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  1. NPN Tareema

    NPN Playdate: STEAM Sunday at Bennett

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    NPN Playdates are back! Join us for STEAM Sunday at Bennett Day School. There will be fun STEAM activities for kids and light snacks. Parents, grab a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy as your kids experience some fun activities! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! Bennett Day School 955 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
  2. NPN Jana

    Family Fun Fair

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    Join Camp Lakeshore for our Family Fun Fair! An afternoon of fun - from slime making, bounce houses, inflatable slides, face painting, carnival games, food & drinks, and more! Members of Lakeshore SF and non-members welcome! Free parking available! RSVP required. Please email Membership@LakeshoreSF.com to register. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: SaraN@lakeshoresf.com
  3. I moved to Andersonville shortly before my oldest child was born. My husband and I were previously living in a one-bedroom condo in Bucktown, and we knew we wanted to start a family. Andersonville was appealing because of the easy access to the lake and parks, quiet streets with lots of trees, historic architecture, low crime, a diverse community and walkability to many shops and restaurants. Housing can be expensive in Andersonville, especially now. The single-family homes in the Lakewood/Balmoral historic district usually run over a million. However, for those open to condo living, there are plenty of options in the neighborhood. Andersonville feels like a small town within a big city. There are a lot of young families in the neighborhood. Many of the businesses along Clark Street have been around for many years, and there are less chains compared to other neighborhoods (let’s hope it stays that way!). People say hello or good morning when passing by on the sidewalk. Andersonville is known for its Swedish heritage, but nowadays Andersonville is celebrated for its acceptance of LGBTQ families, the Hispanic/Latinx community, and the Asian and African communities in neighboring Uptown and Edgewater. After five years, we are now a family of four. I am so grateful we decided to start a family in Andersonville. Here’s why. Parks The most prominent park in the area is the lakeshore. Most families congregate on Foster Beach on hot summer days or take bike rides along the bike path. There are many playgrounds in the area and each one is special in its own way. [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Logan Square] Schools The local neighborhood primary school serving most Andersonville families is Peirce School of International Studies, which is an authorized International Baccalaureate World School. The local high school, Nicholas Senn High School, is also an IB school. For families interested in private education, there are many options to choose from: Rogers Park Montessori School, Chicago Waldorf School, Chicago Friends School, St. Thomas of Canterbury School, Northside Catholic Academy and Sacred Heart Schools are all located in the area. Diversity The racial makeup of Andersonville is predominately white. There is also a sizable Hispanic/Latinx community, and the local public schools are very diverse. The Andersonville business community is supportive of social justice issues and the local public schools. Restaurants & Sweets Andersonville is not known for fine dining or cutting-edge restaurants but there are some good options, especially for kids. The Israeli restaurant Fiya has a large indoor and outdoor space and offers something for children and adults. My kids love their Challah French Toast. Parson’s Chicken and Fish recently opened a location on Clark Street with a very large patio. Calo Ristorante is an Andersonville institution and serves solid Italian American cuisine. A summertime favorite is George’s Ice Cream & Sweets. Our family likes to go late in the afternoon and then take our ice cream to the Andersonville Playlot around the corner on Ashland and Farragut. For amazing birthday cakes and Mexican bakery goods head to LaBaguette Panaderia. For grocery shopping, there is a Jewel Osco on Clark and Bryn Mawr and across the street is Edgewater Produce, which provides fresh and affordable produce and Mexican staples. [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Old Irving Park] Arts, Culture, & Other Fun Stuff The feminist bookstore, Women & Children First, has been in Andersonville since 1990. It has a large selection of children’s books and pre-COVID, they hosted a story time every Wednesday morning. The Swedish American Museum on Clark Street contains a Children’s Museum of Immigration (currently closed due to COVID-19). To celebrate Andersonville’s Swedish roots, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce hosts a Midsommarfest in mid-June. There's also a family pride parade in June, as well. I always felt that Andersonville was the perfect mix of city living in a family-friendly environment. From toddlers to hipsters to the LGBTQ community to Black Lives Matter supporters, everyone has a place in Andersonville.
  4. NPN Jana

    STEM Adventures

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    Join Kiddie Academy for STEM Adventures! You and your children can participate in activities that show how we make learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fun, relevant and exciting! This event is FREE and open to everyone, so bring a friend or two. Parking is available in lot in front of building. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: jackie.sheahan@kiddieacademy.net
  5. NPN Jana

