Chicago is a mini United Nations, with a multicultural feast of neighborhoods. It’s great to be able to travel the world with your kids without the jet lag. One of our favorite areas is Greek Town, just west of downtown Chicago.

(credit: AthenianCandle.com)

Athenian Candle Company

300 S. Halsted
Chicago, Illinois 60661
312-332-6988
Monday-Tuesday, Thursday – Friday: 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
www.atheniancandle.com

One of our favorite Greek Town establishments is The Athenian Candle Company, a family owned “luck shop” established in 1919. Kids will find plenty of colorful candles and little chotchkies even they can afford. Although they specialize in a variety of religious and pagan artifacts, like Catholic saints medals and voodoo sprays, it’s not a particularly religious store. Candles and incense appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Kids will have fun exploring the scents, cacophony of color, and a multicultural mishmash of lucky talismans. Where else can you find horseshoes, Buddhas, saints, essential oils, amulets, spell casting, mojo bags, books, herbs, roots, and power jewelry in the same place?

(credit: 333SouthHalsted.org)

National Hellenic Museum

333 South Halsted Street
Chicago IL, 60661
312.655.1234
Hours: Beginning November 8, 2011
Tuesday thru Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday Evenings: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $10, Seniors & Students, $8 Kids (3-12), $7 Under 3: Free
www.333southhalsted.org

The New National Hellenic Museum will be opening to the public starting November 8th. It’s the only museum in the country solely dedicated to Greek History – from Gods and Myths to storytelling to journey of Greek settlers in the U.S. The museum will be offering Greek education and fabulous interactivity exhibits for your children to enjoy. Check the website for current information.

(credit: SantoriniChicago.com)

Kid Friendly Dining

You can’t visit Greek town without stopping to eat. We’re big fans of the Saganaki (flaming cheese) and the excitement when everyone yells “Opa” as it’s delivered to the table on fire. Saganaki is available just about everywhere, and there are a plethora of restaurants to choose from.

We only have space to list two family friendly favorites. These are a good place to start, but we highly recommend return trips and on foot exploring to truly get the flavor of the neighborhood. Try a moving feast with appetizers at one place, a short walk, dinner, more exploring, and dessert at a third stop.

(Credit: Santorinichicago.com)

Santorini

800 W. Adams St., Chicago
312-829-8820
Monday-Thursday
Sunday 11a.m.-10p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11a.m.-Midnight
www.santorinichicago.com

This charming restaurant, named for the idyllic Greek island, specializes in seafood. They serve generous portions and most dinners are under $30. The red snapper and calamari are fantastic and the menu features over 20 seafood items flown in fresh daily. This 160-seat restaurant still manages to feel intimate and laid back. Families are welcome.

(credit: GreekIslands.net)

Greek Islands Restaurant

200 S Halsted St, Chicago
(312) 782-9855
Open Sunday-Thursday 11a.m.-12p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11a.m.-1a.m.
www.greekislands.net

Greek Islands got its start when a group of immigrant friends followed their American dream and opened a restaurant. Now they can claim the title of the most popular Greek restaurant in the United States. The original friends sold to new owners in 1971—and they’ve upheld the same high standards. They still import the highest quality extra virgin olive oil, superior wines, the best cheeses, herbs, and seafood right from Greece. Their web site says, “Let us treat you like family.” And families are welcome.

(credit: artopolischicago.com)

Artopolis

306 S. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60661
312.559.9000
Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
www.artopolischicago.com

The goal of Artopolis when it opened just before the new Millenium was to bring the new European style café to Chicago – and it has succeeded. Besides serving freshly baked goods through a major breakfast, lunch and dinner menu – the restaurant has fabulous desserts and a store filled with specialty items to choose from. For the adults there are dozens of wines to take home native to Greece. This is the perfect spot to treat your kids to their “just desserts” with delicious Greek Baklava (flakey phyllo dough, nuts & honey), Galaktoburiko (custard pie) and Karidopita (Greek walnut cake).

CBS Chicago Insiders Tip: When introducing kids to new and unusual foods – play the “no thank you” portion game. They need to try a bite of everything and then have the option of politely saying “No thank you” if they don’t like it. If they at least try a bite of everything, they’ve earned dessert.

And don’t forget to peruse our top list of Best Restaurants in Greektown.

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara explores adventures in urban-odd ball-off the wall-alternative-eco-punk parenting in Chi, IL. at ChiILMama.com.