Quick suggestions for easy activity w 90yo in Chicago
August 12, 2017 9:38 AM   Subscribe

We are in Chicago for the weekend visiting an elderly relative. He doesn't get out much beyond his immediate area and I'd like to take him somewhere today for a little visit and variety. He's not very mobile, but doesn't use a wheelchair. Someplace nice to sit with a coffee is fine, or a nice neighborhood to drive around, any other creative suggestions would be really helpful!!! Easy parking for us is key.
posted by leticia to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Art Institute of Chicago? Plenty of benches, visually beautiful inside, cafe, the outside gardens are beautiful but don't require a lot of walking. Bean within reasonable walking distance if he gets bored, Miller's Pub and Exchequer (among others) if looking for a good meal for the day.
posted by WCityMike at 9:46 AM on August 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

How about renting a surrey or 'Quadcycle' and riding along the waterfront? My family did this with my grandmother when she was getting frailer and it was a big hit.
posted by bq at 10:01 AM on August 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

bq - I didn't know these were available. Can you suggest where to access them? Is there parking (or dropoff) nearby?
posted by leticia at 10:08 AM on August 12, 2017

I went to Chicago once and spent the evening at Slugger's dueling piano bar. If you like dueling pianos, it was a lot of fun....
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:36 PM on August 12, 2017

I think there are surreys etc. at Foster beach, with parking nearby.

Winnemac Park has very easy parking (free parking lot), benches, and is pleasant to stroll around or sit in.
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:01 PM on August 12, 2017

I normally go in the fall so I don't know what it's like now, but the Morton Arboretum is a pretty drive, and there are places to wander/sit if you wanted.
posted by lazuli at 3:16 PM on August 12, 2017

The botanic gardens have a train you can ride. I did this with my elderly relatives and they loved it. I can't post a link because of my phone but they have a website at Chicago Botanic Gardens.
posted by chocolatetiara at 4:44 PM on August 12, 2017

It was a few years ago, but we took my elderly FIL tosee a play. The hardest part was getting him into the theatre, but Mr. Jane dropped us off at the door and went in search of parking, while I escorted FIL into the theatre.
posted by sarajane at 4:54 PM on August 12, 2017

The Botanic Garden is very ADA-friendly and good for folks with limited mobility (and they have a great cafe. It is, however, in Glencoe in the suburbs, so you may or may not want to drive that far. There are some more rugged/far bits (the prairie and meadow), but the gardens close to the visitors center are all easily accessible and more traditionally groomed and have paved paths.

(I am particularly fond of the "enabling garden," which is fully accessible and presents a variety of ways anyone can enjoy gardening -- plants with strong smells, plants with interesting physical textures to touch, raised beds that are wheelchair accessible, adaptive tools, etc. It's super-interesting and really well-done!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:00 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Agree w/WCityMike -- The Art Institute. And even if you don't go inside, there are nice benches in shaded areas right on Michigan Boulevard. It might be that your relative isn't into that part of town; for me, it's my favorite. Just to be there, of a summer afternoon, wind coming in off the lake. And yes, the museum is nice, but it's massive, and your relative could easily run out of juice.

There are also boat tours -- I've never done it but it looks to be fun. And there are architectural walks but I think that, again, it could easily become too taxing.

I'm envious. Chicago in the summer, it's just so sweet.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:27 AM on August 13, 2017

Thank you all for the suggestions. The Botanic Garden sounded perfect, except one of our party was not into it at all. But that will be my go-to next time, when we will be able to enjoy it at our leisure. The Art Institute would be great but I was afraid even the mist minimal visit would be too much for our relative.

We ended up going to Oak Park and doing a sort of improvised driving tour of our own creation of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. We could drive up by each one, and I read aloud descriptions/information from my iPad. A pretty small-scale outing, in the end, but everyone liked it, and a bonus for our relative was that he got to see a part of the city he hadn't seen in probably decades.
posted by leticia at 11:31 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

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