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Top Spots for 'Tweens and Teens In Chicago

Teen Concierge Cynthia Waldmeier knows the coolest boutiques in Lincoln Park and the trendiest sushi restaurants in the city. Equipped with iPod fix-it kits, lip balm, and popular DVDs, this teen concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago revealed her top picks for teens and ‘tweens in the windy city.

“It’s their vacation, too,” Waldmeier says of teens visiting Chicago with their families. “Teens have their own ideas of a fun getaway, and we try to make sure their stay exceeds their expectations.”

Tourist destinations including Navy Pier, the John Hancock Observatory and Shedd Aquarium are always a hit, but Waldmeier has the scoop on local attractions to ensure teens and their families have a truly unique, Chicago experience. Here's the dish on Cynthia's top spots for 'tweens and teens in Chicago:

Where To Eat:

Best Place to Enjoy Sushi: Kamehachi, 240 East Ontario Street. Cynthia says: “They have a really cool underground atmosphere. It’s like you are going into this cave where you sit down to enjoy delicious sushi rolls.”

Best Sweets in City: Sweet Mandy B’s, 1208 West Webster Avenue Cynthia says: “The vintage café is so cute and their cupcakes and sweets are to die for.”

Best Place for Something Different: L’Appetito, 875 North Michigan Avenue. Cynthia says: “They have great panini – but leave room for the gelato, an Italian favorite.”

Best Place for a Chicago hot dog: Downtown Dogs, 804 North Rush Street Cynthia says: “A trip to Chicago is not complete without a Chicago hot dog. Downtown Dogs has a great menu and is within walking distance for our guests.

Best Place for Chicago-style Pizza: Giordano’s, 730 North Rush Street Cynthia says: “At Giordano’s you can place your order while you wait for a table – which is important for young eaters who are low on patience.”

Where to Shop

Best Place for Jeans: The Denim Lounge, 940 N. Rush Street Cynthia says: “They carry all the popular brands as well as fun T-shirts.”

Best Place for Sunglasses: Active Endeavors, 935 West Armitage Avenue Cynthia says: “They have a great selection and carry a lot of trendy, hard-to-find styles.”

Best Place for CD’s and DVD’s: Virgin Megastore, 540 North Michigan Avenue Cynthia says: “They have their own deejay and listening stations – not to mention three floors of the hottest music, latest movies and even those rare titles you can never find.”

Best Place for Jewelry and Handbags: Francesca’s Collections, 2012 North Halsted Street and 1154 Lill Studio, 904 W. Armitage Avenue Cynthia says: “Francesca’s has a wall-to-wall jewelry collection of fun and sophisticated styles. If you can’t find it there, it’s not going to happen. At 1154 Lill Studio, you can design your own handbag which is something different and a fun activity for teens and their moms.”

Best Place for Cosmetics: Sephora, Water Tower Place/Shops at Northbridge Cynthia says: “They have free samples of just about everything so that you and your girlfriends can give one another makeovers.”

Where to Play

Best Scenic Beach Spot: Oak Street Beach Cynthia says: “Right behind you is Chicago’s awesome skyline.”

Best Recreational Beach Spot: North Avenue Beach Cynthia says: “Here you can join in a volleyball game or rent a bike for a scenic lakefront tour.”

Best Cultural Spot: The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue Cynthia says: “It may not sound like kid-pleaser, but the guys love the Arms and Armor collection and the girls love The Thorne Miniature Rooms. Plus the gift shop has posters of their popular art. Teens will also enjoy the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum and the U-505 Submarine exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.”

Best City Park: Millennium Park, 222 North Columbus Drive Cynthia says: “Where else can you get soaked by interactive fountains of faces that spew water?”

Best Snapshot Spot: Outside the Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive Cynthia says: “It’s a picture-perfect spot with a spectacular view of Chicago’s skyline and Lake Michigan.”

The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago debuted the Teen Concierge program last year in an effort to cater to older children and teens who have different expectations for a fun vacation. “If their kids aren’t having a good time, then neither are their parents,” says Assistant Chef Concierge Judith Mahler. “Our Teen Concierge program helps us ensure a memorable experience for everyone in the family.”

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