With all the exciting tourist attractions in Chicago, there's no doubt the Windy City's a perfect place for a family-focused vacation. Year round, families check out cultural treasures from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Shedd Aquarium. They dine at kid-friendly restaurants that go all out with special menus and more. And, of course, there are plenty of awesome neighborhoods to explore, such as Chinatown, Logan Square, South Loop and the West Loop.
A number of hotels are also getting in on the action. From "kiddie clubs" to special packages certain to keep everyone happy, we've put together a Top 10 list of the best family-friendly hotels in Chicago.
The Drake Hotel
Why Your Family Will Love It: Thinking of a girls' trip where you treat the littlest ladies in your life like pampered princesses? The Drake has teamed up with American Girl Place for an experience that's certain to keep smiles on their faces for quite awhile. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a personalized welcome letter and kiddie cocktails in the restaurant. Deluxe accommodations include fresh baked cookies and milk with turndown service as well as a bed for American Girl dolls. There's also complimentary internet service, breakfast and access to the hotel's library of American Girl books. The Drake can also arrange a personal shopper while visiting The American Girl Place. The hotel's Palm Court restaurant is one of our favorite places in the city for afternoon tea. It's $30 for children.
Amenities: Great views of the famed Magnificent Mile shopping district; lake views; multi-lingual staff; pool; ATM; laundry/valet service; gift shop; florist; concierge; clothing store; high chairs; cribs
Average Room Rate: $139-$448
More Info: 140 E. Walton Pl., 855-605-0316
Four Seasons Chicago
Why Your Family Will Love It: Those looking for a luxury experience with family should check into the Four Seasons Chicago. The kids--whether they're toddlers, tykes or teenagers--should enjoy a number of premium perks. Everyone loves the Ice Cream Man, who rolls through each room with a cart full of goodies for the entire family to create custom-made sundaes. There's also a teen spa menu, which offers facials and mani/pedis designed for those 12-18. And have no fear if the weather is frightful outside: The Kids Clubroom features video games, foosball, board games, arts and crafts, a movie area and more. It's open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and adult supervision is required.
Amenities: Babysitting services; pool; childproof rooms; lowered peepholes in rooms; twice daily housekeeping
Average Room Rate: $341-$1,642
More Info: 120 E. Delaware Pl., 312-280-8800
Embassy Suites Downtown
Why Your Family Will Love It: There's so much to love about Embassy Suites by Hilton, which should be beneficial for parents and kids. There's free hot breakfast every morning and complimentary adult beverages during happy hour. Everyone gets a two-room suite, so grown folks will get a bit of privacy. It's an especially great place to stay during summer because there's so much to do in the area.
Amenities: Cribs, high chairs, kids' menu, indoor swimming pool, valet parking
Average Room Rate: $114-$614
More Info: 511 N. Columbus Dr., 312-836-5900
Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown
Why Your Family Will Love It: The Hampton Inn (River North and Streeterville) is always a great bet when you've got two or more kids in tow. Guests get a complimentary daily hot breakfast--and it switches up every day--plus many kid-friendly attractions are in walking distance.
Amenities: Great location, indoor pool, fresh fruit in lobby
Average Room Rate: $98-$402 (River North), $123-$385 (Streeterville)
More Info: 33 W. Illinois St. (River North) or 160 E. Huron St. (Streeterville)
Why Your Family Will Love It: Located directly across the street from Grant Park and down the street from Millennium Park, Hilton Chicago is one of the Windy City's most venerable hotel properties. Book the family fun package and get complimentary breakfast for two adults and up to two children at 720 South Bar & Grill, plus free self-parking in the hotel's enclosed garage.
Amenities: Full-length heated indoor pool, whirlpool and sauna with seasonal sundeck, complimentary wifi, indoor running track
Average Room Rate: $123-$533
More Info: 720 S. Michigan Ave., 855-760-0869
Hotel Palomar Chicago
Why Your Family Will Love It: Set in the heart of trendy River North, Palomar Chicago's Kimpton Kids' Program should thrill every kid in your brood. When you make a reservation, be sure to request connecting rooms and a complimentary crib. Palomar's restaurant offers high chairs and booster seats, or you can have one delivered to your room for in-room dining. Other highlights include a welcome gift, child-size animal print robes (for loan or purchase), complimentary kid-friendly mocktails and snacks during happy hour (parents get adult beverages) and a pet fish during your stay.
Amenities: Heated indoor pool, babysitting services, in-room child safety kits, strollers for rent
Average Room Rate: $186-$532
More Info: 505 N. State St., 312-755-9703
Why Your Family Will Love It: For those bringing in the family for a weekend excursion, James Hotel features a special package certain to put a smile on the little ones' faces. It includes four tickets to the Chicago Children's Museum, milk-and-cookie turndown service, a welcome amenity from hotel partner Seedling, a full list of DVDs to watch in-room, kid-friendly dining menus from David Burke’s Primehouse, and a selection of books and classic board games.
Amenities: Turndown service, car service, spa, pets welcome, complimentary bicycles
Average Room Rate: $137-$489
More Info: 55 E. Ontario St., 312-313-0540
Why Your Family Will Love It: You want your space, and so do your kids, which is why you might want to consider investing in one of the kid-friendly suites at Swissotel. It's a full-size room with an adjoining room for children. Each is themed with kid-sized tables and chairs, coloring books, DVDs, stuffed animals and video games. The family also gets four museum tickets.
Amenities: Indoor pool, fitness center, complimentary wifi
Average Room Rate: $166-$484
More Info: 323 E. Wacker Dr., 312-248-7194
Waldorf Astoria Chicago
Why Your Family Will Love It: The American Girl Place/Waldorf Astoria Chicago package is certain to make your little girl(s) feel like a VIP. For $65 per child/doll ($50 for each extra child/doll), the package includes a doll-sized robe and slipper set for the doll, doll-size travel bed, complimentary ride to the American Girl Place in Waldorf's luxury house car, two in-room pastries during turndown service, American Girl activity books and DVDs.
The little ones may also take advantage of kiddie treatments provided by the hotel's well-appointed spa. A technician will come to your room and offer mini manicures, pedicures, and facials.
Amenities: Full-service fitness center, cocktail lounge, spa and heated pool
Average Room Rate: $400-$886
More Info: 11 E. Walton St., 312-646-1405
Why Your Family Will Love It: Check in with little ones at Westin Chicago on the Mag Mile and each will receive a special "kids club" gift bag upon arrival. It's full of toys, activities, and other items to keep them entertained throughout their stay. Other items guests may request include nightlights, strollers, bottle warmers, high chairs and booster seats.
Amenities: Two restaurants, spa, fitness center, valet parking
Average Room Rate: $121-$608
More Info: 909 N Michigan Ave., 312-943-7200
Nearby Attractions: Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago River Tours, Chicago Sports Museum, Chicago Water Tower, Dylan's Candy Bar, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, Hershey's Chocolate World, Lincoln Park Zoo, Lookingglass Theatre Co., Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Noble Horse Chicago Carriage Rides, Oak Street Beach, Richard H. Driehaus Museum, Shops at North Bridge, Water Tower Place