No need to traipse from store to store looking for the perfect gift this Mother’s Day when the best gift you can offer is time well spent. We’re helping you out with ideas that appeal no matter what brings a smile to mom. From classic brunches to photo shoots and exhibit-seeking, take advantage of what Chicago has to offer and make sweet memories on this special day. Read on and get planning, May 13 will be here before ya know it!

photo: A Little Photo Studio

For a timeless keepsake: A Little Photo Studio at Winifred Grace

Join A Little Photo Studio at Andersonville’s Winifred Grace for a special Mother’s Day photo session. Participants will be creating a personalized bronze, sterling silver or gold locket piece that can be picked up Mother’s Day weekend and will enjoy bites, drinks and a bubble master.

May 3; 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $75 (day-of walk-in's); $65 (pre-booked); lockets starting at $126
Winifred Grace
5642 N Clark St., Andersonville
Online: alittlephotostudio.com

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photo: Magnolia Bakery

Get those creative juices flowing: Magnolia's Bakery

Feeling the need for something sweet and creative? Bring mother in for a fun afternoon of learning how to decorate beautiful flower cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery. Not only will you take home six of your creations, but you'll also receive a starter cupcake icing kit to create more sweet magic at home.

May 12; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: $60
Magnolia Bakery
Block 37, 108 N. State St., The Loop
Purchase tickets online: magnoliabakery.com

photo: LEGOLAND Discover Center

To appease your inner builder: LEGOLAND Discovery Center

It’s a true story that moms like to build LEGOs almost as much as (in some cases more than) kids. So why not spend a bit of Mother’s Day immersed in a world of LEGOs?  LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago is celebrating all moms with free admission on Mother’s Day when moms are accompanied by a child. To add to the fun, the first 100 children to attend a flower building workshop will get a free flower build for their mom. 

May 13; 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago
601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg
Online: chicago.legolanddiscoverycenter.com

photo: Shore Club

Brunch with lakefront views: Shore Club

Pretend you've jetted off for a quick beach vacay with fabulous panoramic lake views at Shore Club's Mediterranean-inspired Mother's Day brunch. Families can choose from an array of breakfast items off the all-you-can-eat menu, including made-to-order omelets, salads, fruits and a selection of cheeses. For those with a sweet tooth, you'll find treats like fruity tarts, homemade donuts and crepes. A Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar will also be available for an additional $11.

May 13; Seatings at 10 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
Cost: $45/adults; $18/ages 12 & under; free for ages 5 & under
Shore Club
1603 N. Lakeshore Dr., Lincoln Park
Online: shoreclubchi.com

photo: Punch Bowl Social via Maria Chambers

Strike it big: Punch Bowl Social

Moms, their families and friends are invited to a decadent, all-you-can-eat Mother’s Day brunch at the West Loop’s newest family-fun spot. The buffet features an array of options, including brunch staples and a few of the diner's spin on spuds with its “Punch” Potatoes and creative Mini Alabama Sliders. Taco, omelet and salad stations provide a build-your-own option, while assorted cheesecakes satisfy the sweet tooth. Each mom receives a complimentary mimosa, perfect for sipping, and a Bloody Mary Bar is available for purchase.

Additionally, moms can bowl it out to win brunch! If she rolls a strike on the first try, her brunch entrée is on Punch Bowl Social! The fun doesn’t stop there! Families can team up to play games like giant Jenga, wall-sized scrabble, classic arcade games, corn hole, darts, or sing in the private karaoke rooms and try out the social VR experience.

May 13; 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Punch Bowl Social
310 N. Green St., West Loop
Online: punchbowlsocial.com

photo: Michael Jordan's Steak House

Brunch like MJ would: Michael Jordan's Steak House

Do it like Mike with a special Mother's Day brunch at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse. Diners will enjoy decadent dishes like a Homemade Belgium Waffle with fresh berries, housemade whip cream and maple syrup or Steak House Benedict with filet medallions, poached eggs, hollandaise and asparagus. Or, they can relish in a Petite Filet with trumpet royal mushrooms and lobster hollandaise. Hungry yet? Good. Mom is invited to sit back and relax while sipping on a signature cocktails or wine to wash down all of this sweet and savory goodness.

May 13; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Michael Jordan's Steak House
505 N. Michigan Ave.
Mag Mile
Online: mjshchicago.com

photo: Garfield Park Conservatory

Make it a colorful day: Garfield Park Conservatory

Got a flower-loving mom? She'll love the Spring Flower Show at Garfield Park Conservatory. The Show House is filled with a dizzying array of colors that will fill your view and blanket you with aromatic blooms. Take time to reflect and experience the wonder of nature at Garfield Park Conservatory, unfiltered, with this year's theme being Hashtag No Filter.

Now thru May 13, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free
Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave., Garfield Park
Online: garfieldconservatory.org

photo: Kinzie Hotel

For the single moms: Kinzie Hotel

The independent, Chicago-themed boutique Kinzie Hotel is making single moms and their kids feel special with a specially curated staycation.  The Single Mother's Day Picnic Package includes a number of exciting Chicago-centric activities, including a picnic in Millennium Park, a visit to the Chicago Children’s Museum and a night (or two or three) in one of Kinzie’s luxurious guest rooms overlooking our vibrant city.

