This is number four in my series of things to do with children while you’re parenting alone.  Whether you are divorced, separated or just alone for the day with the kids, I hope these posts can be a guide of things to do with your kids in a city that isn’t set up for kids, Chicago.

Chicago is famous for its museums, architecture, sports stadiums and restaurants.  Unfortunately, little kids don’t like any of those things.  Worse yet, Chicago has awful winters where doing something outside is simply impossible for half the year.

Your children need to something active at least once a day.  That’s why elementary schools have recesses.  Little kids don’t have to spend the entire winter in a basement.  There are lots of places your kids can go and get their energy out during Chicago’s winters.

Years ago, the only place you could take a young child to exercise was a McDonald’s play place.  Entrepreneurs saw an opportunity and started opening up play places where kids could pass a few hours for a small fee and parents could buy a cup of coffee.  I’ll be reviewing several of these in my series.

Play places are especially good if for some reason you have a short visit with your child for just a few hours.  You don’t have to waste your quality time driving back to your place and can, instead, just drive directly to a play place.  What’s more, if you only have a few hours of visitation, you want to do everything in public in order to avoid any accusations of poor parenting that will keep you from getting more parenting time.

My favorite play place is Pickle’s Playroom.   I used to live and have an office in Lincoln Square and would take my children here on a weekly basis during the winter time.

Pickle’s has a big room which is basically an indoor playground.  It includes lots of costumes and toys for kids 0-5 to play with.  Right next to the play room is a sitting room where parents can log onto wifi, have a coffee, work, visit or just watch their kids.

The cost for your child to enter is $ 14 for a play pass and you can expect that to keep your child occupied for about two hours.  If you really like Pickle’s you can buy the passes in bulk at 5 at a time for $ 55 ($ 11 a pass) or 10 at a time ($ 10 a pass).

Pickle’s most unique feature is that they also have a children’s salon.  We’ve all taken our children to a hairdresser or a barber and can sense the tangible distaste the hairdresser or barber has for cutting children’s hair.  After all, kids squirm in their seats and you have to charge them less than adults.  Taking your children to a salon for children is the perfect solution.

Pickle’s Playroom sells coffee, drinks, snacks and paninis (they are good).

Like every play place, Pickle’s playroom will host a birthday party (a Godsend if your child’s birthday is in the winter).

Pickle’s Playroom is open Tuesday from 9:00AM to 6:00PM, Wednesday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Thursday from 9:00AM to 6:00PM, Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Saturday from 9:00AM to 3:30PM and Sunday from 8:00AM to 12:00PM. Pickles Playroom is closed on Mondays.

Pickle’s Playroom has ample parking outside its location 2315 W. Lawrence, Chicago, Illinois.  But, the parking lot is owned by the city, so expect to pay for the spot.  Pickle’s Playroom is also just steps away from the Western stop on the CTA’s Brown line and no street in Chicago has more bus routes than Western Avenue.

Pickle’s Playroom is just 8 miles from my law office.  Directions below:

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