January 5, 2019

Nebraska Bingo

Think you know Nebraska? I’ve explored the state from Fort Robinson State Park in western Nebraska to Indian Cave State Park in southeastern Nebraska, and I’ve decided that there’s so much more I’ve yet to see. With the idea that we should get out and explore more, I’ve created this Nebraska Bingo playing card.

How many landmarks can you check off on Nebraska Bingo? I've got more places to visit in this state! #Nebraska #Bingo #travel

I don’t have a Bingo on this card, yet, but it’s going to be my guide for exploring Nebraska from this point on.

Start Planning

There are a few on the list I have written about, so if you want to get some inspiration in order to complete a row in Nebraska Bingo, check out these posts:

Smith Falls – Read about canoeing the Niobrara River, which passes through Smith Falls State Park

Family walking on a trail at Toadstool Geological Park in western Nebraska
Nebraska’s own Badlands, AKA Toadstool Geological Park.

Toadstool Geological Park – An interesting stop during a western Nebraska and South Dakota road trip

Omaha Children’s Museum – I wrote this post about the perks of a family membership long before I started working at the museum, but it still stands. This museum is best for kids ages 8 and younger.

Indian Cave State Park – This scenic park is known for its trails. There is a cave, but it’s not the kind of cave you’re thinking.

Historical re-enactor dressed as a blacksmith at Fort Atkinson in Nebraska
Don’t miss the blacksmith during the re-enactment weekends at Fort Atkinson, located in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. He may even make a little souvenir for your kid.

Fort Atkinson – The best time to visit is during the historical re-enactments. They’re held the first Saturday and Sunday of the month, May through October.

Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – There are more detailed posts about recently opened exhibits like Asian Highlands and African Grasslands.

Boy looking out from a stagecoach at Fort Robinson State Park in western Nebraska.
When we went to Fort Robinson, the kids weren’t old enough for trail rides, so we settled for a stagecoach ride.

Fort Robinson State Park – This is a one-of-a-kind state park in Nebraska. You won’t find anything like it, with it’s jeep rides, stagecoach rides, trail rides, and unique buildings.

With any luck, I’ll add to this list in the next year or two! I’d love to hear where all you’ve been and if you can yell “BINGO” on the Nebraska Bingo card. Leave a comment!

How many Nebraska landmarks have you visited? #Nebraska #Bingo

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January 4, 2019

Dining With Kids In Chicago

We visited Chicago during the holiday season, and being the kids’ first time in the city, we wanted to go to restaurants to sample some typical Chicago fare, as well as get some unique experiences. Our kids are ages 7 and 9, so I’m coming from the perspective of someone with fairly young, but pretty well-behaved, kids. Here are the highlights:

Great restaurants to try with kids when visiting Chicago - Includes donuts, fine dining, and traditional Chicago fare like deep dish pizza #familytravel #Chicago #Illinois

Tortoise Supper Club

Dinner at the Tortoise Supper Club was, hands down, the most memorable meal for us. Think: White table cloth, attentive servers, and if you’re there late enough on the right night, live jazz music. It doesn’t sound like it’s a place to bring kids to, but it was. Our waiter, Sergio, was particularly kind to the kids.

Exterior of Tortoise Supper Club decorated for Christmas
For a special night out, we dined at the Tortoise Supper Club in downtown Chicago. Photo courtesy Tortoise Supper Club

As guests of the restaurant, we had quite the experience. However, it’s important to note that there is no kid’s menu here (so no lower prices for smaller appetites). Your kids would have to order from the regular menu. One of our kids ordered a cheeseburger, the other went for steak.

Interior shot of the dining room at the Tortoise Supper Club in Chicago
We had dinner at the Tortoise Supper Club in downtown Chicago.

I tried the French onion soup, which was delicious and the kids liked, too. My entree was a special, the short ribs. We were there on Saturday night, which is prime rib night.

The spare ribs at the Tortoise Supper Club.

Dessert was so good. We tried the chocolate tortoise (because, you know, it’s the Tortoise Supper Club) and key lime pie. No kidding, key lime pie is the thing to get.

Chocolate Tortoise dessert at Tortoise Supper Club in Chicago
While the key lime pie was the surprise hit of the dinner at the Tortoise Supper Club, the Chocolate Tortoise cake shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you love chocolate. Photo courtesy Tortoise Supper Club

The Tortoise Supper Club is within walking distance of the hotel we were staying at, Loews Chicago.

