask is always required, visits are limited to 1.5 hours and there is no food & beverage available for purchase.”

 

Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum : Sold Out (With the possibility of additional time slots being added each Monday for the upcoming week)

  • “See trees in a different light at a reimagined Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum. Designed with your safety in mind, this year’s new driving experience (30–40 minutes long) features an unparalleled spectacle of color, light, and music you won’t experience anywhere else. You will be delighted to see returning favorites reenvisioned, including Symphony Woods, Woodland Wonder, and Crystal Promenade, and five newly designed sights displayed along a two-mile road among the Arboretum’s magnificent trees. Immerse yourself in a captivating tunnel of lights, an awe-inspiring magical woodland filled with dazzling color and starlike light, and a landscape filled with thousands of lights dancing to a musical soundtrack, all from the warmth of your car. 

    Also new this year, the exhibition will stay open later, until 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and it will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas, in addition to New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, as in previous years.”

  • November 20th – January 3rd
  • Ticket prices are per car and must be purchased in advance.

 

Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden: SOLD OUT

 

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

  • “ZooLights will feature hundreds of luminous displays and incredible seasonal activities, all under the glow of millions of illuminated lights, plus reduced capacity admission to keep your family safe.”
  • November 21st – January 3rd
  • 4 – 10PM
  • Tickets will cost $5 / guest
  • Free Nights
    • November 24 and December 9, 17, 21, and 29
      While admission to ZooLights is paid, there will also by five free nights. These days will offer the same exciting holiday experience and tickets are still required, but they will be complimentary. These tickets will be released the Sunday prior to each date at 4 p.m.

Santas Rock N Lights

  • Grayslake, IL
  • Nov 20th – Jan 3rd
  • “Santa’s Rock N Lights is an animated drive-thru light show. You’re invited to experience the themed worlds of light including dinosaur world, over 700 feet of tunnels and a longer route.”

 

MSI: Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)

  • “It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of 40 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof.

    Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light are open through Sunday, January 3, 2021.”

 

Goebbert’s 2020 Light Show

  • “Starting Friday November 20th, make it a family experience and drive thru while enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas.”
    Tuesday- Thursday & Sunday: 5pm-10pm
    Friday & Saturday: 5pm-11pm
    Monday: closed
    You can purchase your tickets online or at the entrance of the light show.
  • GOEBBERT’S PUMPKIN PATCH & APPLE ORCHARD: 42W813 Reinking Rd, Pingree Grove, IL 60140
  • November 20th – January 3rd

 

All Aglow: Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

  • November 28th – January 10th
  • 1354 N. 2nd St., Rockford
  • “Celebrate the holidays at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens! Come see sparkling holiday lights in the outdoor gardens, and beautiful floral displays inside the warm tropical Conservatory.”

 

Cosley Zoo Festival of Lights

  • November 27th – December 30th
  • Open 9A-9P daily, with the last entry time at 8:30P; Christmas lights come on at 3PM
  • 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton
  • Reserved tickets only, no walk up.
  • Trees, wreaths, greens, and garlands available for purchase

 

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park

  • December 5th – January 3rd
  • “Join Lombard Park District’s annual lighting celebration in Lilacia Park! Charming holiday displays light up Lilacia Park with a magical array of animated light shows, decorated trees, a gingerbread house, and much more.”
  • 150 South Park Ave., Lombard

 

Naperlights

  • “Visitors can access the display from the Webster Street covered bridge, Main Street and Webster Street.  Strollers can enjoy the outdoors with public parking is available in the Water Street and Municipal Center parking decks. Lights on Water Street tress will be synced to music, as will the arch on the Foyo Plaza, making a drive-through experience for individuals preferring to stay in their cars.”
  • November 14th through the holiday season

 

LaSalle Celebration of Lights

  • “The Celebration of Lights season is finally here! Hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays as well as from 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and the week of the Christmas holiday. The display is free to view but donations are welcomed in order to ensure the display can continue and grow into the future! Come see the brightest Celebration yet at Rotary Park!”
  • November 16th – New Years Day

 

Mooseheart Holiday Lights

  • “Join us for our 11th Annual Holiday Lights display, opening on Friday, November 27th and running 5:00PM-9:00PM nightly through Thursday, December 31st. Holiday Lights at Mooseheart is one of Chicagoland’s largest light displays! The lighted route is approximately 1.8 miles and has more than 80 lighted displays to view.”
  • 240 W James J Davis Dr, Mooseheart, IL

