Chicago Children in Chinatown

Chicago enjoyed some blissfully mild weather this past weekend. On Saturday we took a nice family walk to Lincoln Park along Lake Michigan. No coats, no hats, no problems!

Sunday was equally as nice, so I wanted to take the kids on another trek around our city. Unfortunately, Chris had to teach a class, so I set out alone with the kids.  We intended to take a bus to one of their favorite parks, but once we reached the bus stop I realized the bus wasn’t running on Sunday. With four kids staring up at me (“What now, Mom??“) I looked around and saw the next best thing: the entrance to the red line.  I asked the kids if they were up for an adventure. Their answer: a resounding “YES!!

The kids and I jumped on the el (Chicago’s subway) and rode south to Chinatown. In all my years living in Chicago, I’ve never really explored this neighborhood, so I had no idea what to expect when we got off the train. Fortunately for me, there was so much to see and do!

The kids loved exploring little trinket shops. I gave each of them an “allowance” of $5, a small sum that went quite far in Chinatown. Vivian found a little purse and a sparkly pink fan. Evie was happy to acquire a pocket mirror and sparkly headband. Mack added to his ever-growing treasure collection with a handpainted thimble (he refers to it as a tiny Chinese garbage can).

We bought two big bags of fortune cookies for $0.99 each. The kids loved cracking them open and asking me to read the fortune. Even little Ben happily snacked on one – a perfect teething biscuit for his sore gums.

Perhaps the most observant fortune told us what we already knew: that it doesn’t take a lot of money to enjoy life. Our little urban expedition cost $5 for transportation and another $15 in spending money.  And yet it was one of my most favorite afternoons of the entire year!

We spent a good two hours moseying around Chinatown. The kids were all so well behaved and engaged with the adventure. No one complained about being tired or bored – we all genuinely loved it! Next time we’ll go back for dinner…with Chris!

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2 Comments for this entry

  1. amy e says:

    in the summer take the water taxi there and el home. we’ll meet you and take over a restaurant.

  2. Sheila cruz says:

    Took my kids to Chinatown on the water taxi from Ogilvie when they were in elementary school. They loved the adventure also! There is a beautiful red pagoda and park welcoming you as you disembark! A short walk into the heart of town and you’re in a true gem of Chicago’s many varied neighborhoods! The journey is just as fun as the destination! Thanks for sharing your story & bringing back memories!

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