Walnut Room

I’d read about Macy’s Walnut Room in Chicago, how it was a grand restaurant inside a department store. When it first opened in Marshall Field, it was the first of its kind. And I’d read about it being decked out for the holidays, so I decided we’d brave the crowds for diner on Black Friday.

Walnut Room dining room Christmas tree inside the Macy's in downtown Chicago
The Walnut Room is a restaurant in Chicago that is truly decked out for Christmas. This was our table’s view of the tree.

Apparently, everyone was done shopping for the day by the time we went, because we had a very short wait.

The dining room was impressive, with a large Christmas tree stealing the show. People stopped by the restaurant just to get pictures in front of it.

You could get the buffet or order off the menu, and since I’d wanted the famous chicken pot pie, I skipped the buffet and ordered that instead. It was a good idea. The restaurant also had a kid’s menu.

A costumed princess and kids in front of the Christmas tree in the Walnut Room
The kids got pictures taken with each of the princess who stopped by our table at the Walnut Room. The princesses granted wishes and gave the kids a small gift (magic stones, according to my daughter).

While we waited for dinner, fairy princesses wandered the dining room, granting wishes to children. It was totally unexpected, so I don’t even know if this is a regular thing or just on the weekends or what. But, it really added to the experience, especially for my daughter.

Giordano’s Pizza

I’ve asked friends in Chicago and the Twitterverse for suggestions on where to get good Chicago pizza. The consensus was that no one could agree. So, we ended up going to the place I hadn’t been to before: Giordano’s. There are several locations in the city, and we ended up at one not too far from The Field Museum.

Giordano's deep dish pizza slice with a local beer
A slice of Giordano’s deep dish pizza and a pint of Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale. When in Chicago, right?

It was pretty good, but I’ll be honest, Chicago-style pizza just isn’t my kind of pizza. It’s a lot of crust for me. My kids weren’t enthused about it as I had expected, either.

I’ve also had Gino’s East on previous visits, and the décor there makes it worth a visit in my book.

Breakfast in Chicago

I love breakfast and enjoyed three great breakfasts during our visit. We tried Do-Rite Donuts one morning. This tiny shop always had a little line, and it’s easy to see why. The huge donuts are fresh and delicious. In order to try a few flavors, we split three. The birthday cake and red velvet coconut were my favorites.

Employee adding more donuts to the display at Do-Rite Donuts in Chicago
We went to Do-Rite Donuts for the freshly-made donuts and tasty chicken sandwiches.

We also ordered chicken sandwiches, just to have a little something to keep us satiated. If you’re from Omaha, I’d say the donuts were better than Bob’s Donuts, but I can’t say the same for the chicken sandwiches.

Another memorable breakfast that was within walking distance of the Loews Chicago in the downtown area was Wildberry. We went to the Wildberry near Millennium Park.  The wait to eat at the restaurant on a Saturday morning was, indeed, wild. We opted for outdoor seating and only had to wait 30 minutes.

People dining outside at Wildberry in Chicago
Wildberry is near Millennium Park, and a very popular place for breakfast. So popular, people are fine eating breakfast outside in November.

Yes. Outdoors in November. It worked, though.

The food was really good and filling. The coffee was also exceptional. There is a kid’s menu, too. Items for kids included silver dollar pancakes for $4 or specialty pancakes for $5 (including fresh berry pancakes, Fruity Pebble pancakes, and Oreo s’more pancakes), one egg meal for $5, and a few lunch offerings. Juice or soda are included with that price.

Being near Millennium Park, be sure to walk over to see “Cloud Gate,” AKA The Bean.

Kids playing at a playground in Maggie Daley Park Chicago
We let the kids explore Maggie Daley Park for about an hour after a sugary breakfast. This was just one of the playgrounds there.

And, if the kids are really loaded up on sugar from pancakes at Wildberry, walk a little further to Maggie Daley Park. It might be the most incredible park you’ll ever visit. It’s huge, and it should wear your kids down.

Our other breakfast was in Rosemont, Ill., at The Ashburn. The Ashburn is located inside Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, and we were guests of the hotel there. For breakfast, you can order off the menu or get the buffet. The buffet had a lot of options, many of them healthy, but we opted to order of the menu. I had house-smoked salmon, which was light and really good. Coffee was also delicious.

