Last week, the husband, the boys and I headed up north to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my husband's side of the family in Chicago. While we missed celebrating the day with my side, we had a blast playing tourists in Chicago for a few days. We stayed at the Conrad Chicago located right in the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue, adventured around the city and enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal with my sister-in-law's husband's family.

I cannot say enough positive things about the Conrad Chicago! If you are a family looking for a place to stay in Chicago, I highly...I mean highly recommend the Conrad! I saw a fellow blogger post some photos of a recent trip with her family at the Conrad and it seemed like a pretty kid-friendly place to stay. You guys, it was the best place, totally kid-friendly and we loved it!!

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When we checked in, the concierge gave each of my boys the cutest little teddy bears. If you know my boys, they adore stuffed animals so naturally they were in heaven right away. Such a small gesture that went a long way with my kiddos. They snuggled with those bears every second of our stay in the hotel and have been snuggling with them each night since we got home.

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In the hotel room there was a listing of additional kids amenities that included outlet covers, bath products, highchairs, cribs, a lot of the basics but also on that list were coloring books. While we were hanging out in the room Thanksgiving morning, I called guest services to inquire about coloring books and crayons for the boys. While they didn't have any actual coloring books, the gentleman at guest services 'googled' Thanksgiving coloring sheets, printed out a few, hunted down crayons and then delivered them to our room. I mean, how nice!

On our last night, the boys and I stayed in while dad went out for a nice dinner with his family. I called once again to guest services to get recommendations for pizza to order and in addition to their suggestions, they also sent down complimentary milk and cookies for the boys while we were waiting for our pizza to arrive. Seriously, how amazing! The boys loved their special treat and I also indulged. That warm freshly baked cookie was pretty delicious and totally worth it!

Beyond those specifics, the staff in general were all just so friendly and nice. A lady at the front door remembered my oldest by name and greeted him personally each day as we came and went from the hotel. He thought that was pretty sweet and I did too!

Outside of the kid perks, the hotel itself was beautiful, the location was prime for exploring, donut eating and the rooms were spacious. For not having a suite or anything, our standard double queen room felt really big for our family of four. The room had huge vaulted ceilings which made the room feel even bigger, a couch and small table, tons of closet space and a giant bathroom. With two small kiddos, having ample space in a hotel room is a definite plus.

And, let's talk about the gym. I was just as impressed with the gym as everything else in the hotel. More often than not, your typical hotel fitness center has a treadmill, maybe a bike and your are lucky to get a few dumbbells. The fitness center at the Conrad was huge, it had everything! They had the basics covered with treadmills, elliptical and dumbbells. Beyond that, they also had a squat rack, cables for weight lifting, punching bag, TRX, rower, stair climber, spin bikes, battle ropes, and a few other miscellaneous things. Seriously everything. This is probably the one time I wish I didn't book a workout out of the hotel but I did hit the gym Thanksgiving morning to do some stretching and abs before the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.

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When we weren't hanging out at the Conrad, we spent a lot of time sightseeing, shopping, dining and exploring the city. Wednesday afternoon we took the kiddos to the Lego store, visited a few shops on Michigan Avenue and then we went to a holiday favorite, the Christkindl Market downtown. Apple cinnamon gluhwein for me, hot chocolate for my oldest while we all explored the market.

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Thanksgiving morning began with a Turkey Trot for my husband, my sister-in-law and I while the rest of the crew hit up the Chicago Thanksgiving Day parade. The race was pretty cold and windy but it was super fun. The timing was perfect because I needed to do a training run Thursday anyway. It was fun to do the 5k as my training run rather than solo run for a change. It had been awhile since I'd done a race or run for that matter in Chicago and even though it was chilly and cloudy, a run by the lake front just can't be beat. In between running and feasting on Thanksgiving dinner, the rest day was spent relaxing with a little more exploring to anything that was open on the holiday.

Friday morning I took my workout to Barry's Bootcamp where the CEO of Barry's Joey Gonzalez led the class. It was an intense fifty minutes of running and weights in what they call the red room but it was a lot of fun. Barry's uses my favorite treadmill, Woodways, so if I am going to be on the treads, that's my preferred brand! The goal of working out local when I travel continues and so far I have yet to be disappointed!

After my workout, we all enjoyed brunch at Beatrix, played around at Maggie Daley park (which was awesome and perfect for kids to run out their energy!), had some snacks and drinks at one of our favorites, Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, before heading over to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the annual Zoo Lights. The weather was amazing Friday, perfect for all of our outdoor adventures the final full day in Chicago.

We had such a blast playing around in Chi-town for our Thanksgiving holiday. Even though we missed part of our family, we were welcomed with open arms with my brother-in-law's family for Thanksgiving dinner and had a great time. It's nice to get out of town for a few days and the fact that we can get a mini-trip/vacation just a couple hours north is perfect, so easy and so much fun!

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