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If you have a tot in tow, it’s a fine time to explore the city’s more adorable offerings. (Don’t worry: Overpriced dolls don’t have to be in the mix.) These are the most tolerable places to entertain kids in Chicago.


Kid's Island

Prepare to have your mind blown. This Lincoln Park venue offers an improbable hybrid of nail salon, child’s playroom and coffee shop (yep, they’re all attached). And that playroom is no ordinary place to play: it’s an indoor sandlot, with a slide, games and adult supervision.

1358 W. Webster Ave.; 773-935-6060 or


By the Park

This new cookie café is filled with picnic tables, benches and a play area for kids. Sense a theme? The cookies are all named after parks and make for delicious snacks. Our favorite is the Boston Common Park, flavored with peanut butter and jam. P.S.: There’s Wi-Fi and coffee here, so you can get a little work done while your young guest doodles on the chalkboard.

3242 N. Clark St.; 312-585-7553 or

Little Beans Café/Facebook

Little Beans Café

At the center of the family-friendly café “Little Beans Village” is a miniature town built just for kids.You'll find a teeny grocery store, a firehouse, a playhouse and a school, along with books, games and ride-on cars. In the classroom, kids take dance and yoga classes; there’s also an old-fashioned ice cream shop with a toy-filled back deck. In a nutshell: Little Beans a total wonderland for kids, and it’s tough for adults not to be charmed. (At the very least, you’ll get a panini out of the deal.)

1809 W. Webster Ave.; 773-251-1025 or


Sod Room

The indoor playroom is all about environmental responsibility. The floors are made of cork, the paint is low VOC and you can bet that rocking horse is sustainable. There are also workshops and classes that teach eco-friendly parenting tips.

1454 S. Michigan Ave., 2nd fl.; 312-922-3131 or

Maggie Daley Park/Facebook

Maggie Daley Park

No Chicagoan--big or little--should spend a nice day indoors. At the downtown park, kids can choose from a climbing wall open to all levels, mini golf and a “play garden” replete with an enchanted forest. Plus, this outing’s easy on the wallet: Though climbing and mini golf have a fee, park admission is free.

337 E. Randolph St.; 312-742-3918 or


The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Truth be told, we never grew out of our butterfly phase. For enthusiasts young and old, the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven is aflutter with more than 1,000 of them. Explore the surrounding flowers, water features and tropical trees.


2430 N. Cannon Dr.; 773-755-5100 or

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