House-smoked salmon for breakfast at The Ashurn inside Loews Chicago O'Hare Hotel
After having breakfasts of donuts and pancakes at other restaurants, the house-smoked salmon at Ashbury was a welcome sight. It was a light breakfast.

The Ashburn had a kid’s menu, and the fluffy buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes were pretty filling for the kids. I sampled them and they get my approval. Breakfast prices on the kid’s menu ranged from $4 for a fresh fruit bowl or oatmeal, to $7 for bacon and eggs, waffles, pancakes or french toast.

One thing to note about Loews Hotels like the one this restaurant is located in: They source a lot of food and drinks from local businesses. It’s a program called Flavor by Loews.

Restaurants to try with kids when visiting Chicago - Includes donuts, fine dining, and traditional Chicago fare like deep dish pizza #familytravel #Chicago #Illinois

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December 28, 2018

The Iowa Mom Who Designed The Perfect Sports Bra

I’m fine with writing about conquering a ropes course or hiking with my family, but I’ve never thought of writing about the bra I was wearing when doing it. Sports bras were just functional, right? It took wearing a sports bra designed by a woman in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to realize they can be functional and comfortable. Let me tell you about Tamara Brunow and H2W Apparel.

H2W Apparel is a sports apparel line designed for women of all sizes designed by Tamara Brunow. The comfy sports bra zips in the front and has an H-back design. #partner #bra #sportsbra

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by H2W Apparel. I also received complimentary product for the post. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

What is H2W Apparel

H2W Apparel was started by Tamara Brunow, after a particularly crummy 16-day stretch of work in 2011 when the Missouri River had flooded. Brunow owned a construction company, and was raising three kids on her own, so you can imagine those long days both professionally and personally. And long days in an uncomfortable bra is miserable, right?

Tamara Brunow, owner of H2W Apparel.
Tamara Brunow is a single mom and business owner who was tired of uncomfortable bras, so she designed her perfect bra. Photo courtesy H2W Apparel

And one day, she decided there has to be a better bra and if she couldn’t find it, she’d design it. She had the engineering chops and she was a woman who was all too familiar with cute but unbearable bras, so though many trials and errors, she designed the bra that you’ll find in the H2W Apparel line.

The bra has custom-molded cups that offer the support you need but not a total uni-boob look to it (you know how sports bras can be), and a mesh lining that allows the skin to breath. The bra zips in the front, making it easy to take on and off, especially post-workout.

And the design feature that really makes the bra stand out? The bra has a patent-pending ergonomic H-back, which eliminates the annoying strap from slipping down.

“I think you hit a point in your life, you realize the cute things that sell are not functional. “I just want to be comfortable,” said Brunow.

I tried the H2W Sports Bra

Brunow sent me a few of the bras and pants to try out before writing this. I tried out the bra with the H-back, you guys. And, for real, it’s not a bra you immediately want to rip off as soon as you enter your house.

Right before Christmas, I wore it on a 2-mile hike around Hitchcock Nature Center right before Christmas, and then kept it on to do some last-minute shopping that evening. It was comfortable and worked well (plus it didn’t look like I was wearing a sports bra).

The bra for every woman

I want to point out that Brunow intended for her sports apparel to be for every woman, especially the women often overlooked by the sports industry.

“We want women of all sizes to wear our clothes. We want to be an inclusive brand.”

H2W apparel is sports apparel for women of all sizes, with clothes available from Medium to XXL.
H2W Apparel is available in sizes Medium to XXL. Photo courtesy H2W Apparel

When she was designing her bra and researching performance fabrics, she concluded that anyone over a size 12 was pretty much ignored by the sports industry.

“Once you’re beyond a size 12, you’re on a raft by yourself,” Brunow had concluded. So, she set out to change that.

Her bras include sizes that fit women who wear up to a size 24. And she wasn’t done with bras – she went on to design super comfy workout pants, too. Her pants, Gym and Swim, are scaled large so that the XXL works for women in sizes 24-26.

The Gym and Swim should’ve been in my life four months ago when I tried moonlight kayaking. They’re comfy and they’re waterproof. The pants have nylon latex in them, like in swimsuits. And my favorite part, these pants don’t slide down, so no more plumber’s crack. H2W also has soft leggings available.

