Family vacations are overrated. As we’ve read on our Forum, seen on social media, and heard from fellow parents, “Vacations are basically just taking the sh*t show on the road.” With little kids, they’re anything but relaxing. So with spring break in the rear view and summer “vacations” still a ways off, it’s time to plan the next-best thing: a daycation, all to yourself. Here’s how.
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Mark your calendar
You know how people say that the hardest part about exercising is getting to the gym, or even getting out the door? Same goes for a self-prescribed holiday: the hardest part is making the mental commitment to do so. If you’re the type who uses a calendar, go ahead and block it out as you would a true vacation day or mental health day. I recommend blocking a Friday, so you can treat yourself to a three-day weekend instead of having to hop back into reality post-daycation. Block the full day — don’t wimp out and just book the morning. I’m talkin’ 9AM to 5PM. Better yet, block 8AM to 6PM. If you can get out of dropping off and picking up the kids on this day, do it. That saying “It takes a village” applies to solo daycations, too. No guilt allowed.
Allow yourself to daydream
Now that you’ve got a day off to look forward to, it’s time to think about what you would truly enjoy to do with your day. (Imagine that!) Try not to default to a combination of forced “relaxation” and obligatory busywork, e.g., eating half a gummy and washing your delicates. Newsflash: That’s not a vacation, parents. That’s a Saturday night.
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Think bigger: What does your ideal (solo) vacation look like? Can it be loosely replicated in the city of Chicago in a single day? Unfortunately, we don’t have any private islands within our city limits. But we do have a lot of wonderful ways to play hooky.
While I can’t pretend to know what your daycation fantasy is, I can share mine (a full day at the Langham complete with lap swimming, lobster rolls, and literally any of these treatments), and hopefully inspire some well-earned daydreaming.
For instance, if you love nothing more than pretending to read a paperback novel while dozing off poolside, this can be achieved. So can a truly luxe spa day, a gorgeous day spent hiking in nature, a decadent brunch followed by hours of bookstore browsing, an unexpected day-trip to another city, or even a deep meditation session.
Make it happen
If you have an agenda in mind but are struggling with execution, check out the list below for some ideas. Then, book it and start the count-down. Anticipation is half the fun. Enjoy!
$: King Spa & Sauna in Niles
$$: Aire Ancient Baths in West Town
$$$: Kohler Waters Spa in Lincoln Park
$$$$: Chuan Spa at The Langham in River North
FREE: Portage Park Pool
$: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
$: East Bank Club
$$: The Peninsula Hotel
Forest Bathing & Nature Days
FREE: Calumet Woods in Riverdale
FREE: Forest Glen Woods in Forest Glen
FREE: LaBagh Woods in North Park
$: Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe
$: Morton Arboretum in Lisle
Wilmington, IL — 75 minutes
Michigan City, IN — 75 minutes
Milwaukee — 90 minutes
Harbor Country, MI — 90 minutes
Lake Geneva — 90 minutes