 

Aurora Festival of Lights

  • “One of the largest free outdoor drive-through holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, the Aurora Festival of Lights, returns for its 14th year in 2020 with even more dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children.”
  • Phillips Park, Aurora
  • Friday November 27th – December 27th. Monday through Thursday 5-9pm and Friday through Sunday 5-10pm

 

East Peoria Festival of Lights

  • The East Peoria Festival of Lights is so excited to announce that we are a 2020 contender for Season 8 of The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC TV!!
  • “Welcome to the 36th annual East Peoria Festival of Lights, happening Thursday, November 26, 2020 through Sunday, January 3, 2021! The Parade of Lights will occur on Saturday, November 21. Marking 36 years of holiday cheer, the festival begins with the Parade of Lights and continues through the month of December with the Folepi’s Winter Wonderland drive-through display.”
  • The drive-through electric park is the Festival of Lights’ signature event! Folepi’s Winter Wonderland features the majority of the Parade of Lights floats and many other lighted displays including:Candy Cane Factory
    Lighted arches and circus animals
    Ski jumper display
    Prehistoric Land
    Space Land
    Western town
    And more!
    The Winter Wonderland entrance is off Springfield Road on Par 3 Lane. Tune your vehicle’s radio to 88.1 FM for holiday music to accompany your drive!

 

Shelbyville Festival of Lights

  • East North 9th Street, Shelbyville
  • November 20th – December 27th
  • “Come to Shelbyville and take a drive through Forest Park as it is lit up for the Holiday season. These lights are put in place each year by volunteers and new lights and themed areas are also added. Candy Cane lane is to honor loved ones. The Historical Chautauqua Building becomes a huge carousel. Come enjoy the Victorian Village, Santa’s Shop, the North Pole, Bethlehem, and others.  The lights have been changed to the new and brighter LEDs.”

 

Larsen Christmas Light Show

  • November 28th – December 30th
  • 42W891 Beith Rd, Campton Hills, IL 60119
  • Monday to Thursday: 5-10:00pm; Friday to Sunday: 5-10:00pm

 

Candy Cane Canyon Trail

  • 371 Canyon Trail, Carol Stream
  • The lights run 4:30 – 10:00 Sunday – Thursday and 4:30 – 11:00 Friday and Saturday, weather permitting through January 1st

 

Holiday Lights Trolley

  • Book your own private trolley for you and your family / friends. (Up to 16 people)
  • Enjoy a 75 min tour of the best residential lightings displays in Chicago
  • Holiday music, trivia, prizes, and goodie bags included.

 

 

Have a happy and safe holiday season! 


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Unique Fall / Halloween Activities in Chicagoland


 

There is still plenty of time to explore the nearby apple orchards and pumpkin patches. Those are usually the first two categories we think of when we talk about the onset of fall in the midwest. And of course, Halloween!

 

 

But, here are some other ideas, to explore this October!

 

No need to drive up the East Coast, enjoy the changing of the leaves in your own state by biking, walking, or driving through the below locations!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Lattes may be all the rage, but a trip to the city for a fall dessert at one of these amazing bakeries is more my speed!

 

  • Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
    • Both locations are closed due to the pandemic except for preorder through their online pantry for contactless pickup in Logan Square
    • I’ve been eyeing the Frankenpie. A mash-up of three different pies: Pumpkin-Cheesecake, Apple Cider Custard, and Salted Miso Caramel Apple Pie. 2 slices of each makes the whole Franken-Pie!
  • Firecakes Donuts
    • Seasonal donuts include: Apple Cider & Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
    • No one will judge you if you make it a Donut Ice Cream Sandwich either. Consider it a prescription for 2020
  • First Slice Pie Cafe
    • Did you know that Food & Wine voted First Slice as one of America’s BEST apple pies?!
    • In addition, First Slice served more than 37,000 meals in 2007, and currently serves close to 4,000 meals each month to Chicago’s hungry, every month.
  • Floriole
    • Their thanksgiving menu is up and running for orders!
    • The Pumpkin Baby cake is to DIE for! It’s a pumpkin loaf dipped in Valrhona Orely’s blonde chocolate. You’ll thank me later.
  • Beatrix 
    • The Oh My! Caramel Pie will have your mouth watering and you ordering seconds.
  • Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe
    • “Blue Sky does more than create sweet and savory pastries made with the freshest, highest quality ingredients. As a nonprofit organization, we also raise the edible consciousness of our community by providing transitional employment to homeless and at-risk youth.”
    • Pumpkin pecan scone with a side of social justice please!
  • BomboBar
    • You are just going to drool over BomboBar’s fall menu! If the salted caramel hot chocolate and caramel apple cider wasn’t enough already, there’s the pumpkin pie marshmallow and apple caramel gelato to sweep you off your feet.
  • Brown Sugar Bakery
    • The most famous and tastiest caramel cake in Chicago! Don’t sleep on this amazing bakery.
  • Do-Rite Donuts
    • I’ll take my pumpkin spice in donut form thank you very much. With a Michigan apple fritter on the side. :p
  • DMK Burger Bar
    • Skip the campfire and head straight to DMK for a toasted marshmallow shake. Hard day monitoring the e-learning? Make it a boozy shake! 😉
  • Eli’s Ark
    • These adorable ice cream, creature creations will have you going “batty!”
    • Check out their halloween and thanksgiving themed characters!
  • Glazed And Confused
    • Filled caramel candy apple, pumpkin maple streussel… or preorder a spooky Halloween themed donut box, this eclectic donut shop has every fall flavor you need!
  • Goddess And The Baker
    • Trick or Treat yourself to a Pumpkin Apple Butter Latte before exploring the rest of their delicious menu!
  • Hoosier Mama Pie Company
    • The pie of the month is the Sour Cream Dutch Apple Pumpkin (does it get more fall than that?)
    • Make sure to order online for your Thanksgiving pie pick up orders!
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
    • Known for the unique ice cream flavors you can be guaranteed for some fall-tastic picks here!
    • Be the most popular guest at your Friendsgiving by bringing a quart of the pumpkin cake roll & salty caramel.
  • Jo-Jo’s Shake Bar
    • Until November 1st, JoJo’s outdoor patio is converted into an adorable pumpkin patch! Pick out pumpkins, enjoy fall themed shakes and biggie hot chocolates, as well as their normal menu!
    • Don’t leave without the Pumpkin Patch Shake! Topped with a slice of pumpkin pie, taffy apple, roasted marshmallow, and reese’s pretzel.
    • Their pumpkin shaped domes are are available on a first come, first serve basis!
  • Katherine Anne Confections
    • Upgrade from your regular old chocolate with a creamy cup of Katherine Anne’s drinking chocolate!
    • The salted caramel will definitely be the right flavor for the season
  • Kilwins
    • There are multiple locations around Chicagoland but the Hyde Park location is African American owned and operated, so we like to support them whenever we can!
    • You will find yourself drooling over the caramel apples and chocolate confections but my absolute favorite flavor of ice cream from Kilwins is their Perfect Apple Pie flavor. I look forward to this returning to their menu every single fall!
  • Mindy’s Bakery
    • The famous Mindy Segal will be selling to go hot chocolate on the weekends!
    • Forget fall, I would drink this delectable cocoa in the heat of the summer if I could!
  • Molly’s Cupcakes
    • The fall / winter cupcake flavors are back in season and I am here for it!
    • Don’t miss out on the pumpkin spice, apple pie, pecan pie, and chocolate peppermint!
  • Pie, Pie My Darling
    • 100% Vegan sweets baked from scratch!
    • You can find their cakes by the slice (while supplies last) for delivery and pickup at Uptons Breakroom in West Town & The Handlebar in Wicker Park. The flavor changes every other week, so check their menus/ instagram for this week’s flavor.
    • E-mail to inquire about ordering a whole cake!
  • Pretty Cool Ice Cream
    • “Available a la carte, or as a boxed set, our Fall Harvest flavors are perfect for these blustery days. Whether this season brings out the pumpkin spice cravings, or finds you popping fistfuls of kettle corn we have a pop for you! Apple makes two appearances- spiced cider frozen into an ice pop is refreshing and comforting. But the star of the show is the Apple Cider Donut pop- made by blending real donuts into our ice cream before it gets a cinnamon sugar coating just like the pumpkin patch favorite!”
  • Sweet Mandy B’s
    • Their Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are BACK and we are so excited! If you can’t decide between these or the Apple Streussel pop tart, I would recommend just getting both. 🙂
  • XO Marshmallow
    • The World’s FIRST Marshmallow Café is right here in Chicago!
    • Their s’mores menu is fantastic! Plus, hot chocolate, marshmallow latte, pumpkin spice marshmallows, and more!
  • Xurro
    • The yummiest Churros with a creative spin!
    • I’ll take one S’more milkshake please! But just to hold me over until the Peppermint Christmas milkshake returns! 🙂

Are all the registration required Halloween events filled? Don’t fret! Check out these other Halloween ideas!

