Make new discoveries this summer. It’s easy! Several new family hotspots have opened in the last month, which means adventure after adventure. Read on for the scoop on everything from a new bowling/arcade paradise to a mini golf green in the heart of downtown.
photo: For The Win / Anthony Tahlier
For Arcade Games, Mini Golf & More: FOR THE WIN
A super-sized indoor amusement center is just what Chicago families need in cabin fever-filled winter. But For the Win (or, simply, “FTW”) is so electrifying that it should also be your new summer go-to. The 20,000-square-foot arcade (from the same folks who opened Lucky Strike bowling) features 130 games, a six-hole miniature golf course and a menu with both kid- and adult-friendly choices (including tons of craft beers and cocktails). By day, it’s a family venue, but take note that after 8 p.m. it’s recommended for adults only.
First, you gotta love the games: They range from carnival classics to newfangled wonders, and you can rack points onto your card to redeem for prizes. Tots will dig the diversions you grew up with, like Down the Clown and Go Fishing. Additionally, For the Win will be the first to unveil SEGA’s latest attraction, a four-car demolition derby race. The mini golf is a whole other fantastic story; it’s custom designed to replicate some of Chicago’s historic landmarks, including Wrigley Field’s ivy walls and a mural interpretation of a Lichtenstein piece at The Art Institute. When you’re hungry, they actually bring the food to you via an “Americanized dim sum” cart stocked with Mini Sloppy Joes, Fried Green Tomato BLTs and Rock Shrimp Tacos. You can also dig into a full menu in the lounge. We say: WIN!
322 E. Illinois St.
photo: Kids’ Table Lakeview / Eva Ho Photography
For Cooking Classes: KIDS’ TABLE LAKEVIEW
Since 2007, The Kids’ Table has been showing families and kids ages 2-16 how to cook healthfully — and have fun along the way. Building on the success of her Wicker Park location, owner Elena Marre just opened a second location in Lakeview. With the new space, she’s adding a delicious new series to the mix. The Kids’ Table International Series of Family Cooking Classes focuses on various cultural cuisines including Chinese, French, Italian, Mexican and Polish. This will be in addition to the other fun and new family events being offered this summer, like Sundae Fundaes and Make & Take Meatless Mondays.
The new 1,500-square-foot location has a separate retail area and clean contemporary feel, due in part to an overhead garage door that divides the room to accommodate simultaneous programs. It also has the capacity to host larger parties of up to 30 kids.
2864 N. Lincoln Ave.
photo: Graeter’s Ice Cream
For Cool Treats: GRAETER’S ICE CREAM
Maybe you’ve bought a tub of this brand’s ice cream at Jewel-Osco. But now the grocery store isn’t your only option for enjoying the sweet, cool stuff. It’s recently opened a storefront in Northbook, where you can order your favorite scoop or grab an ice cream soda, shake, malt, smoothie or sundae. The company’s been around since 1870 (!) and has a unique way of making ice cream that accounts for its creaminess: The “French pot” method consists of pouring liquid ice cream and liquid chocolate into a chilled spinning pot.
Our favorite flavors are black cherry chocolate chip, Elena’s blueberry pie and original salted caramel. That’s in addition to several gelato and sorbet choices, and low glycemic versions of chocolate chip and Madagascar vanilla bean. Mmmmm.
1347 Shermer Rd.
photo: Maggie Daley Park / Matt Kirouac
For Mini Golf: THE “RIBBON” AT MAGGIE DALEY PARK
Imagine putting a golf ball into a basketball hoop. Swoosh! That’s only part of the fun at this summer addition to Maggie Daley Park. The 18-hole mini golf course is set up along what was known as the “skating ribbon” this past winter. For $10 a person, you can play this temporary course with mild to moderate challenges, ranging from zig-zags to soft slopes to the basketball hoop.
The course is operated by City Mini Golf, which you may recognize for their pop-up golf turfs at schoolyards citywide. This hot new downtown course is great for taking in skyline views — and burning off energy on the massive playground afterward.
337 E. Randolph St.
For Sweets, Sweets & More Sweets: CANDYALITY
You’ve probably already developed a candy crush on this shop’s Southport Corridor and downtown locations. So good news: They’ve just opened yet another spot in Andersonville — and it promises the same fun, spirit and sweetness. Dip into a tempting glass container for a choice of treats both new and nostalgic. Think gummy fish, blue raspberry belts, Chick O Sticks, Red Hots and just about everything in between. The owner, Terese McDonald, finds delight in telling you about your “candy personality” based on what you pick out.
The Andersonville location has something the other’s don’t in honor of this neighborhood’s Swedish history. It’s a licorice bar that gives you the tough choice between ropes, wheels and other chewy delights. Don’t think too hard, though — there’s candy to be enjoyed!
5225 N. Clark St.
What’s your favorite new spot to take the kids to? Shout about it in the Comments below!
— Kelly Aiglon