New Year’s Resolutions for Chicago Parents

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That long list of activities you’ve been wanting to tackle as a family but never got around to? The new year is almost here and there are. No. More. Excuses! (Yep, you can count on us at Red Tricycle to give a dose of tough love.) Resolutions are well worth keeping if they involve the kiddos. Here are some every Chicago fam should make — and follow through on — in 2020.

photo: Storytown Improv

Introduce More Theatre

Not many cities in the US compare to Chicago when it comes to the theater scene — for both adults and littles. See a charming piece of live theater when Chicago Children's Theatre presents Wake Up, Brother Bear and Me . . . Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall. Or, throw yourself and your kids into the show with interactive performances like Storytown Improv at Stage 773.

photo: Wilmot Mountain

Be More Spontaneous

Make time for last-minute road tripping with your family with the perfect winter vacay, snowboard, ski or tube with the kids at Wilmot Mountain or slip away any time of year to The Dells. Quick and easy memory-makers.

photo: Morton Arboretum via Maria Chambers

Be More Outdoorsy

Morton Arboretum welcomes as many as 1 million visitors a year. See what all the buzz is about and explore the grounds any month for an ever-changing view of nature. Let the Husky Heroes impress you Jan. 25 & 26, hunt for giant trolls hiding in the woods before they sneak away at the end of summer, or pop in for Thursday Family Nights this summer.

Eat Healthier

Encourage healthy eating habits by being thoughtful about where your food comes from. Shop Green City Market. (Psst ... yes, even in winter). It moves indoors to Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, November-April.) While you're at Peggy Notebaert, check out the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where they release butterflies daily and it always feels like summer.

photo: Hotel Zachary

Be a Tourist in Your Own City

Make an effort to become more acquainted with our beautiful city by planning a staycation with help from one of the many hotels that cater to families.

photo: Maria Chambers

Walk More, Drive Less!

Put some miles on the baby buggy by taking a guided stroller tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art the first Wednesday of every month. Keeping walking on into spring when the berries are prime for the picking and you can stroll around, filling your bellies with sweet goodness at one of these berry farms.  You could also opt for a family hike (look at you, sticking to that resolution to be outdoorsy. Two birds. One stone).

photo: Maria Chambers

Learn a New Skill

Hopefully, the powder will be plentiful this season so you can check "learn to shred" off your bucket list at Lisle's Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports. This is a great spot for first-timers and little ones looking to take a first peek at snowboarding and skiing.

photo: Chicago International Children's Film Festival, credit Facets

Watch More Quality Programming

Did you know Chicago is home to an international children's film fest? Yep. Totally is. And, we definitely recommend checking it out. For the 37th year, the Chicago International Children's Film Festival will be hitting local theaters at the end of October. Keep your eyes peeled for the 2020 dates.

Get to Know a Neighbor. . . Michigan!

Packerland and all their stinky cheese not sounding appealing? Okay, scoot on over to the western coast of Michigan, where low-key beaches and quaint towns reign supreme.

photo: Adler Planetarium

Visit More Museums

Adler, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, The Art Institute, Chicago Children's Museum. . . our city is teeming with world-class museums. Spend the year ticking them off your list, and consider supporting them with a family membership. Along with scoring sweet perks like access to special events, discounts and free parking, you’re helping an awesome family destination thrive. Here is the scoop on memberships your gang should consider having: Perk Up! Must-Have Family Memberships in Chicago.

Listen to the Wise Ones

Remember the wise, wise words of fellow Chicagoan Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it."

— Maria Chambers


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