 

  • Fall at Lincoln Park Zoo
    • “Simply make your free reservation to visit the zoo this fall to stroll the one-way trail and cherish the fall ambiance without the crowds. This year, Lincoln Park Zoo will be adorned with carved pumpkins, corn husks, and hay bales—not to mention the crisp autumn breeze rustling orange and yellow leaves and fall temperatures favorable for outdoor animal viewing.Along the way, enjoy two new experiences—the Pumpkin Walk, a beautifully designed path through Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo (one $3 ticket required for entry), and Patch’s Pumpkin Bar & Grill, a fall-themed pop-up located at Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill. Plus, cherish the return of longtime festive favorites: live professional pumpkin carvers (Saturdays only, as part of the Pumpkin Walk), delicious festive snacks, and a pumpkin patch.”
  • Pumpkinpalooza Pumpkin Decorating Contest
    • October 17th – 30th
    • Calling all young creative souls! Decorate a pumpkin as one of your favorite book characters!
      The rules are simple:
      *Contest open to children ages 5-12
      *Pumpkins must be inspired by a book or a character from a book
      *Pumpkins, gourds can be real or fake
      *No carving
      *Paint, glue, or paste items on your pumpkins
      *Pumpkins must be submitted by 5p.m. on October 17, 2020
      *Include the name of the book/character that inspired your pumpkin and name and contact information of the pumpkin’s creator
      *Voting takes place in person at Red Hive Market in Batavia from October 18-October 30th
      *Top three vote getters receive a fabulous Pumpkinpalooza SWAG bag!
  • Chitown Movies Halloween Drive In
    • Oct. 26- Hocus Pocus
    • Oct. 27- Madilda
    • Oct. 28- Monsters, Inc.
    • Oct. 30- Matilda
    • Oct. 31- Monsters, Inc.
  • Replay’s Alley of Darkness Haunted Drive Through
    • Park and enjoy a short movie before 30 minutes of scares in a 360 degree show!
  • Goebbert’s Halloween Trick or Treat On The Farm
    • Pingree Grove
    • Saturday, October 31st 9AM – 6 PM
    • All the farm favorites will be open, wear your costumes!
    • This will be their first ever scavenger hunt, trick or treating day
    • You do need to buy tickets online before arriving but they are not sold out yet! It’s the same process for entering the pumpkin patch any other day / weekend
  • Goebbert’s Fall Light Show
    • You can experience a light show unlike any other. Turn on your radio, and drive thru the light show with your whole family.
    • $5 per person or if you have more that 4 people it is only $20 a car.
    • Cash or card is accepted. You can purchase tickets online or at the light show entrance.
    • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday:7pm-10pm; Friday & Saturday: 7pm-11pm
  • Buffalo Grove Halloween Light Show
    • 860 Woodhollow Lane
    • Tune your radio to 88.7 FM
    • 6:30 – 9 PM every night!
    • 2 week long nightly event
  • Boo-mingdale Halloween Drive- Through
    • Saturday, October 24th, 9-11:30 AM
    • 259 Springfield Drive, Bloomingdale
    • Drive through the Library, Village, Police and Fire Department parking lots and enjoy:
      – Themed guests, roving entertainment, DJ music
      – Display of the annual Trunk-or-Treat vehicles
      – Police and Fire Department exhibit of emergency and first responder vehicles on display
      – Children receive a small pumpkin gourd and a treat bag during the drive-thru experience (while supplies last)
  • St. Charles Gallery of Ghoulish Homes
    • Best viewed at dusk October 16th – 31st
    • Drive or walk by some of the spookiest houses in St. Charles!
  • Mack Manor Drive Through Display
    • 1066 Algonquin Road, Fox River Grove
    • Monday – Thursday 6-8:30
    • Friday & Saturday, 6-10pm
    • Sunday 4-9 pm, allowing for daylight viewing hours.
    • If you have small children that might be frightened, please turn on flashers to ensure monsters stay away. It is unknown- if and when – any of the undead shall make a visit.
    • Radio station 106.9 FM
    • No charge but accepting donations
  • The Cote’s Haunted Yard
    • 6907 Townsend Blvd, Plainfield, IL
    • Friday & Saturday only from 6 – 10 PM
    • No more appointments being taken but walk ups allowed. (Those with appointments get in first) 6:30 or 8:30 – 10 may be the best bet for walk ups
  • Museum of Science and Industry Boo Fest
