Greektown, located just west of the Loop, between Van Buren and Madison Streets and along Halsted Street, makes for a fun day of exploring. Easy to reach via taxi or CTA (take the Blue Line to UIC Halsted and follow Halsted North), this fantastic neighborhood gives visiting families a taste of Greek culture (and cuisine!).
Start your journey at the brand-new National Hellenic Museum (333 S. Halsted), the star of Greektown. This unique cultural gem aims to connect visitors to the history of the Greek immigrant while also showcasing Greek culture and Greek-American artists. The kid-geared Greek Monsters exhibit gives children the chance to explore ancient Greece with their own eyes and hands. Kids will get up close and personal with the wacky Greek Monsters via interactive exhibits. My 5-year-old daughter enjoyed learning the stories behind the monsters, and even made a giant monster of her very own. The museum's glass-paned windows usher in the sunshine, making for a bright morning or afternoon.
Our favorite kid-friendly Greektown restaurant is Greek Islands (200 S. Halsted). Every kid will enjoy the flaming Saganaki cheese appetizer - be sure to lean back when the waiter shouts "Opa!" so you don't get burned! The small plates section of the menu is perfect for families and gives everyone a chance to try and share a new dish or two. The fried zucchini chips, Keftedakia meatballs, and spinach cheese pies will be appreciated by kids and adults alike and are all priced under $6 each.
No trip to Greektown is complete without a visit to Pan Hellenic Pastries (322 S. Halsted). My favorite here is the Galaktoboureko, a milk custard with a hint of lemon, encased in a buttery phyllo shell. The honey and walnut baklava is always a hit with my kids. Milk cartons are available as is strong Greek coffee and tea. Your kids will love the colorful selection of almond, butter, orange, and anise cookies. I always let my children fill a small box of cookies of their choice to take home as a souvenir of our Greektown visit.