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Ask Chicagoist: Quirky Places to Take Kids?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Aug 23, 2007 9:25PM

Dear Chicagoist geniuses:

My sister & I are taking my nephews to 2 special places in Chicago in 2 days-- their last Friday of the summer before school starts. We're hitting Superdawg (the original location: 6363 N Milwaukee Ave, 60646) and then heading to Rainbow Cone (9233 S Western Ave, 60620).

We live in the Naperville area and since both those places are not only kind of a hike in traffic but they're also far apart, we are hoping you have any ideas of things we can do in between the 2 places. I've already done a few internet searches but am having trouble finding anything that would be on the way from Superdawg to Rainbow Cone.... and heading us towards home.

The boys are 12 & 15, so if there are any fun shops/activities you can think of, that would be great. They love quirky places like Uncle Fun. Any help/ideas you have would be MUCH appreciated!


2007_08_askquirky.jpgHi Julie!

Of course we'll answer your question if you call us geniuses! As a friend of ours likes to say, flattery will get you everywhere.

Cool idea. And lucky kids! We want to go on a tour of the city like that. Hopefully we can help you out with some possible places to go. We've tried to keep you as close to 90/94 as possible, and unfortunately you still have some gaps towards the end of your journey, but maybe some of our more astute readers can help you out as well. We skipped the downtown area too, figuring your goal would primarily be to just get through that area without having to pay for parking.

The first place we came across was the American Science Surplus at 5316 N. Milwaukee Ave (773-763-0313). Now we've never actually been there, but it sure sounds pretty neat, if it lives up to its website's promises. Looks like all sorts of school supplies, arts and craft supplies, test tubes, toys, and our favorite -- robot parts! Seems like there could be some cool gems hidden there.

Next, we thought of Ash's Magic Shop at 4955 N. Western (773-271-4030). They are a full-service magic shop that has been around since 1985. They sell not only magic tricks and supplies, but "practical jokes" too. What 12 and 15 year old boy doesn't need a whoopee cushion? Well maybe their mom can decide that one ...

Our absolute favorite, number one recommendation, however, is The Boring Store at 1331 N. Milwaukee (773-772-8108). It's a real spy and secret agent supply store! OK not really, but it is the really amazing store in front of 826CHI's tutoring and writing center. They sell all sorts of little "spy" supplies that we think your nephews would really get into, along with books created by kids who go to the tutoring center and attend their field trips. Don't miss out on stocking up on secret agent supplies when swinging through the city! They've really done a great job giving it the feel of a "real" spy shop -- with tons of humor thrown in.

If you think the boys will need additional junk food on the trip, there's always the classic Margie's Candies at 1960 N. Western (773-384-1035). Real homemade candy and delicious ice cream. Just what is needed, we think, in between Superdawg and Rainbow Cone!

Don't forget to call any of these places to verify their hours before heading out there, there's nothing more disappointing than dealing with traffic and finding a place closed at the last minute.

So tell us, dear readers. Where would you send our intrepid travelers?

"You May Be Under Surveillance" Image of the inside of The Boring Store via kenyee

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