    • “Two weeks of family-friendly science experiences will let you get into the Halloween spirit. Our limited capacity, timed-entry tickets and other protocols allow for plenty of space and comfort for a scary good time indoors. Explore a specially decorated exhibit with a “Scary Storage” look at the Museum’s curiosities, take part in physically distanced trick-or-treating, and examine the science of Halloween with pumpkin drops, slime, eyeballs and chilling laboratory sessions.”
  • Galewood’s Not So Spooky Halloween Parade
    • Thursday, October 29th
    • 5:15 – 6PM
    • Parade Route: Wabansia to Nashville, Nashville to Armitage, Armitage to Neva, Neva to Wabansia
    • Greet Halloween characters and get some candy
  • Terror In The Timbers
    • Camp Big Timber Elgin
    • “Think you’re safe behind a piece of glass and some metal? Think again. The dead have taken over the once innocent Camp Big Timber and are coming for the living…one car at a time. This one-of-a kind drive-thru scenic Halloween experience allows you to simply put your car in park, sit back and let the Terror begin.”
  • Highwood Skeleton Walk
    • Hundreds of skeletons have descended upon Highwood’s businesses! Go check it out!
  • La Grange Skeletober
    • “La Grange has plenty of spirit this month when dozens of friendly, life-sized skeletons lounge in front of local businesses for the season. This annual display is organized by the La Grange Business Association; each engaging skeleton is sponsored by a local business as a way of inviting visitors to explore La Grange.  Skeletober is sponsored by Chiro One. Get the walking map to all the skeletons.”
  • Glen Ellyn Scarecrow Row
    • Oct 21st – 31st
    • “Follow the Rows and Rows of 100+ Scarecrows lined up in Downtown Glen Ellyn at this FREE Family-Friendly and Socially Distant Outside Event!  Join the fun and see the handmade Scarecrows created by scout troops, community members, local businesses, & non-profits. Explore unique one-of-a-kind storefronts with their decorated windows and dine the fall menu at one of our many restaurants.”
  • Morton Arboretum Scarecrow Trail
    • Oct 1st – Nov 1st
    • Morton Arboretum requires timed entry ticket reservations in advance online
    • “Take a stroll around Meadow Lake to view scarecrows created by local scout troops and school groups. After your walk, vote for your favorite scarecrow online.”
  • Aurora Sugar Skull City
    • October 15th – November 15th
    • “The 30-day celebration honors the beloved Mexican cultural tradition of Day of the Dead, and coincides with events during First Fridays on November 6.”
    • “Downtown storefronts will be decorated with festive displays for the holiday. Local artists Pierre Lucero, Jose Sanchez, and Joseph Gagnepain painted storefronts along Broadway and Stolp Avenue. Sugar skull artwork submitted by two dozen local artists also will be displayed in downtown windows. Patrons will be invited to vote on the artwork and participate in photo contests on Aurora Downtown’s social media pages.”
    • “Patrons also will be encouraged to participate in a scavenger hunt to find two yellow sugar skull screen prints located in downtown windows, fill up at authentic Mexican bakeries and restaurants, and download coloring pages from the website.”
  • Homer Glen Heritage Park Scarecrow Display
    • October 10-31: Walk along Heritage Circle and View the creative scarecrow displays. Vote for your favorite! Three winners will be chosen.
    • Come out to Heritage Park (day or night) for bats, spiders, ghosts, and lights! The park will be decorated with all things spooky the month of October.
  • Fall at Brookfield Zoo
    • The dino’s are still stomping through the zoo as well as halloween decorations to take your fall selfies!
    • A great location to view fall leaves as well!
  • Naperville Halloween Lights Map
    • Utilize this map to go on a driving tour of festive Halloween houses in Naperville!
  • Naperville Halloween Celebrations
    • Sat & Sun, Oct 24th & 25th
    • Sat from 1-4 there will be a pop up pumpkin patch (free)
    • Sunday business trick or treat from 10 – noon
    • Plus much, much, more!
  • Fall Festival at the Promenade (Bolingbrook)
    • October 23rd – 25th
    • Artisans, crafts, fall food
    • Kids scavenger hunt on the 24th only

 

Did I miss anything? Comment with a unique fall activity you have enjoyed so far!

