Iam a native of Chicago and currently live in the western suburbs with my husband and our two sons. I am a freelance writer and author of two books; Remembering Ruby: for families living beyond the loss of a pet and Chicken in the Car and the Car Won’t Go: Nearly 200 Ways to Enjoy Chicagoland with Tweens and Teens. I have been blogging at Suburban Scrawl since 2007: though I blog about my family, I blog about lots of other things too.  My blog design was inspired by the Chicago flag. Being a Chicago blogger and author of a Chicago travel guide book has been really fun, and as a result I have enjoyed many great experiences, like being one of four Skydeck Chicago ambassadors last summer and getting up close and personal with some incredible experiences in Chicago.

Melisa’s Family Travel Tip:
My favorite family travel tip is to involve the kids in making the travel plans. This can be done a little bit when they’re young and can be more involved as they get older. The idea to write my book came from the summer of 2005 when my boys (then 11 and 13) helped me plan our own family summer camp. They learned about working with a budget (if one of our activities cost more money than originally planned, we had to adjust something else, for example) and loved brainstorming ideas for our camp calendar. We had contingency plans made up in case our outdoor activities got rained out, and they took their own pictures all summer. By letting them help “drive” our plans, it was one of the best summers ever.

Melisa’s Top Family-Friendly Chicago Destinations:
The destinations I recommend in Chicago vary by the day because the city has so much to offer. When people ask me where they should go, I usually don’t mention the places that are listed on every “Best tourist attractions” list because although those places are fabulous, people should check out Chicago’s other jewels, too!

  • A tour of the Pedway (which so many people don’t even know exists!) with Margaret from Chicago Elevated, who is hilariously entertaining (fun for kids!)
  • An architecture tour/cruise on the Chicago River (there are so many companies to choose from, and they’re all good!)
  • Macy’s (though I still call it Marshall Field’s) on State Street, to see the Tiffany ceiling over the cosmetic department and the Burnham Fountain.

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