The colors are limited, just black or gray bras for now, but as the company grows, Brunow will add more colors. She told me she’s had women request a nude or white bra.

In case you’re wondering what H2W stands for (as I was), it stands for Brunow’s personal mantra: “Happy, healthy, whole.”

I love it, don’t you?

Where to buy H2W apparel

You can buy H2W Apparel online and locally in a handful of stores right now. In Omaha, it’s available at Nearly Naked Lingerie at 171st and Center streets, and Karma Yoga at 156th and Dodge streets. In Council Bluffs, you can find apparel at Hello Gorgeous Hair Salon at 1010 S. Main St., suite 500. And, further beyond, products are available at Teal Creek Boutique in Fort Calhoun, Neb.

H2W Apparel New Generation Bra has a front zipper and a patent-pending ergnomic H-back. Photo courtesy H2W Apparel

Online, you’ll find H2W Apparel prices to be pretty reasonable, especially for how comfortable they are. Bras are $60, and pants range from $15 to $25.

If you buy one, let me know what you think of it!

H2W Apparel is a sports apparel line designed for women of all sizes designed by Tamara Brunow. #partner #bra #sportsbra

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December 17, 2018

Family-Friendly Downtown Chicago Hotel Review – Loews

Headed to Chicago and can’t figure out where to stay? I know the feeling. As I planned our family’s holiday getaway to Chicago, I knew I wanted to choose a hotel with a location that was convenient to major attractions, preferably one where we’d feel comfortable walking to said attractions with the kids. The Loews Chicago location fit our needs, plus it had a great package for families to sweeten the deal!

Disclosure: Our stay was hosted by Loews Hotels, though I paid a media rate for our stay. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Where to stay in downtown Chicago: A review of Loews Chicago #familytravel #Illinois #hosted

What to expect at Loews Chicago

Loews Chicago, I’ve learned, is all about personalizing the experiences. So, no matter who we encountered, from bellhops to the concierge, once they learned your name, they greeted you all the time.  The same was true for our stay at Loews O’Hare.

The lobby at Loews Chicago was charmingly decorated for Christmas.

The downtown Chicago location is in a skyscraper (which is pretty exciting for my kids), with a grand lobby to greet guests. Being downtown, expect to pay for parking – unless you get the Snowed Inn package, in which case, you get free valet parking.

We spent one night in Chicago in our PJs watching a movie in our Loews Chicago hotel room. And it was exactly what our family needed to unwind after a busy day exploring the city.

The entire Loews Hotels brand is kid-friendly and pet-friendly. We saw a lot of dogs during our stay.

Chicago History & Flavor At Loews

One of the coolest things a hotel brand can do is to localize the experience when staying at a property. If you’re staying at either of the Loews Downtown or the Loews O’Hare, keep your eyes peeled to see hints of Chicago in the decor, as well as tasting locally-made products in restaurants and bars. Let’s start with the food and drink.

There’s no doubt where you are when you stay at a Loews location.

Flavor Chicago by Loews Hotels is a brilliant way to introduce travelers to local products. Flavor by Loews Hotels is built on partnerships with artisan food & beverage vendors, and its starting to roll out in Loews destinations across the nation. At the downtown location, try Chicago Honey Co-op honey in a cocktail at Streeterville Social as a honey-infused treatment in the spa; Here cold-pressed juices are available in ETA Restaurant + Bar; and Revolution Brewing’s Zephyr beer is exclusively available at Loews Chicago Hotel in ETA Restaurant + Bar, The Lobby Lounge and Streeterville Social.

On the wall of this elevator at Loews Chicago is Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” poem.

For architecture in the Downtown Chicago Loews, there are few things to note. First, step into the elevators and find Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” poem on the walls. In the lobby, it helps to know the design was inspired by two important architects to Chicago, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Louis Sullivan. The two story metal on either side of the fireplace represent train tracks, giving a nod to the importance of the railroad for industry in Chicago. Local artist, Ben Butler, designed a piece of art in the lobby made of wood. It represents the Chicago skyline and the bottom portion  is burned representing The Great Fire (except for the Water Tower, which was the one building that didn’t get destroyed by it).

What kids will like at Loews Chicago

The question every kids asks: Is there a pool? Yes, there is a pool at the Loews Chicago location. It’s on the third floor, and it’s more like a long lap pool. It still suits the needs of most kids.

No hot tub, so, sorry Mom and Dad.

View from Loews Chicago facing Navy Pier at night
We could see Navy Pier from our hotel room at Loews Chicago. In the day time, you can see Lake Michigan, too.

Kids are going to like the views from the room, at least, our view was impressive. We had a view of Navy Pier and Lake Michigan from our 14th floor room.

The Snowed Inn package at Loews Chicago included set up of a little tent and campfire set to play with.

Kids will also like the extras that come with the Snowed Inn package, particularly the hot cocoa. My kids were not too impressed with the cookies that came with it, though. They had some raisins in them.

What parents will like at Loews Chicago

I’m not going to lie, having complimentary valet parking with the Snowed Inn package was a huge perk. There are also discounts at the restaurant and spa included with the package.

Loews Chicago was in a prime location for our plans in downtown Chicago. 

I liked the hotel’s location, being so near all of the things we wanted to see and do: We walked to Millennium Park, for instance. And, places like the Field Museum were about an $8 cab ride away. We weren’t far from CTA stops, either.

If you’ve never used Chicago’s mass transit, the concierge is super helpful telling you which stops to go to for things. He also gave us some tips for a good route to just ride the train for the heck of it (if you have kids, you understand this).

More things to know about Loews Chicago

This hotel has a restaurant called ETA and lobby bar, but do not expect complimentary breakfast or a free happy hour. However, with the Snowed Inn package, you do get 20% off at ETA. We didn’t dine there, so I can’t tell you much about the restaurant.

ETA is located just off the lobby of Loews Chicago.

If you go

Loews Chicago

Where: 455 N. Park Drive, Chicago, Ill.

More Chicago vacation inspiration

You can see all the fun things we did on our Chicago holiday weekend getaway in this post. I started planning the trip using this Chicago Holiday Bucket List post.

Want to explore other hotel options in downtown Chicago? Trip Adviser is a good place to start!

If you want to see where I found my inspiration, then follow my Chicago Pinterest board! You’ll discover more family-friendly places to visit and things to do in the Windy City:

https://www.pinterest.com/ohmyomaha/chicago-with-kids/

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Subscribe to the FREE twice a month(ish) e-newsletter sharing what’s new in Omaha, giveaways, family travel ideas, and more! Subscribe here.

Visiting Chicago and looking for a family-friendly hotel? Check out this review of Loews Chicago, a hotel located within walking distance of popular attractions. #Chicago #familytravel #WindyCity #hosted
December 14, 2018

Winter Day Trips From Omaha

There’s only one thing to do when cabin fever strikes: Bundle up and get out of the house. I recently shared a list of 30+ things to do this winter in Omaha. But if you’ve done it all here, or at least it feels like it, then maybe it’s time to get out of town. Here are some ideas to inspire your next winter day trips from Omaha:

Winter day trips from Omaha, Nebraska - Indoors and outdoor ideas for families #Nebraska #Iowa #familytravel

Council Bluffs, Iowa

You don’t have to go far for your next day trip. Council Bluffs, Iowa, has enough to keep you busy for the day. Visit Union Pacific Railroad Museum for free, or pay a few dollars to see the nearby Squirrel Cage Jail. The city also has Joe’s Carting, for go carts.

Related post: Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities Near Council Bluffs

The historic Squirrel Cage Jail is located in Council Bluffs.  Photo courtesy Iowa Tourism Office

Where to eat? 712 is great food but not necessarily a place you’d necessarily want to bring little kids to. Pizza King is an iconic pizza joint (though Pizza Counter nearly won the entire Great Pizza Tournament this year). Quaker Steak & Lube is a chain restaurant, but the decor gives you plenty to look at while you’re there. 

Honey Creek, Iowa

Bundle up and hit the trails at Hitchcock Nature Center. You can rent snow shoes and if you’re feeling adventurous, try a sled down the Chute Trail. Warm up and have the kids play around the great visitor’s center.

Related post: Fall At Hitchcock Nature Center

Where to eat? When the weather’s nice, I usually pack a picnic for Hitchcock outings. However, I don’t picnic in the winter. Crescent is your closest city with restaurants. My favorite restaurant is closed now, so I guess I’ll just recommend the iconic Crescent restaurant, Pink Poodle. I haven’t eaten there in, oh, about 20 years, though, so I can’t tell you if it’s still great or not.

Truthfully? I drive into Council Bluffs if I’m looking a restaurant near there. 

Crescent, Iowa

The area’s only skiing is at Mt. Crescent in Crescent, Iowa. In addition to ski slopes, there are tubes to rent. Best part? You don’t have to walk up the hill each time with the big tubes; Mt. Crescent has a lift for the tube trail, too.

Where to eat? Mt. Crescent has a small lodge that may have some food. It’s near Crescent, Iowa, so see the above suggestion.

Lincoln, Neb.

There’s so much to do in Lincoln in the winter, but our favorites are the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Morrill Hall. We also enjoyed Lost In Fun!, but it is out of the way of most everything.

Related Post: 8 Great Things To Do With Kids In Lincoln

The hall of mammoths at Morrill Hall on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Where to eat? We always end up eating at Lazlo’s with the kids in the Hay Market. Fora good dessert, I recommend The Rabbit Hole Bakery, an Alice in Wonderland-themed café.

Ashland, Neb.

Mahoney State Park is a destination in itself, but you can combine a stop there with a few hours at Strategic Air and Space Museum. Outdoor activities at Mahoney include tobogganing and ice skating. We usually spend all of our time at the Activity Center, which has a huge indoor playground and climbing walls.

The indoor Activity Center at Mahoney State Park is a popular (and inexpensive) destination for families living in Omaha.

Where to eat? – You could eat at the Activity Center, but I wouldn’t recommend it beyond getting a snack. Head into Ashland for Cherri’s, which has some good sandwiches and ice cream, or just get a pizza to go from Casey’s.

If you’re traveling without kids, there’s winery and tasting room to check out, too. Visit Cellar 426 or Glacial Till Tasting Room.

Related Post: Things To Do At Mahoney State Park In The Winter 

Nebraska City, Neb.

OK, I’ll be the first to tell you Nebraska City is better any other time of the year, but don’t dismiss it. For older kids, explore some of the historic sites including Arbor Lodge and Wildwood Historic Center. If you’re ambitious and hearty in the winter, hit the trails at the Arbor Lodge Tree Adventure.

Related Post: Visiting Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure

Going off the trail at the Arbor Lodge Tree Adventure in Nebraska City, Neb.

Where to eat? The last restaurant we dined at in Nebraska City is now closed and, I confess, I’m more likely to pack a picnic visit (and then eat apple pie at the Apple House Market next door to the Tree Adventure). The Keeping Room looks charming, so if I were to pick the one I’d try out, I’d go there.

Your turn: Tell me a great winter day trip from Omaha!

Great, family-friendly day trip from Omaha - Things to see and do in nearby towns like Lincoln, Ashland and Honey Creek #Nebraska #Lincoln #Midwest

Get more day trip ideas by following my Pinterest board dedicated to traveling with kids through Nebraska:

https://www.pinterest.com/ohmyomaha/traveling-in-nebraska-with-kids/

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December 11, 2018

Comparing Hotels In The Quad Cities

When I started planning our first trip to the Quad Cities, I was at a loss on where to stay. The Quad Cities are four cities that are so near each other, you get the feeling it’s just one bigger Midwest city.

We’ve passed stayed in three different Quad Cities hotels now, in three different cities, so now I can at least offer suggestions on where to stay based on your budget or plans. The Quad Cities, for the unfamiliar, are in eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, Moline and East Moline…yes, five cities).

Disclosure: Our stays were hosted by Visit Quad Cities. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Not sure where to stay in the Quad Cities? This post compares three hotels located in Davenport, Bettendorf and Moline. #Iowa #Illinois #familytravel

Related post: Plan a trip to the Quad Cities with the help of this post full of family-friendly things to do in the Quad Cities.

Element Moline

Moline, Ill.

Our room at Element had the look and feel of a chic loft – brick walls, concrete floors, and a kitchen.

You may be familiar with the Element brand – sleek designs with a focus on health and green living. This location is within walking distance of the concert arena, a bike trail, and the John Deere Pavilion, which is a great, free place to visit with kids.

It has a small pool and complimentary breakfast with healthy options. There’s also a happy hour during the week, which may or may not appeal to you when you’re on a family trip.

The complimentary breakfast one morning included an egg white scramble and fresh fruit. I also got a pastry because I’m no diet saint.

There are not a whole lot of shops or restaurants within walking distance.

Kids will like: The pool.

Kids won’t like: Our room only had a shower.

Parents will like: The spacious suites that let a family be a little less cramped. Ours had a kitchen, too. There’s also free Wi-Fi. Parking is comped by the hotel.

Good for: Families that like free breakfasts with healthy choices and families looking for a bit more spacious rooms.

Related post: Read more about Element Moline in this hotel review.

My Place Davenport

Davenport, Iowa

My Place in Davenport, Iowa, is an affordable hotel option for families visiting the Quad Cities.

This is a newly-opened location of the chain My Place. It’s a good option for families on a tight budget.

This location is a short drive from a lot of shopping options and malls. It’s also pretty close to the very fun Family Museum, which will appeal to families with younger children.

The My Place room we stayed in overnight had a full-size fridge and small range.

Kids will like: Comfy beds.

Kids won’t like: There’s no pool.

Parents will like: How budget-friendly and clean it is. We were looking for a hotel for a stopover for a road trip.  We didn’t need much for an overnight, just beds for all of us that were comfortable. Parents might also like the kitchenette with a huge fridge in the room. There’s also free Wi-Fi. Parking is free.

Parents won’t like: There is no complimentary breakfast. You can, however, order breakfast to be delivered to your room. The prices were pretty reasonable, and beat fast food.

Good for: Families on a budget or families making a quick overnight stop.

Hilton Garden Inn Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa

The Hilton Garden Inn was the best fit for our family with amenities we all wanted (especially that hot tub by the pool). It’s in a good location near the interstate so it’s easy to get to places.

The lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn in Bettrndorf, Iowa, was decked for the holidays when we visited right after Thanksgiving. 

It’s within an easy drive–or if you’re feeling up to it, an easy walk–to some restaurants like Pizza Ranch and Starbucks. It’s also not far from one of the breakfast places we went to on our Quad Cities weekend trip, Jimmy’s Pancake.

What kids will like: The pool is the biggest of the two hotels that had them, plus it has a hot tub. Kids will like the fresh, homemade cookies at check in, too.

Nighttime swim in the pool at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bettendorf, Iowa.

What parents will like: The cozy lobby, that hot tub I mentioned, and the free coffee in the lobby. There’s also a bar and restaurant in the lobby.

What parents won’t like: No complimentary breakfast. The hotel restaurant in the lobby looks like it would be included, but expect to pay for that buffet. Kids are half-price, though.

Things to look forward to in Quad Cities in 2019

A bike trail along the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities.

Museum updates: The Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire has anew addition housing a replica 1920s interior of a one-room school house. The Putnam Museum & Science Center in Davenport opens “RACE: Are We So Different” in January. The German American Heritage Center in Davenport opens an exhibit on the Schweibert Family in March. The Figge Art Museum opens an exhibit on Tiffany’s stained-glass windows, vases, lamps and accessories on Feb. 16 and running through May 19. The Family Museum has a summer exhibit running June 8 throughSept. 8 called “Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action!”

Drink updates: Bootleg Hill Honey Meads just opened in downtown Davenport, serving a variety of meads and craft drinks. 

Additional things to look out for in 2019: Quad Cities Air Show returns after a two-year break in 2019. The show will be June 29 and 30. The 100th Mississippi Valley Fair is July 30 through Aug. 3. The 2019Grand Stand acts include Brad Paisley, Jake Owen, Tesla and Dan + Shay. Snowstar has a new zipline course, with one zipline that’s 1,300 feet long. The world’s largest truck stop, Iowa 80 Truckstop, is near the Quad Cities and it has recently finished a $10 million expansion and remodel project. Look for the antique trucks added to the main entry. Quad Cities got a new hockey team, theQuad City Storm, in 2018. Playing in the Southern Professional Hockey League, the season runs October through April.

Looking for free things to do with kids in the Quad Cities? Read this post!

Not sure where to stay in the Quad Cities? This post compares three hotels located in Davenport, Bettendorf and Moline. #Iowa #Illinois #familytravel

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