If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I have a whole category of spots in East Tennessee that we believe are good, family fun!! Kendra recently contacted me and asked about working on a post together ~ she would share her favorite spots in Chicago, and I would share my favorite spots in East Tennessee! Fun!!
So, before we get started…I would LOVE to know…do I have any readers in Chicago? What about those of you in Tennessee? Leave me a comment and let me know if you are in one of these 2 spots!
Without further adieu…
My Favorite Family Fun Spots in East Tennessee
- Ijams Nature Center ~ Nature and FREE, what could be better? Great for hiking, picnics, nature study, they have programs and classes and an indoor small museum type area that is great! Ijams is in the south Knoxville area.
- Wonderworks Museum is DEFINITELY the favorite local spot of my children! It’s located in Pigeon Forge and because it’s a bit pricy, we only go about once a year. But they love it!
- We love Apple Barn!! It’s also in Pigeon Forge. Usually every fall we study apples, go to an orchard and eat at the Apple Barn! Yum! Their apple dumplings and cider is the best.
- I can’t mention east TN without mentioning the Great Smoky Mountains!! Here is a post from a few years ago…make sure you have your car sickness meds if you take some of the trails. 🙂 But, seriously go to the Sugarlands Visitor Center – it’s my favorite. There are beautiful spots to walk and hike, waterfalls to be seen, picnics to be taken, possibly a bear cub or mama! Also be sure to drive around Cades Cove while you’re in the Smokies!
- For more of our favorite spots, please check out the whole category and scroll through…I’ve shared a lot of our favorite field trips and places to go over the years!!
Kendra’s Favorite Chicago Spots
Chicago has a lot to offer with many historic and modern places to visit. With so much to do here, you’ll need an abbreviated list of the top fun and interesting places to see. From shopping-to-dining-to- museums, here’s my top choices in Chicago:
Unique Shopping at the Ukrainian Village
Located on Chicago’s Northwest side, this diverse neighborhood is one of my favorite places to visit because it offers historic buildings and unique shopping. Grab a bite to eat at the Wicker Basket Cafe where they serve French-influenced meals, pastries, and desserts. After eating, visit one of the art galleries or the unique Delta Ukrainian Enterprise shop. This shop has Ukrainian folk art, pottery, embroidery, and other unique gifts. Then, stop by high-end stores like Penelope’s and Fly Boutique for trendy apparel.
Stroll the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
One interesting place in Chicago is the Museum of Contemporary Art. Showcasing numerous exhibitions, programs, and performances throughout the year, the MCAC is one of my favorite art institutes. They are located at 220 East Chicago Avenue only one block east of the Magnificent Mile, so if you have time you can get in yout shopping right after! The MCAC is open Tuesday’s – Sunday’s. There’s an affordable admission price of $12, and a group discount if there’s 10 or more in your party. Also, it is free to gain admittance on Tuesdays!
Finding Places to Stay in Chicago
Whether you want to stay in downtown Chicago or in the suburbs, I’ve found the best place to reserve hotel rooms is through the site Gogobot. This lists a variety of hotels for every budget, allowing you to stay in a historic, contemporary, or family-friendly hotel. Whether you are gung ho on an all-inclusive food package or looking for a new, eco-friendly boutique hotel like the Hotel Felix, Chicago has something for you.
Chicago’s Famous Pizza
Chicago is well known for their scrumptious deep-dish pizza, and it is something you must experience firsthand. One of my favorite authentic Chicago-style pizza places is served at Lou Malnati’s, and they have multiple locations in Chicago. If everyone in your group somehow isn’t into the deep-dish pizza, they do have a full restaurant and bar. You’ll find soups, salads, sandwiches, and pasta at Lou Malnati’s, but really, it’s their deep-dish pizza that will give you the ultimate Chicago pizza experience.
Kendra Thornton is a travel expert, mama of 3, TV spokesperson, and business woman who loves to travel and share her experiences!