Living paycheck to paycheck most definitely means vacations are a luxury of the few. Even a flight to the east coast to visit my own family is out of the question this year, as finances need to be controlled. As a mom I feel guilty for not being able to give my son the experience of traveling to diverse destinations or even the Lake Erie Peninsula of my youth. In the city of Chicago itself, even a typical staycation needs the budget pruned.
Flush the guilt away. What matters most is time spent together. Here are some options to higher cost alternatives.
If you can’t afford to go to a Chicago Bulls game attend a local University’s basketball game, i.e. Depaul, University of Chicago, Loyola, etc. My 8 yr old was just as happy, and it was pizza night at the game, so we saved money on concessions with a slice of free pizza.
Can’t afford the Mexican Resort?- Take your kids to Pilsen the Mexican neighborhood right off the 18th st. pink line train stop. Your kids will be able to experience authentic Mexican culture in America rather than a sterile cruise and resort where everyone speaks English. Get educated at The National Museum of Mexican Art located at 1859 W. 19th St. Visit a Panaderia(Mexican bakery). Let your kids pick a yummy pastry. Don’t forget to pick one out for yourself too!
The week after, visit Chinatown! When the weather is warmer take the kids to Ping Tom Park. The possibilities of touring the world within Chicago are endless.
Resort activities- How about taking your kids and doing Zumba together? This works better for children 7 and older. I took my son to a Zumba class with the permission of the teacher. Set the example for your kids that movement is wonderful.
How about family karaoke? A great place to do karaoke with the family over dinner is at Hiromi’s located on 3609 W. Lawrence. It’s a quaint family run Filipino/Japanese karaoke restaurant. No stage needed. You can sit right at the table and sing your heart out with the kids.
Tour boats in Chicago can be expensive. Have you ever thought of Chicago’s Water Taxi? An All day pass is $10.00 for the weekend. You can get on and off at various points in downtown Chicago as well as Ping Tom Park in Chinatown.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful museums. A favorite museum of both tourists and Chicagoans alike is the Museum of Science and Industry. A highlyinteractive museum that will keep the kids busy for hours.
You can build memories that last a lifetime without an expensive vacation. Enjoy the city and most importantly, the time spent with your family.
April Harkness is a part-time LPN/personal trainer who received her Bachelors degree from Excelsior College as an adult learner. She loves all things fitness, especially barbells and kettlebells and continues to be an advocate of lifelong learning. Follow her at http://apriltrainer.simplesite.com/341243860
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