    Community Baby Moon

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    Join us at Northcenter Town Square for a free community celebration to connect new and expectant parent with meaningful community resources, and allow for outdoor fun through dance, story time, crafts, balloons, raffle and community. We are accepting diaper donations at the event which takes new and open packages of diapers. Neighborhood parking on Lincoln Avenue and Damen Avenue This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: Ariel@Birthcenterofchicago.com
  6. When I bought my first home in Logan Square back in 2005, the neighborhood was more edgy than hip. I found an old fixer-upper I could afford, crowdsourced a roommate on Craigslist, and called it a day. I was 27, single, and could not tell you the name of the school down the street. A decade later, with a husband and new baby in tow, my starter home on a busy street wasn’t ideal. Still, we knew we wanted to stay in leafy, low-key Logan Square. Our neighbors, mostly in their 60s, were moving to make way for younger families, and the neighborhood schools were growing as a result. Restaurants and retail were popping up like crazy, but the wide boulevards and squares kept the ’hood from feeling crowded. We saw the writing on the wall: If we didn’t upgrade within Logan ASAP, we’d get priced out by the time our daughter was in kindergarten. [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Sauganash] In the end, we landed within walking distance of our first-choice school and our favorite restaurant, and found an incredible daycare up the block. As much as Logan Square has changed since my 20s, I’ve changed with it — and can’t imagine raising my daughter anywhere else. Here’s why. Parks With two separate playgrounds, Unity Park is great for toddlers and big kids alike. There’s a splash pad there, too, plus a big grassy area for lounging. Palmer Square has only a few little climbing sculptures, but it’s massive and features a half-mile track, great for beginning bike riders. Haas Park has a pristine soccer pitch and playground, and tiny Grape Park is, well, tiny! Just a short drive south is Humboldt Park, second only to Lincoln Park in size and beauty. Schools We’re a Brentano family, and love its Cinderella story: It survived the chopping block of mass school closures in 2013 thanks to the community’s involvement to help it grow. Darwin and Goethe are also good elementary schools in the neighborhood, while St. John Berchmans is a popular parochial school. Walkability Thanks to its wide, shady boulevards, Logan Square is incredibly walkable and stroller-friendly. It’s a large neighborhood with lots of little pockets, which means quiet residential streets far outnumber the noisier ones. The main “square” surrounding Centennial Monument and the Blue Line station is on deck for a major pedestrian-friendly redesign, and traffic-calming measures are implemented along the boulevard during the summer months. [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Old Irving Park] Diversity Though gentrified portions of Logan Square have caught a lot of flack from the Latinx community that’s dominated the neighborhood for the past generation, many newer residents have added to its diversity. In recent years, Centennial Monument has become a hub for all walks of community groups to make their voices heard to the Mayor, who lives a few blocks west. Restaurants & Sweets Lula Cafe, one of the country’s o.g. farm-to-table spots, is still serving the community 20 years in, and yes, it has a colorable kids’ menu. For treats, Pretty Cool Ice Cream, Black Dog Gelato, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are open year-round, while Miko’s Italian Ice and The Freeze are popular summer spots. For pizza, we favor Dante’s for slices and Paulie Gee’s for pies; Parson’s Chicken & Fish on the Humboldt border is great for brunch and dinner. Unfortunately, there isn’t a centrally located grocery store, so we shop around: Cermak Fresh Market on the west side for produce and pantry staples, Fresh Market Place on the east side for incredible meats, and Dill Pickle in the heart of the ’hood for staples and specialties. Arts, Culture & Other Fun Stuff Our family loves the handful of street fests that take over MIlwaukee Avenue during the warmer months, and the farmers’ market on the boulevard is one of the biggest in the city. During the summer, there’s almost always some kind of band performing at the monument, and the nonprofit–led Comfort Station across the square hosts everything from record swaps to avant-garde jazz and book fairs. The local library is pretty fantastic, and there's an incredible Halloween Parade down the boulevard every year. For all of the ways that Logan Square has changed over the past several decades, it feels like it's just becoming more and more family-friendly.
  7. NPN Tareema

    Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons with NPN

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    Join NPN program manager, Tareema, and other NPN members at the Cradle to Crayons Giving Factory. We will help sort and organize donations in the Cradles to Crayons warehouse. Each adult may bring one child. If you are bringing a child, register for 1 adult and 1 child. Children must be at least 5 years old. Registration is a 2-step process. You must complete both steps to secure your spot. 1. RSVP with NPN. You will immediately receive an event confirmation email from NPN. 2. Complete the Cradles to Crayons registration link included in your NPN event confirmation email. Cradles to Crayons is located at 4141 W. George St., Chicago, IL 60641. There are 33 parking spaces in front of the building that are first come first serve. There is also street parking. Please do not drive past the concrete barriers that separate the shipping and receiving area of the building. All adults and children must wear a mask over their nose and mouth. (Volunteers must wear the mask provided by Cradle to Crayons for the duration of their shift) Spaces are limited. Please honor your RSVP. RSVP no later than January 12th, 2022! Postpone your RSVP only if the following apply: - Diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not yet been cleared as non-contagious by state or local public health authorities. - Exposed to a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. - Experiencing symptoms of illness such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Questions? Contact Tareema at tareema@npnparents.org
  8. NPN Tareema

    Volunteer at Cradles to Crayons with NPN

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    Join NPN program manager, Tareema, and other NPN members at the Cradle to Crayons Giving Factory. We will help sort and organize donations in the Cradles to Crayons warehouse. Each adult may bring one child. If you are bringing a child, register for 1 adult and 1 child. Children must be at least 5 years old. Registration is a 2-step process. You must complete both steps to secure your spot. 1. RSVP with NPN. You will immediately receive an event confirmation email from NPN. 2. Complete the Cradles to Crayons registration link included in your NPN event confirmation email. Cradles to Crayons is located at 4141 W. George St., Chicago, IL 60641. There are 33 parking spaces in front of the building that are first come first serve. There is also street parking. Please do not drive past the concrete barriers that separate the shipping and receiving area of the building. All adults and children must wear a mask over their nose and mouth. (Volunteers must wear the mask provided by Cradle to Crayons for the duration of their shift) Spaces are limited. Please honor your RSVP. RVSP no later than January 1st, 2022! Postpone your RSVP only if the following apply: - Diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not yet been cleared as non-contagious by state or local public health authorities. - Exposed to a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days. - Experiencing symptoms of illness such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Questions? Contact Tareema at tareema@npnparents.org
  9. “A season of shivers” is the prediction from the Old Farmer’s Almanac. In Chicago we’ve been bracing ourselves. These are some of the winter traditions that our family looks forward to, as we countdown to warmer times. 10. Bundle Up And Get Outside – What else can you do? Build a custom snowman and challenge each other to a (gentle) snowball fight Project a (short!) holiday movie outside Go sledding on the nearest hill 9. Enjoy Decorations Galore – A little magic is essential Pick out a tree to decorate together Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo's festive ZooLights Take a pajama car tour of the decorations downtown 8. Reach Out to Friends – Remember who’s important Send paper cards with handwritten messages Plan holiday socials (recently held outdoors or virtually) Facetime or Zoom with family far away [Related: How to survive a Chicago winter with kids] 7. Undertake A Giving Project – Truly embrace the meaning of the season Deliver food in person Make bedazzled cards with heartfelt messages Fulfill holiday wishes 6. Make And Eat Special Foods – Enjoy the delicious Bake family cookie and shortbread recipes Create a (truly unique!) gingerbread house Indulge in a home hot chocolate bar (with current favorite: unicorn poop marshmallows!) 5. Meld Our Cultures – …while exploring others Invite our American Elf on the Shelf to come out on December 1st Pull English crackers to reveal paper hats and silly jokes Recognize and learn about other cultural holidays through crafts and stories 4. Respect Family Traditions – Take the best of the past Play together as a family, raiding the games closet Lay an extra place setting on feast days, to welcome unexpected guests Walk off over-eating on Boxing Day (December 26th) and be at one with nature 3. Connect With Santa — Socially distant, of course Send a letter to Santa (one that generates a return!) Wave to the CTA Holiday Train Enjoy a meet-and-greet with Mr. Claus (most recently virtually, with fabulous video recording) [Related: Holiday activities in Chicago for special-needs kids] 2. Cozy Up Inside — Embrace hygge season Watch any version of The Grinch during movie nights with homemade popcorn (on repeat!) Gorge ourselves on s’mores around the fireplace Visit the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry's holiday exhibit, or a family-friendly installation — all warm and indoors! 1. Welcome The New Year — Celebrate a fresh start Make our own party poppers (with toilet rolls, balloons and confetti) Take in the London fireworks live (conveniently at 6 p.m. CST) Create New Year Intentions collages to pin up and refer to during the year ahead Despite the bitter temperatures, there are plenty of activities to do during a Chicago winter. By the time of the first snow fall, our family is ready for our annual winter activities. Over the years we’ve come to realize that you just need to embrace the change of season, not resist it!
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    Join Snapology for the holidays at Ambassador Chicago! In this workshop, students will immerse themselves in the city of Whoville and the story of the Grinch! They will design machines to help the Grinch with his sneaky mission to ruin Christmas, build the city of Whoville, and create sleds to get from the top of Mt. Crumpit down to the city of Whoville! No matter what the Grinch says, it’s going to be a blast! And parents don't worry. While you are out enjoying your dinner away from the kids they will get to enjoy and nice meal provided by Ambassador Chicago of Chicken Tenders or Grilled Cheese. And because it's the Holidays, Santa may leave a small gift behind for all the kiddos! This costs $36 per child and RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Street and valet parking available. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: chicago@snapology.com
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    Come enjoy Greektown’s annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony at Elysian Field (southeast corner of Halsted & Van Buren Streets) As the tree is illuminated, students from Chicagoland Greek schools will sing traditional Greek Christmas carols (kalanta) and additional Greek and American holiday tunes will be played by DJ Yianni. The holiday tree-lighting event is sponsored by Greektown SSA #16 with additional support from the Greektown Chamber of Commerce and nonprofit Chicago Greektown Educational Foundation. Complimentary treats included! This is a free event. Advanced registration required. Please go here to register. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: nicole@silvermangroupchicago.com
  12. NPN Jana

    Hyde Park Holly-Day

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    Hyde Park Holly-Day is back for 2021! We've planned some great (FREE!) outdoor activities for you to enjoy in Hyde Park from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (indoor activities canceled due to COVID-19). Activities: ICE CARVING DEMONSTRATION 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | Harper Court Watch an ice artist carve a sculpture right before your eyes and enjoy a free hot chocolate sample from Stan’s Donuts ICE SCULPTURE STROLL All Day | 53rd Street from S. Lake Park Avenue to S. Woodlawn Avenue Find all 12 ice sculptures – take a photo/video and tag us at #hphollyday LIVE REINDEER – FREE FAMILY PHOTO - BUDDY THE ELF 2-4 p.m. | Hyde Park Shopping Center Courtyard Meet two live reindeer, get a free family photo, and hang out with Buddy the Elf HYDE PARK HOLLY-DAY AUGMENTED REALITY PHOTO Can’t be here in person? Take a fun photo, video, or boomerang at hphollyday.com/arphoto For event details go to hphollyday.com Interactive Hyde Park online map and app – welcometohydepark.com Street parking, paid parking at Harper Court, free parking at Hyde Park Shopping Center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: acsrodon@uchicago.edu
  13. Three-bedroom new-ish house with a yard on a quiet street in a diverse area, within walking distance of a good CPS neighborhood school, close to an El stop, with parks and restaurants nearby. These were our requirements when my husband and I were looking to move out of our cramped two-bedroom condo in Edgewater with our then 2-year-old son back in 2015. A tall order, for sure. But Old Irving Park, a small neighborhood straddling 90/94 on the Northwest Side, delivered on all points — and then some. "It's a little bit of suburbia in the city," I often say to people unfamiliar with Old Irving. Houses with decent-size backyards can often be found for less than $1 million; the community is tight knit (I'm a member of the Old Irving Park Association and the Irving Park Garden Club); my son's school, Belding Elementary, is a 2-block walk from our house and nearly all the kids on our block go there; and we know our neighbors — especially the many parents of kids my sons' ages. Here are a few of our favorite family spots in and around OIP: [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Sauganash] Parks Our go-tos are Mayfair Park (cute water feature in the summer), Independence Park (giant slides, climbing structures, and a zip line), playgrounds at Belding Elementary and Disney II , LaBagh Woods (wide open grassy areas, the southern start of the North Branch Trail, toddler-friendly hiking trails along the Chicago River), Portage Park (great pool with kids' spray park, big playground), and Gompers Park (fun playground and a perfect hill for sledding). Yeah…we go to a lot of parks! Schools We're partial to Belding, of course, but there are plenty of other top-notch schools nearby, including St. Edward Catholic School, Disney II Magnet School, St. Viator Catholic School, and lots of great daycares. Diversity Our kids interact with other children from different countries, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds every single day. Belding is majority minority, more than 25 languages are spoken there, and my son is learning both Arabic and Spanish. Restaurants One drawback to living in Old Irving is its lack of retail density. Coming from Edgewater, where you could quickly walk to countless restaurants and bars, a Whole Foods, and independent shops, it was a bit of an adjustment to have to drive to pick up groceries or shop for clothes and gifts. That said, a number of great spots have opened in the past few years that are family-friendly and have great food (a rare combo!). [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Buena Park] We love Backlot Coffee for donuts, Eris Brewery and Cider House for its big outdoor patio, Community Tavern for its generous and delicious kids' meals (kids eat free Tuesday–Thursday and Sunday — score!), Old Irving Brewing for its cornhole area where kids can burn off energy (or just hoard beanbags like my kids do), and Easy Street Pizza for its delicious pizza and enclosed patio. Other fun stuff The beautiful, light-filled Independence Library is a great way to spend a couple hours — we can't wait for the wood toys in the kids' corner and child programming to come back. The Irving Park YMCA ties the community together with social events, affordable summer camp, swim and sports lessons, and a kids' club where little ones can play while parents work out. Chicago Costume is just a few blocks from our house — the place is bananas and a fun stop even when it's not Halloween. Old Irving Park does more than check all our boxes — it's the first neighborhood we've lived in that really felt like home. When so many families seem to be moving to the suburbs, we continue to be thankful for our city/suburb hybrid 'hood.
  14. NPN Jana

    Soccer Fright Fest

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    West Loop Soccer Club invites children born 2015-2008 to join us for a Soccer Fright Fest on Sunday 10/31 at Skinner Park in the West Loop neighborhood. This is a beginner friendly event in which kids will take part in friendly scrimmages against their peers. Halloween Costumes are welcome! Advanced registration required. Please email info@westloopsoccerclub.com to register. Cost is $20 / child. Free parking on both Adams and Monroe streets. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: info@westloopsoccerclub.com
  15. When my husband and I decided we needed to stretch out a bit more than our then 1-bedroom condo would allow, we cast a wide net into Chicago’s neighborhoods, but our criteria was firm: close to the lake, strong residential feel, and good walkability. We stumbled upon a townhome close to the lakefront that had some architecturally cool features, was priced right, and had room for us to tackle some renovation work and add some equity to the home. Still relatively new to Chicago, we didn’t mind that the home was located in a neighborhood we were not very familiar with — Buena Park — and instead we focused on the investment opportunity and work we could put into the home. What started as a this-looks-good-on-paper purchase turned out to be a great decision for us. We fell in love with the blocks surrounding our home, the neighbors we became closest to, the local businesses that kept popping up, and the amazing access to the lakefront. I could go on and on about Buena Park, but there are a few key highlights that I mention often to my clients who are considering purchasing in the neighborhood: Walkability Buena Park is a small, primarily residential neighborhood that borders Lake Michigan. It seems like every street has sidewalks and mature trees, and there is a pedestrian path under Lake Shore Drive that provides easy access to the bike path, Montrose Harbor, and Marovitz Golf Course. Many don’t know one of the absolute GEMS of the city, architecture- and history-wise, is the enclave of beautiful homes and estates that reside on huge lots right off of Marine Drive — a perfect backdrop for a walk around the 'hood. [Related: Family neighborhood guide to Sauganash] Parks Buena Park may be small, but its park game is mighty. Buena Park Circle, Peace Circle (tranquility and waterfall!), Challenger Park and even Challenger Dog Park are all sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. And of course, immediate access to the lakefront trail, Montrose Harbor and beach, Montrose Lakefront Track, Montrose Point bird sanctuary (an amazingly peaceful spot) and Cricket Hill. Education Park View Montessori is a cheerful spot for pre-k kids, and Walt Disney Magnet is not only extremely popular for families in the neighborhood, but a sought-after school city-wide. Eating & Shopping For a relatively small neighborhood, Buena Park has a great selection of local dine- in or take-out spots along Montrose and Broadway. There are multiple grocery options, and a Target nearby that makes errands quick and easy. Plus, if you are looking for more action, Lakeview is so close you have the best of both worlds — additional restaurant and boutique options are hopping just minutes away, but you get to go back home to your quiet, residential street. [Related: 7 places in Hyde Park to explore with your family] Prices Compared to other neighborhoods south along the lakefront or west of downtown, Buena Park real estate can be very reasonably priced. For an extra 5-10 minutes north on Lake Shore Drive, you can maximize your purchase power with a lot more space and amazing access to Lake Michigan. Our family has doubled since we bought our beloved Buena Park townhouse and we had to move on to our next chapter, but I’ll always have a nostalgic love for the neighborhood. It’s one of those communities I never get sick of talking about…and I just may have recruited a buyer or two who has now planted roots in this Chicago gem!
  16. NPN Jana

    Dia De Los Muertos

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    New social club Guild Row (located in the Avondale neighborhood) will host a celebration for Dia de Los Muertos in collaboration with Latinx-owned Plant Stand Collective. Activities include sugar skull decorating for kids and adults, the unveiling of a handmade community Ofrenda and candlelit commemorative procession, and an on-site pig roast. The event will culminate in a communal feast with the aforementioned pig, as well as sausage, chicken, salsas, “sweet treats” from Churro Parlor, and cocktails! Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for attendees ages 12 and older. Advanced registration is required. Please go here to register. Cost starts at $10/per person. Free street on Belmont Avenue and on Rockwell Street between Belmont Avenue and Elston. Additional parking in the neighborhood on Fletcher Street. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: reservations@guildrow.co
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    Attend a free sneak preview screening for the new CINDERELLA movie at the ShowPlace ICON Roosevelt Collection, starring Camila Cabello! Dress in the spirit of the film to walk the red carpet! Prizes and photo opportunities! RSVP Required. Please go here to register. Capacity is limited. First come first served Parking lot attached to the theatre. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: AmazonStudiosChicago@gmail.com.
  18. NPN Jana

    Illinois Walk for Wishes

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    Walk For Wishes is a nationwide Make-A-Wish® fundraiser that celebrates the more than 330,000 wishes that have already been granted, while raising funds for future wishes. It's a free family-friendly event powered by wish families, volunteers, companies, donors and friends. By participating in your local walk at one of the Illinois locations, you can help bring the life-changing impact of a wish to children in your community who are battling critical illnesses. This is a free event, with fundraising within community encouraged. RSVP Required. Please go here to register. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: walk@illinois.wish.org
  19. NPN Jana

    Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest

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    The popular Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) returns in-person to Rogers Park for its 20th year, bringing more than 120 artists and over 30 live music acts on two stages to the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, steps from the Morse Red Line ‘L’ stop at 6900-7000 N. Glenwood Avenue and 1300-1500 W. Morse Avenue. Admission is free to the public. The Fest includes an art fair, live music, kids’ artmaking activities, three craft beer stations, food from local restaurants, and live demonstrations of performance art and artmaking. The festival will kick off with a Friday Night Cobblestone Jam (music only), Friday August 20, 6-10 p.m. headlined by Joana Connor and Air Credits. Live music continues on Saturday, headlined by White Mystery, and Tamaris T. & Thee Elektra Kumpany, and on Sunday, headlined by Plastic Crimewave Syndicate, and Funkadesi. Other confirmed bands are Amazing Heeby Jeebies, Beats y Bateria, Bev Rage & the Drinks, Bianca Shaw, Bones Jugs, Cass Cwik, Clickbait, Coyote Man, Duke Davenport, Monarchy Over Monday, Osmium House, Ovef Ow, Son Monarcas, Sonic Octopus, The Polkaholics, Tierra Roja, Tinkerbelles, Tommy Carroll, and Wild Earp. The Outdoor Art Fair will run on Saturday, August 21 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, August 22 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., presenting a diverse selection of over 120 artists and craftworkers, including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass, textile, metal, mixed media and functional art. Each booth displays hand-made work by the artist, giving attendees a unique opportunity to purchase original artwork directly from the artist. Mass-produced merchandise is not permitted. The festival will feature a KidFest Area, with free hands-on arts activities for kids provided by the International Arts Group, sponsored by Morse Fresh Market. The festival will host two craft beer stations, one by the West Stage featuring Empirical Brewery, and the other by the East Stage featuring Sketchbook Brewery. Rogers Park Social will be hosting a beer station in front of its location at 6920 N. Glenwood Ave. Food vendors include Badou Senegalese Cuisine, Black Dog Gelato, JB Albertos Pizza, Smack Dab, Taqueria Dona Balbis, and Urban Tables. There will be a live art demonstration area called Outrageous Open Arts, featuring performance arts and artists demonstrating techniques and works-in-progress at Lunt and Glenwood Avenues, beneath the CTA tracks, sponsored by Code Create Art and Science. Saturday programming include: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., enamel arts demo by Leslie Perrino; 2-4 p.m., music performance by Heritage Jazz Orchestra, a 16 piece jazz big band sponsored by Le Piano, which also offers live music indoors every evening of the festival; 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m., art demo by Ewa Clark from Whimsical Creations, enamel arts demo by Kathryn Kiel, and European swordplay by Chicago Swordplay Guild. Sunday programming include: 11 am-1:30 p.m., poetry by Chicago Labor & Art Collective; 2 - 5 p.m., “Traverse, An Animatronic Puppet Show & Workshop” by Code Create Art and Science; 5:30 - 7 p.m., art demo by Ewa Clark from Whimsical Creations. To insure public safety, the festival will comply with COVID-19 guidelines applicable. Specific safety protocols will be announced prior to the festival, based on the most current public health guidelines. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: alannah@silvermangroupchicago.com
  20. This is the first in a series of articles exploring family-friendly neighborhoods in Chicago. I’m a big planner. I like to be prepared, anticipate what’s coming next, and have a plan. So imagine my surprise (at myself) when bambino #2 arrived and we found ourselves in a townhouse that did not include a bedroom for the new little man in our life. Whoops! And then…global pandemic. No school. No childcare. Walls felt like they were closing in on us, we were craving more outdoor space, and absolutely needing more office space. And of course, more bedrooms. Aaaand a 2-car garage, and…the list was getting longer and I was becoming increasingly uncompromising in what I wanted. I had been looking casually for over a year. The planner in me envisioned our family in Lincoln Park, Old Town, or Bucktown. We also considered the North Shore. But all were either out of our budget, too far from the city, or didn’t have the space we were looking for. [Related: 7 places in Hyde Park to explore with your family] During the initial quarantine days, we drove over to the LaBagh Woods forest preserve to get some fresh air, and after walking through the amazingly secluded-feeling trails, spotting several deer, and waving at friendly kayakers, we stepped out of the woods onto Bryn Mawr Avenue and were immediately greeted by a family playing in their yard. As a realtor, I had been in Sauganash with clients before, but that day I felt like I had rediscovered the neighborhood: people gardening in their yards, kids riding bikes on the sidewalks, grandparents pushing strollers, and couples walking dogs. It just felt like home. We struck up a conversation with this family about how their kids knew all the other kids on the block and how generations of families plant their roots in the community. I remember looking at my husband and saying: Do we want to live here? Three months later we had closed on our new home, and it has made our lives so, so much easier. We now have plenty of bedrooms, two offices, multiple living spaces, a yard and a garage — hallelujah! Our family has absolutely fallen in love with Sauganash for so many reasons, but the ones that stick out the most are: The sense of community Sauganash feels like a village. Multiple generations populate each street, and you can run into someone who has lived in the neighborhood for 30+ years just as easily as you can meet a new young family. I’ve yet to encounter someone who doesn’t say hello, and I’ve met dozens of people just by walking around the neighborhood. Parents know all the kids up and down their street, and when someone new moves in, it’s not uncommon for neighbors to drop off welcoming goodies to their front door. Just yesterday I saw a sign in the window of a home that read: “Children, bikes and dogs are welcome on this lawn!” It truly doesn’t get any better. [Related: 3 reasons I'm happy my kids aren't growing up in the suburbs like I did] The architecture From 1920s Tudors to mid-century ranches to French revivals to Cape Cods and even new construction, Sauganash is anything but cookie-cutter. The Sauganash Community Association prides itself in being a resource for renovation and construction, encouraging property owners to embrace different architectural styles. The location This was a huge consideration for me. As someone who lived near the lakefront for over a decade, I never thought I could let that go. But living by the forest preserves means we have access to trails and nature, so jogging, biking and unicorn hunting is covered. And Sauganash’s proximity to I-94 means you can get downtown in 15 minutes or less (my husband and I can get to the West Loop for dinner in 12 minutes!), get to O’Hare in about 15 minutes, and easily bounce around the greater Chicago area. The value There is such a wide variety of homes in Sauganash, there truly is something for every price point. While the inventory does tend to get snatched up quickly (which is why you need a well-connected real estate agent…hiiii!), if you act quickly, you can find fixer-uppers in the $300s and more updated homes starting in the $600-$700s. For the square footage, you can easily double your purchase power for a home here compared to neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Old Town and Bucktown. The schools There are excellent pre-k schools in and around the neighborhood. Sauganash Elementary is a highly rated (Level 1+) K-8 school that soon will have a brand new addition to house more classrooms — including dedicated STEM rooms — and a new gym. Queen of All Saints, which enjoys a robust athletic program, is also in the neighborhood. Since moving to Sauganash, our day-to-day life as a family has become so much easier, and we can still navigate around the city easily, too. Sauganash may be one of the not-so-best-kept secrets in Chicago. If you’re thinking about a move here, let’s talk! Just don’t tell anyone else… Image: Chicago Neighborhood Walks
  21. NPN Jana

    Outdoor Patio Music Class

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    Come for music class, stay for brunch! Join us outside on the patio of Tuco & Blondie for a fun and active music class for the whole family! Work up an appetite and earn that margarita with non-stop interactive songs and activities! For families with children ages 0-6. RSVP required. Please go here to register. This is repeating event every Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am through October. The cost is $15 / child. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: louise@silvermangroupchicago.com
  22. NPN Jana

    Storytime LIVE! @ Kiddie Academy

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    You're invited to Kiddie Academy for Storytime LIVE!, where we will celebrate literacy and share a story together - with a special visit from the beloved Curious George. This event is FREE and open to everyone — bring a friend or two. Please RSVP on our Event Website to reserve your spot. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: jackie.sheahan@kiddieacademy.net
  23. Juneteenth is the oldest celebrated commemoration of the enslavement of Africans in the United States. It has many names — Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day — but no other name has been used as frequently as Juneteenth. This joyous African American holiday began on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. Many Americans have never heard of, nor learned about this historical event in their school textbooks. I, too, was once oblivious to this day. I can’t remember when I first learned about Juneteenth, but It wasn’t until the Black Lives Matter uprising of 2020 that it became significant to my family when I, among countless other Americans, began to see a shift in our country after the murder of George Floyd. [Related: What role should white parents play in Juneteenth?] Last year, in most Black households, there was a sense of reprieve from the endless supply of videos on police brutality when the interest of Juneteenth began to surface heavily online. A celebration of images expressing Black joy and honor around the country went viral. As a Chicago mother who celebrates Black history all year round, I found several virtual events scheduled during the month of June in which families could participate safely. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were not comfortable attending any of the amazing in-person events we read about. Not to be outdone by the virus, we took our children on a driving and walking tour around the South Side and West Side of the city to learn and see the historical contributions made by Black freedom fighters then and now. During the tours, we stopped at Black businesses, such as Can't Believe It's Not Meat in Hyde Park for lunch. We talked about what joy our ancestors must have felt on that day. And we talked about what it must have been like for the men, women, and children who were forced into work that never provided them financial compensation, nor security in the right to stay connected to their families — something some of us are privileged to have strengthened during our months of quarantine. [Related: Can we build anti-racist communities?] Although the formal recognition of the abolishment of slavery (also known as the 13th Amendment) brought much joy to enslaved Africans at the time of its announcement back in 1865, June 19th wasn't recognized as a holiday until 1979 when it passed legislation in Texas. It's now a state holiday in 49 of the 50 states (including Illinois), but has yet to be recognized as a national holiday. In some areas, it is a day, a week, or a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for rejoicing, processing, and planning for the future. Some would say its growing popularity signifies a level of growth, maturity and dignity that's long overdue. The recent acknowledgment of the racial trauma inflicted on people of African descent is being displayed in cities across the country. People of all races, nationalities, and religions are now acknowledging 400+ years of legalized horror. Honoring those that built the wealth of this nation is an honorable place to start the healing process — especially in the city of Chicago.
  24. It’s been over a year since we retreated into our homes “for a couple of weeks”, to wait for the virus to pass. Weeks led to months, the new year rolled around… and we’re only now thinking of re-entering the world. So, as parents, how do we reintroduce play dates for our kids? Research First order of business is to take stock of the current conditions and guidance in your area. Be mindful that just because restrictions might have lifted, there may be reasons why others are reticent about getting together. Proceed with sensitivity and respect. Discuss Ask your child if they would like to meet up with friends. Try not to bring in your own anxieties but listen. They may well be excited to get out again, or they may be nervous. Let them know that what they’re feeling is ok, and that you’ll be there with them. Intros Start with a virtual intro, to (re)build familiarity with friends. Encourage sharing of masks over Zoom, so they can recognize buddies when they meet up in person. My daughter loves to show-off her new kitty look. [Related: Nurturing your child's mental health in the pandemic's aftermath] Practice Most children are practiced at wearing their masks now they’re back at school (at least part of the time), but they can be reluctant to keep them on. We’ve found jersey ones to be soft and tolerable, while disposable ones are apparently “stink.” A practice run can be helpful. Venue Pick an outdoor venue, so you can relax a little. Playgrounds are obviously fun, but fraught with challenges; all those touchable surfaces and potential crowds. Try picking somewhere a little less obvious and limit the stress. Props Expecting children to pick up where they left off in March 2020 is unrealistic. Making friends is an art that children learn as they grow. Understand that they’re out of practice and may need you to facilitate. Bringing along a game — a soccer ball or drone — can jump-start activities. Limit Having a time limit sets expectations, prevents boredom, and makes it easy to leave without awkwardness. Keep first play dates short and set your kids up for success. You can build up to longer later. Follow-up Have your child send a note or text a picture. I like the Photoshop Express app since I can use an image snapped while out, and the kids can have fun personalizing with stickers. This helps pave the way for an ongoing friendship. Review Ask your child if they enjoyed themselves. What did they like best? What was challenging? Then see what you can address. Perhaps another time of day would work better? Decide together what actionable things you can do to make the next occasion fun for all. Repeat Whether the play date was successful or not, don’t leave it too long before organizing another. If your little one is timid, or needs to enhance their play skills, then it’s important to get out there again. If necessary, find an activity that involves you too, and ease youngsters into the new social scene. It can be daunting for any of us to start meeting up again in-person. We’re following the numbers and reading the reports, feeling optimistic one minute and doubtful the next...then layer on some rusty social skills and think how it feels to be a child. By talking and doing some prep work, then following some simple steps, this can be a more successful experience for our kids, and even an enjoyable experience for us grown-ups, too.
  25. Looking for a special gift or just a treat for yourself? Check out this list of Black-owned businesses in the city (many of which offer delivery or curbside pickup), where you can get everything from cocktail-themed artisan soaps to kids' toys. Food & Drink Batter & Berries: Breakfast/brunch/lunch spot in Lincoln Park Berry Berry Sweets: Cakes, cupcakes and cake pop caterer Bettie Lou’s: American cuisine in Andersonville Brown Sugar Bakery: Cakes and cupcakes in Chatham Chicago French Press: Coffee roaster that offers bean subscriptions and beans by the pound The Common Cup: Coffee shop in Rogers Park Demera: Ethiopian cuisine in Uptown Dream Chef: Restaurant, catering, meal delivery in Tri-Taylor Eleven | Eleven: American cuisine and to-go cocktails in West Loop Ethiopian Diamond: Ethiopian cuisine in Edgewater Friistyle: Belgian frites in Bronzeville Frontier: Meat-focused restaurant in Bucktown Fruve Express Juicery: Cold-pressed juice in Loop and South Loop Gimme Some Sugah: Pies, cakes, cookies and more in South Shore Good to Go Jamaican: Jamaican cuisine on Rogers Park/Evanston border The Grail Cafe: Breakfast and lunch in South Loop Ida’s Sweet Tooth: Cupcakes and sweets caterer Ina Mae’s Tavern: New Orleans cuisine in Wicker Park Justice of the Pies: Pies available in markets and some restaurants Kilwin’s: Ice cream and sweets in Hyde Park Kyoto Black: Coffee shop in Edgewater currently offering coffee bean delivery Lem’s Bar-B-Q: Barbecue spot in Chatham Life’s Sweet: Cafe in Rogers Park Lizzy J: Catering, cafe and housemade iced tea in Ravenswood The Long Room: Bar/restaurant in Ravenswood currently offering to-go cocktails, beer and wine Love Corkscrew: Wine delivery; also available in various retail locations Luella’s Southern Kitchen: Soul food in Lincoln Square Mr. Brown’s Lounge: Jamaican cuisine in West Town Ms. T’s Southern Fried Chicken: Fried chicken and fish in Wrigleyville Pearl’s Place: Southern cuisine in Bronzeville Rooh Chicago: Indian cuisine in West Loop Shawn Michelle's: Ice cream shop in Bronzeville Sip & Savor: Coffee shop in Bronzeville Soule: Southern cuisine in West Town Surf’s Up Avondale: Seafood and Southern food in Avondale Sweet Maple Cafe: Breakfast/brunch in Little Italy/UIC Taste 2 Go: American cuisine in West Loop Taylor’s Tacos: Tacos for catering or pickup (Tuesdays only) in East Garfield Park Teapot Brew Bakery: Tea and treats in Near South Side Uncooked: Vegan restaurant in West Loop Urban Grill: Burgers and sandwiches in Uptown Virtue: Southern cuisine in Hyde Park Clothes & Accessories The Advocates: Online-only social activist T-shirts A’nies Accents: Boutique in South Loop Buttonsbyferrai: Etsy shop featuring custom and social activist buttons Kido: Kids' toys and clothes in South Loop; online ordering available Kiwi’s Boutique: Boutique in Tri-Taylor; online ordering available Mimi’s Tot Closet: Shop for girls’ clothes in Auburn-Gresham; online ordering available Love Peridot: Accessories shop in South Loop; online ordering available Recycled Modern: Vintage, upcycled and handcrafted furniture and home decor shop in Lakeview Reformed School: Etsy shop featuring humorous and social activism T-shirts and accessories The Silver Room: Jewelry, accessories, clothes, gifts and more in Hyde Park; online ordering available Sir & Madame: Fashion brand with a store in Hyde Park Standout Style Boutique: Online-only clothes and accessories Beauty/Personal Care/Health 80th and May: Online-only shop featuring artisan soaps and bath salts Blade and Bloom: Etsy shop featuring skin-care products Bodi Shak: Group fitness gym in Uptown Chatto: Natural hair- and skin-care products in West Loop; online ordering available Depart with Art: Online-only shop featuring organic body products Eb & Flow: Yoga studio in Bucktown; currently offering live online classes Goldkissed Essentials: Online-only shop featuring handmade soaps Karyn’s: Vegan restaurant, spa and health products; online ordering available Mad Moisture Beauty: Online-only skincare products Mango Moi: Online-only mango butter skin and hair products Mind Body Defense: Kickboxing gym with private classes in Uptown Pear Nova: Online-only vegan nail polish Soap Distillery: Cocktail-inspired artisan soaps Sweet Beginnings: Beekeeping social enterprise featuring honey and honey-based body care products; online ordering available Black Owned Market: Online-only bath and body products Urbane Blades: Men’s barbershop in Near North Side Wholistic Skincare: Skincare salon in Clybourn Corridor; online ordering available Books, Gifts & More Helendora Samuels Picture Framing: Custom frame shop in Wicker Park Rose Blossom Chicago: Online-only florist Semicolon Chi: The only Black woman–owned bookstore in Chicago. Store in River West; online ordering available. Thepairabirds: Etsy shop featuring illustrated artwork Third Coast Comics: Comic and graphic novel shop in Rogers Park This is not an exhaustive list, so we'd love to get your recommendations for awesome Black-owned businesses in Chicago. Tell us at laura@npnparents.org.

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