Thursday, May 2, 2019

Family Fun in the Chicago Suburbs

We had a really fun couple of days in the Chicago suburbs last week.

We tried new restaurants, enjoyed local favorites and played outside every day.  Kevin was at his conference every day from 8-4.  That gave us plenty of time to relax, explore and enjoy the Downers Grove area.  We did a good mix of fun, free fun and had a blast.  I was thankful for the great weather and opportunities to explore.

The highlights:

The hotel pool!  We stayed at Double Tree Suites and liked it.  They have a Starbucks, hotel restaurant and was really conveniently located.  My kids look forward to swimming every time we stay in a hotel.  We mostly had the pool and hot tub to ourselves every time we swam.  It was great!  We swam at night and in the morning.  The fun one (Kevin) suggested a night swim when we checked into the hotel after our 4 hour drive.  At first I said no.  Then I realized he was right.  So we threw on our swim suits and played in the pool before bed.

Kevin picked out a couple Groupons for us to try new places (pizza and hibachi that were both fine, but not amazing) and then we hit up some chains that we don't have at home.  We had Chipotle for lunch and the kids hated it- ha!  We figured they'd love it, but they barely choked it down. 

I've always heard that Portillos is amazing.  When I looked at their menu and saw that they have much more than hot dogs I was sold.  We all got burgers, fries and I had to try their famous chocolate cake.  It was all really good.  The restaurant is so much fun!  There are so many cool things to look at.  We played several games of I Spy, enjoyed the atmosphere and the food.  We'd definitely go back!  My ONLY complaint is that they don't have kid's meals.  So we got the kid's the smallest burgers and they were huge.

My goal was to explore a new park or two every day with the kids.  This is our favorite form of FREE FUN.  We were really thankful that there were lots of park options near us. 

We loved and would HIGHLY recommend The Morton Arboretum & Troll Hunting.

I'll start by telling you our #1 park in the Downers Grove area:

MARYKNOLL PARK is AMAZING!!  It had everything you could want in a park - swings, sand, zip line, climbing structure, giant rocks, tennis courts and clean restrooms.  They also had mini golf, frisbee golf and a splash park that we didn't use.  It was beautiful!  We loved it so much that we went 2 or 3 times.  Parents and kids loved this park.  It was not crowded at all because we went during the day and school is in session.

We loved it so much that we had to bring Kevin to the park to enjoy it with us.  

I packed our tennis balls, racquets and bubbles for more free fun options.

Butterfield Park District:
Small, but fun playground.  They had a good playground for little kids and a separate one for big kids.  Their pool looked really fun for summer time.

Hidden Lake Forest Preserve:
We went on a fun adventure on the walking trails at Hidden Lake.  We saw some birds and just enjoyed being outside.  The kids loved bird watching, checking out the stream and going on the trails.

It was really kid friendly and fun.

We had the best time!!


  1. Fun post! I have family that lives in Downers Grove, fun city! and yes, Portillos is AMAZING! We like their strawberry shortcake much better than the chocolate cake :)

  2. Was the pool heated? Mason has been begging to swim for weeks. It’s hard to explain to a child that the water is not warm on the first warm day we have! Lol. Portillos looks like a fun family restaurant! You guys definitely found some amazing parks!

  3. Chipotle is my very favorite!!! I am OBSESSED with their guac!!!! Annster's Domain


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