 


Chicagoland Pumpkin Patches


Fall is definitely NOT cancelled this year folks!

Between the apple orchards and these pumpkin patches,

there is fall fun to be had every weekend until November!

 

As I have stated before, when it comes to farms,

it is always a good idea to verify on their website and Facebook page

to confirm they are open for the day.

You are also going to want to confirm the forms of payments they take,

what COVID policies they  have in place,

and whether advance registration is required or not.

 

 

 

Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm

  • September 25th – November 1st
  • Homer Glen, IL
  • “Have you ever wondered where America’s #1 Pumpkin Farm is located? Visit and experience Bengtson Pumpkin Farm to see why so many families include this farm in their annual Fall traditions. Opening September 18th-20th 2020, then Sept. 25th everyday thru November 1, 2020 Fun for the whole family, over 50+ attractions, activities, and food. Unlimited Kiddie Rides included every day with admission.”

 

Bronkberry Farms

  • Plainfield
  • FREE ADMISSION, U – Pick pumpkin patch, hayrack rides for $3 pp, and more!
  • Fall Fest with Craft Fair: October 10th & 11th

 

Cody’s Farm

  • Marengo
  • Weekends in October enjoy free admission and parking, free hayrides to pick your own pumpkin (7$ any size in the field)
  • There is a free kids play area and a $6 wristband kids play area, food, fall decorations, and more!

 

Cosley Zoo Pumpkin Fest

  • October 1st – 31st
  • Wheaton, IL
  • Come out to Cosley Zoo this fall and enjoy the colors of the season, see the animals, and pick out your pumpkins! Pumpkins, gourds, apples, cider, corn stalks, and straw bales are all available for purchase.

    This event will follow Phase 4 guidelines of the restore Illinois Plan:

    • Capacity in the zoo is limited. All individuals will need a reserved ticket. Walk-up tickets will not be available.
    • You must enter at your reserved entry time. Early and late arrivals may not be able to be accommodated.
    • Face coverings are required for all zoo visitors over the age of two when at least 6ft. of distance cannot be maintained between non-household groups.

     

Dave’s Pumpkins

  • Huntley
  • Free parking and no admission fees
  •  “Daily free activities include, pumpkin bowling, min- broom corn maze and pedal tractors.  Donuts, and socially distanced Hay Rides ($3) are weekends only.”
  • “Locally owned family farm growing pumpkins and other melons. Hay rides every Saturday and Sunday in the fall. Cider and pumpkin donuts made fresh daily.”
  • All family activities have been modified to facilitate social distancing

 

Didier Farm

  • Lincolnshire
  • September 19th – October 31st
  • No hayrides will be running this year
  • Come see the Animal Land Zoo or Play in the Pumpkin Playland!
  • “We are well know for growing some of the most amazing pumpkins anywhere.  We have a huge selection of unusual pumpkins and gourds in an array of sizes and colors.  White, green, speckles and orange are all waiting to be made into your favorite Jack-O-Lanterns!”

 

Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch

  • South Barrington & Pingree Grove, Hampshire
  • “Goebbert’s Fall Festival starts September 19th, 2020 and runs through Halloween. We are a great place for families to come and have a great fall day. Come enjoy the animals, watch a pig race, see our famous Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur, have some lunch and pick out a pumpkin. We have plenty of fun attractions for the whole family! Also make sure to stop by the Red Barn Cafe & Bakery for some tasty treats, including our famous Apple Cider Donuts and Pumpkin cookies. Masks are required to enter the farm and for all indoor buildings, attractions and specified areas (market, cafe, haunted house, pony ride, camel ride, wagon ride, jumping pillow, animal tents, giraffe stand, shadehouse and when maintaining social distance is not possible). Don’t delay; our festival is only 6 weeks long! Our farm is open daily until 6pm, but the last entry for the day is 5pm.”
  • ONLINE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED

 

Heap’s Giant Pumpkin Farm

  • Minooka
  • September 12th – October 31st
  • Hay rides and food on weekends and Columbus Day only
  • “Catch a hayride out to our 25-acre pumpkin patch full of 90 different varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash! Pick from traditional jack o’ lanterns, to white pumpkins of all sizes, bumpy pumpkins, green, red and multi-colored pumpkins, to name a few.”
  • Kids will enjoy the corn maze, soybean maze, milo’s castle playground, straw barn, and more!

