Kids Night Out in the City

We headed into Chicago last night with our kids and some friends — former city dwellers like us — and had a great dining, theater and shopping adventure. The best part: We all enjoyed ourselves, kids and adults alike.

Dinner was at one of our favorite restaurants: Penny’s Noodle Shop in Wrigleyville. We live in the South Suburbs, and decent Thai food restaurants are hard to find out this way. When our friends suggested we grab a bite at Penny’s, we were all over the idea. Spring rolls, tom yum soup and pad Thai: all delicious. It’s also a quick and super affordable place to eat for a family or group.

Next up was Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre on Halsted. It’s crazy, I know, but somehow my husband and I have never seen this production. We were super excited to experience it for the first time with our kids and friends. It turned out to be the perfect theater event for older kids: fast-paced, interactive, visually exciting, a little gross and naughty, and filled with hilarious pop culture references. The age range of our four kids is 10 to 13, and they all thoroughly enjoyed it.

A warning to those with younger children: The noise level is extremely high, and the show might be overly stimulating visually and even scary. I did hear a few little ones crying in the beginning (before the sound drowned them out).

My kids hanging with their new blue friend at Briar Street Theatre in Chicago

No visit to Lakeview is complete without a little thrift store shopping. After Blue Man Group, we found our way over to Hollywood Mirror on Belmont. The kids had a blast exploring the racks and shelves of flashy trash and kitsch, and we had almost as much fun watching them. This mama was having some serious ’80s flashbacks, especially when my daughter decided she couldn’t live without a pair of black-and-white checkered suspenders.

After a quick caffeine break at Starbucks, we decided to check out the holiday lights on the Magnificent Mile. It was a bit of a detour on our journey home, but it was the perfect ending to our big city family adventure.