Frequently I’m asked by friends, and friends of friends, where they should stay with their kids when visiting the Windy City. I often suggest The James Hotel. Centrally located a block from Michigan Avenue, and across the street from The Shops at North Bridge (home to Nordstrom’s), this is a super family-friendly hotel.
The fun begins at check-in. When youngsters arrive, they receive a James backpack filled with a small welcome gift. There is also a wide selection of DVDs and kid-friendly movies to view in the room. This always comes in handy after a long day of sightseeing. If there’s a gamer in the family, then you can borrow Nintendo Wiis and a selection of games. If family game night is on the agenda, there is a wide selection of classic board games available.
And the fun continues at bedtime as turndown service includes milk & cookies. Best of all, visiting parents can travel lightly because portable cribs, car seats and kid-friendly bathtubs are available. Arrange these details directly with the concierge at the time of booking.
Now lets talk food. For local Chicagoan’s or visitors, David’s Burke Primehouse is not only one of the premier steakhouses in Chicago but it is also the hotel’s signature restaurant and provides all in-room dining. This is Middle and Big’s favorite restaurant in town. I’m not sure if they love it so much because of the enormous popovers that are served as soon as you sit down, or if it’s the bacon sticks, that don’t last more then minutes after being served.
Before you roll your eyes about paying for children at a steakhouse, know they have the best kid’s menu in town. Children 10 and under can choose from mini burgers ($10), Kobe corn dogs ($8) and even a 3 ounce or 6 ounce filet mignon ($12/$17). All are served with a choice of one side. Take a look at the kid filet!
After your meal, you’ll want to ask if your server can give you a tour of their Dry Aging room. You’ll learn all about their pink Himalayan salt lined room. It’s a really unique experience and a fun way to end a family dinner.
A version of this article first appeared on Chicago Parent where I am a contributor.