 

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop Up

  • 1467 N. Elston Ave., Chicago (Goose Island)
  • Opens October 6th
  • “Although it won’t be the same as years past, we simply couldn’t resist offering something everyone needs right now, a fun place to buy your seasonable selections with Friends! Jack’s Pumpkin Patch Pop-Up is located on over 2 acres of land in the historic Goose Island. Pick a perfect pumpkin, grab a memorable Instagrammable fall moment, or just get out of the house and get some fresh air on a perfect Autumn evening, as you get lost in the largest, and only, cornfield in downtown Chicago. In accordance with Chicago’s Department of Health Safety standards, masking-wearing is always required, visits are limited to 1.5 hours and there is no food & beverage available for purchase. Outside food and drinks will not be permitted, just 100% outdoor fun in the heart of downtown Chicago!”

 

Konows Corn Maze

  • Homer Glen
  • “Konow’s Corn Maze in Homer Glen WILL BE OPENING this Saturday September 19! Rides, Games, Food, Fun, and our world-famous Corn Maze! We will be taking ALL necessary precautions to keep everyone safe during the current pandemic.”
  • “Konow’s offers 2 Mazes! One for the serious maze player who enjoys finding their way through approx. 3.4 miles of twists and turns and a smaller maze for those who want the excitement of walking through the tall corn or those with small children and only wish to walk a short distance (approx. 0.4 mile).”
  • CLOSED ON TUESDAYS

 

Kuiper’s Family Farm

  • Maple Park
  • “Fun is gown by the bushel at the Kuipers Family Farm. Create memories for your family to last a lifetime when you spend the day on our beautiful sprawling Midwest farm. Enjoy all of the fun, interesting, and educational feature, attractions, and rides. And of course, take your time scoping out the best spots for the biggest and best pumpkin picking in our expansive pumpkin patch.”
  • Also enjoy the corn maze, hay wagon rides, jumping pillow, petting zoo, tractor train, woodland walk, and more!

 

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm

  • Lockport, IL
  • Opens September 26th. Farm is only open Fri – Sun
  • “You can find your way through the maze (or part of it), feed the goats and sheep,  see the farm animals , take a wagon ride to the UPick pumpkin field , find the queen bee in our observation hive, play in one of our 5 play areas, take a train ride, slide down the tallest slide in the Midwest, and much more!”

Sonny Acres Farm

  • West Chicago
  • Come pick your pumpkin grown right on their farm, enjoy the outdoor grill, petting / feeding zoo, and more!
  • The kids will have a blast in the kiddie koral complete with jumping pillow, bounce houses, sonny express train, and rides!

 

Stade’s Farm and Market

  • McHenry
  • “Our hayrides to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkins will begin at a new time from here on out, 9 am. They will continue to run until 5 pm. Any size pumpkin in the field is just $8. We offer hayrides on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Fridays in October and Columbus Day.”
  • Shades of Autumn, Fall Family Festival: September 12th – November 1st
    • Pumpkin picking, apple picking, food, and fun!

 

Tom & Zach’s Pumpkin Patch

  • Lockport
  • “We are a small family farm with about 1 and 1/2 acres of pumpkins. There is no admission fee , you can walk through the field with your kids to find the perfect pumpkin.  We have wagons and cutters to cut the pumpkins off the stem.”
  • Pumpkins range in price from $1 to $5. We have white pumpkins. Small straw bales $4.50, large $7, Corn stalks $3
  • Cash only
  • “We are open 7 days a week from 8 am till dusk from now  until Halloween. We have set up props so you can take pictures with  your kids.”

 

Windy Acres Farm

  • Geneva, IL
  • Apple and Pumpkin Festival September 19th – October 31st
  • Jumping pillow, train, pony rides, corn maze, petting zoo, wagon rides, petting zoo, corn box, tangled web, zip line, and educational barn

 

Don’t forget about Apple Orchards! We have a guide for that too!

Chicagoland Apple Orchards


Those cooler temperatures mean fall is on the way and along with? Apple orchards, cider, apple donuts, pumpkin patches and more! Find an orchard from this round up and create memories to last a lifetime.


 

 


Chicago Foam Company Review


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Chicagoland Apple Orchards


Those cooler temperatures mean fall is on the way and along with? Apple orchards, cider, apple donuts, pumpkin patches and more! Find an orchard from this round up and create memories to last a lifetime.