City Vacations in the Central United States
Chicago, also known as the “Windy City” and “Chi-Town,” has been a family-friendly city for decades, with numerous sites and activities to keep everybody entertained. Sporting events and parks are frequent and everywhere when good weather permits.
Nashville is a thriving city in Northwestern Tennessee. Nashville is all about music, art, and history. It is a vibrant city with a flourishing culinary scene and regional cuisine that has become well known by chefs internationally. One of the best things about a visit to Nashville is the amazing entertainment available for families of all shapes and sizes.
During milder months when good weather blesses the city with a little sunshine, Chicago swells with the hustle and bustle of people coming outdoors to enjoy the many pastimes its residents engage in.
The Chicago waterfront is a destination in itself and features amazing dining including several cultural restaurants that feature ethnic food. Chicago is known for its great food, especially pizza.
There are hundreds of parks and numerous beaches where visitors can kick back and relax, especially those families accompanying family members in Chicago on business.
There are several museums to choose from, and other educational destinations like the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. New visitors to Chicago can opt to take tours of the city. Chicago Tours offers a multitude of tours of areas that are of interest to your family. Tours traverse the city to showcase places like Grant Park, Soldier Field, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Orchestra Hall, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Museum of Natural History. Don't miss the Sears Tower and Skydeck, Chicago's answer to Manhattan's Empire State Building tour. (
For families with small kids, Chicago's LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is the perfect antidote to boredom. The center contains life-sized LEGOs where kids can build and test creations, enjoy rides, and expend energy in the soft play center. (
The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in downtown Chicago is in the business district, and is close to attractions, shopping, dining, and entertainment. (
Chicago is known for its great pizza. For more than thirty years the family members at Giordano's Pizza have sent pizza lovers into a new dimension. Giordano's stuffed pizza is world famous. They also offer thin crust pizza, sandwiches, and appetizers appropriate for the whole family at reasonable prices. (
Nashville is a booming music-business town. The world's most talented and successful musicians come to Nashville to record music, so the entertainment in Nashville is some of the best in the world. Though originally known for country music, all genres of musicians come to Nashville to further careers and work with the hundreds of producers, directors, and songwriters who make their homes there. The result is world-class cuisine mixed with country flavors for an eclectic experience the whole family will love.
At places like the world-famous Bluebird Café, you can see the next “it” star to burst onto the music scene. Artists like Faith Hill and many others were discovered at the Bluebird Café. (
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a shrine to country music legends including Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, George Strait, and Alabama, among many others. At the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, visitors can watch interactive interviews with people like Dolly Parton and see some of the original pages on which their songs were written. The historic RCA Studio B was where the great Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, Eddy Arnold, and the Everly Brothers made records many years ago. The studio has been frozen in time, and wandering through the original instruments and studio space with songs from longdead recording artists playing, the space eerily comes to life. (
The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is located in what used to be a massive United States Post Office. Nashville's interactive Adventure Science Center is a children's facility encompassing the Sudekum Planetarium. The Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art was formerly the private estate of the Check family, founders of Maxwell House Coffee. The more than fifty acres of the estate includes botanical gardens, sculptures, and an art museum. History buffs visiting Nashville can visit The Hermitage, which was President Andrew Jackson's home, and Belle Meade Plantation, the location of English Derby winner Iroquois and now a thoroughbred stud farm. Seabiscuit, War Admiral, and Smarty Jones are all horses whose lineage can be traced back to Belle Meade Plantation.
Within the massive Gaylord Opryland Resort is a destination that parents, especially music-loving parents, will love, the historic 650 AM WSM Studio. The 650 AM WSM Studio is the broadcast home of the station that delivered country music and the Grand Ole Opry to America for nearly a century. (
Gaylord Opryland Resort is a family destination in Nashville that is so large it's almost like another planet. Delta River Flatboats cruise throughout the “river” within the complex, containing waterfalls and gardens with thousands of species of plants on nine acres. Every kind of food imaginable is at the ready at Gaylord Opryland Resort. More than twenty different places to eat, from sushi to barbecue, are available to families at all hours of the day and night.
There are many activities to keep kids entertained, including Gaylord Opryland Resort's daycare, La Petite Academy Kid's Station, where kids can stay for a short while or play all day. The Resort has a world-class spa for parents to enjoy while the kids tire themselves out having fun doing all the kid-friendly activities Gaylord Opryland Resort has to offer. (
Families who want to enjoy great dining with regional flair and be entertained will love the Wildhorse Saloon. At the Wildhorse Saloon, you can do the two-step between servings of barbecue, fried pickles, and ice cold beer. The Wildhorse Saloon is a multistory restaurant, bar, and concert hall in the heart of Nashville near Printers Alley, where some of the city's best nightlife can be found, and where up-and-coming and established stars can be seen. (