In addition to their hotel stay, families receive the following: a cab ride to and from the world-famous Millennium Park; a picnic blanket and picnic basket that includes a Bluetooth speaker, deck of cards and lunch for up to four consisting of gourmet sandwiches, Garrett popcorn, Vitner’s chips, locally-made cookies, fruit, juice boxes and adult juice boxes (a.k.a. travel box wine); and a cab ride to and from Navy Pier, along with tickets for up to four to the renowned Chicago Children’s Museum.  The hotel stay also comes with complimentary appetizers and drinks in the evening and an extensive continental breakfast spread on each floor in the morning.

May 11, 12 or 13
Cost: $254+
Kinzie Hotel
20 N. Kinzie St., Near North Side
Online: kinziehotel.com

photo: Hilton Oak Brook Hills

Show your gratitude: The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills’ Mother’s Day Brunch

The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort is showing its gratitude to Moms by hosting an extravagant community event in their honor. Mothers will be feted at a jubilant brunch with a chef-driven brunch, a fashion show, kids activities and complimentary mimosas for the ladies.

May 13; seatings at 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $49.95/adults; $$19.95/ages 5-12; free for ages 4 & under
The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills
3500 Midwest Rd., Oakbrook
630-850-5555
Online: hilton.com
Reserve your space at eventbrite.com

photo: Susan G. Komen Chicago

Feel great about racing for a cure: Susan G. Komen

The annual Komen Mother's Day Race for the Cure has become a tradition, because 1 out of 8 women in the US will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. This family-fun event on Mother's Day simply makes the celebration more meaningful because participants are united for good cause.

May 13; 7:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m.
Cost: $40 on race day
601 W. Montrose Ave., Montrose Harbor
Register online: komenchicago.org

photo: Morton Arboretum

Dine amongst the blooms: The Morton Arboretum

You could spend your whole day (or week, even) at Morton Arboretum and never run out of fun things to see and do. For Mother's Day, they're serving up a classic buffet brunch and dinner in the Ginko Restaurant — think omelette, pasta and dessert stations, yummy!

May 13; seatings at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. (all times are sold out as of press time except for the 6 p.m.)
Cost: $59/adult, $34/ages 4-12; free for ages 3 & under
Morton Arboretum
4100 IL Rte 53, Lisle
Online: mortonarb.org

photo: The Kids' Table

DIY brunch: The Kids’ Table

Roll up your sleeves and make brunch with the family at The Kids' Table. What's on the morning's menu? Eggs Florentine Benedict, Breakfast Potatoes & Mixed Berries with Fresh Whipped Cream. Yum!

May 13; 10 a.m.-noon
The Kids' Table
2864 N. Lincoln Ave., Lakeview & 2337 W. North Ave., Wicker Park
Online: kids-table.com

photo: Lincoln Park Zoo

Brunch amongst the animals: Lincoln Park Zoo

Treat mom to something especially wild at Lincoln Park Zoo’s historic Cafe Brauer. Each seating will be for 2 hours and will feature live music, an incredible breakfast brunch buffet as well as coffee, juice and soft drinks. Mothers in attendance will receive one complimentary mimosa in celebration of the day.

May 13; Seatings at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Cafe Brauer, 2021 N. Stockton Dr., Lincoln Park
Online: lpzoo.org

photo: 360 CHICAGO

Have a Sunday funday: 360 CHICAGO

Sure, sleeping ’til noon on a Sunday is swell, but what’s even better is 360 CHICAGO’s Sunday Funday. Infuse a little excitement into your life by taking the family to the observation deck on the 94th floor for a little magic, a little music and a whole lot of amazing Chicago views.

May 13; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
875 N. Michigan Ave., Mag Mile
Online: 360chicago.com

For medieval fun: Medieval Times

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament has the chivalry, rivalry and revelry to make mom’s day fit for a queen! From May 1-May 13, moms are free with the purchase of one full-priced adult. For those who want to kick it up a notch, there is a $20 upgrade available and mom can enjoy a “Mom’s the Queen” sash, a well-deserved souvenir glass of champagne or mimosa and a framed photo. This is all fitting because Medieval Times’ newest show, which launched in November, now has a female sovereign as sole ruler of the realm, for the first time in the company’s 34-year history.

Note: Must mention or enter code MOM18 at time of purchase.

May 1-13; Tues., 11 a.m.; Wed.-Fri., 11 a.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 4:30 p.m.
Cost: Free for moms with adult ticket purchase; $61.95/adults, $36.95/ages 12 & under
2001 N. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg
Online: medievaltimes.com

photo: Okee Dokee Brothers

To give mom a break: Okee Dokee Brothers

A swell way to spend just a couple hours on Mother's Day for any mom is in complete silence. Lucky for her partner in parenting, Okee Dokee Brothers, are in town. As childhood friends growing up in Denver, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were always exploring the outdoors. Whether it was rafting down their neighborhood creek or discovering hiking trails through the Rocky Mountains, Joe and Justin were born adventurers. Now, as the GRAMMY® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, they have put this passion for the outdoors at the heart of their Americana Folk music. This show will include favorites like Can You Canoe and Thousand Star Hotel, as well as reveals from their upcoming winter-themed album.

May 13; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Cost: $12 ($15 at the door); free for ages 2 & under
Schuba's Lincoln Hall
2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park
Online: lh-st.com

Share your fun Mother’s Day ideas in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers