13 Great Things About Raising a Family in Chicago

I’ve started to absolutely dread watching the news…I used to like to learn what is going on in the world, but now it seems like it is just a negativity session with sound bites of people insulting one another and a reading of everything wrong that is going on in the world. And in Chicago, especially this summer, the stories of violence are overwhelming and shocking. But here’s the thing….I feel like Chicago is starting to get a bad rap. I’ve heard people from other states say that they won’t visit Chicago because of the violence and just yesterday I heard a Frenchman say that he assumes that everyone who lives in Chicago has gotten shot at least once. Not true, my French friend, not true. While our city is FAR from perfect and things must be done to keep people safe, it is important to remember that Chicago is one of the most unique and amazing cities to live with your kids. Why? Here are 13 Great Things About Raising A Family in Chicago:

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

“Chicago has such a warm spirit. The people, the city itself…everything was immediately welcoming when we moved here three years ago. My first day in the city, I had never had more doors opened for me or seats given up on the train. Great manners, Chicago!” (Jessica, Urban Baby Zen)

“I love the diversity you see while walking around Chicago…it’s amazing. To see the different people, the different skin colors, the different ways everyone is dressed…it is a feast for the eyes.”(Yari, Savvy Ray’s Boutique)

“You can expose your family to different cultures and take a culinary tour around the world without leaving the city; everything from Peruvian to Ethiopian fare is at your fingertips!”   (Melissa, Latch Pal)

“I can meet a new mom friend every day.” (Christa, Bennett Day School)

“There is nothing better than the Chicago neighborhoods: Each area of the city has its own unique flavor. The city feels expansive and intimate all at once.” (Libby, Chicago Custom Cakes)

“The acceptance. Chicago is very accepting of different nationalities, sexual orientations, languages etc. I love that everyone can feel free to be who they are.” (Yari, Savvy Ray’s Boutique)

“Within the span of an hour, my boys can see a train, boat, airplane, construction vehicles and buses. How lucky are they?!” (Macaire,Half Pint Shop)

“Chicago truly is a city of neighborhoods.  There is always something that makes a person say to himself or herself ‘this is a great neighborhood’ and of course it’s the neighbors that have come together to make Chicago so great.”  (Nors, Mojo Owl)

“Our family loves the many beautiful murals scattered throughout the city.  They make a great back drop for adorable kid photos.” (Shawna, Third Coast Birth)

“I was born and raised here and have been living in Chicago as an adult for a decade. Somehow, I still feel like I haven’t put a dent in it. There are constantly new things to do and areas to explore.” (Christa, Bennett Day School)

“I love too look at our skyline whenever I’m stuck in traffic on the expressway. It helps me practice gratitude when I’m most frustrated by reminding me how many hardworking people there are in this city.” (Julia, Rover Time)

“We always joke that even though we don’t really have a backyard we don’t need one because there are 5 playgrounds within walking distance. Chicago has the most beautiful parks and they span the entire city.”  (Jessica, Purple Monkey Playroom)

“Chicago truly shines in the summer: the beach, the fests, the parks, the alfresco dining.”  (Libby, Chicago Custom Cakes)

“My boys have been exposed to so many types of cuisine from a young age. They’ll seriously try anything. And if we can’t go out we can order in whatever we want – HUGE bonus!” (Macaire, Half Pint Shop)

“The city of Chicago has a personality. A little rough but beautiful, a little classic but new, a little scrappy but smart, and a little stressful but passionate. Chicago celebrates the many different types of people who live here and you can enjoy this city in your youth to party and in your later life to raise a family.” (Shannon, Little Beans Cafe’)

I truly hope these words of wisdom from Chicago moms helps you to not only fall in love with Chicago all over again, but also encourage you to find the positive in all situations, no matter how dreary they might be. Chicago parents, what are your favorite things about raising a family in Chicago?

Looking to plan your next Chicago adventure? Here are my family’s favorite ways to enjoy sweet home Chicago.


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  1. alexandra @ my urban family says

    I couldn’t not love this post more. We just moved and want to start a family and I need to show this post to everyone I know because while I have tried to explain it, most of them think I’m making stuff like this up ha. Like there really are so many parks you don’t need a back yard. And people are so wonderful here. We’re not all smog and guns.

  2. Jamie Perry says

    Love this post. Yes, there are parts of Chicago that make the news constantly, but it’s far west/south (think 10+ miles from the wonderful neighborhoods referenced in the quotes). There are families thriving EVERYWHERE in the city of Chicago and close suburbs — they just don’t make the news. Moms walking strollers, kids on the lakefront at beaches and on the paths, parks, kid friendly restaurants, etc. It’s a shame that some of the media outlets portray Chicago like it’s a war zone… not perfect and there are parts that most of us never visit (10+ miles from city center) but there is SO MUCH offered here for everyone, families are no exception!

    Thanks for this post!

    • Amanda says

      I totally blame the media for making Chicago sound like a war zone…it’s a pretty peaceful and amazing place, too!

  3. Practical Mama says

    I agree with Libby. Summer is fun in the city. We love the services available for kids in the parks, at the library and throughout the city. Afterschool programs, classes, events, get togethers. So many things we want to do but don’t have enought time to get to.

  4. Robin Masshole Mommy says

    I am sure it’s nice there, but I am a Boston girl for life. I can think of a million reasons why I love living here and raising my family here 🙂

  5. Elizabeth O. says

    Chicago is an awesome place to live in, there’s so much culture and the people are very kind. I also appreciate their love for food! It’s a great place to go to even for a vacation!

  6. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    My cousin grew up in Chicago and moved to California when he got married. Now he and his family is back in Chicago. I guess that alone is proof that Chicago is a nice place to raise a family.

    • Amanda says

      There are so many great things about Chicago…but then again, I think I prefer California’s weather over Chicago’s hot and humid summers and frigid winters! 😉

  7. Karlaroundtheworld | Karla says

    Chicago as a city really does have personality, from all those people I know, down to all the sights and sounds I’ve seen and heard from my last trip. The acceptance factor is huge as well, and that I have to agree with everything on this post!

    • Amanda says

      I just love how welcoming and diverse of a city we are. We aren’t perfect, but we have a ton of great things going on.

  8. Nicole Haas Etolen says

    I like welcoming neighborhood! Chicago is a really nice place. It reminds me so much of my grandma’s home.

  9. Ryan Escat says

    My son is so thrilled when he is seeing planes, trains and boats. I am so sure that he is going to love Chicago.

  10. Christy Garrett says

    Chicago sounds like a great place. I’ve never been there. I really honestly think things have changed everywhere and we all have to be more aware of things.

    It’s kinda sad. 🙁

    • Amanda says

      Yes, the world has changed…but so many of the great things have stayed the same and that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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