Rooftop bars, kayaking and tacos at the beach: A blueprint for a Chicago adventure

CHICAGO — The last time my son and I roamed this sparkling lakefront city together, he was wearing a Minnesota Vikings Santa hat and matching pajama pants and getting heckled at Soldier Field.

It was a surprise trip to celebrate his 11th birthday, tickets to a Chicago Bears-Vikings showdown the main attraction. (The Vikings lost.)

Fast forward nearly nine years. We reprised the mother-son adventure a few weeks before he starts back to college in Arizona and three months after I moved here as an empty nester.

Jack and I traversed the city for four days, logging nearly 40 miles on foot and bike. It was more about spending time together outside — something not possible in Phoenix in the summer — than it was about checking off every tourist attraction and deep dish pizza place. We’d already hit most of the latter on a family fall break trip when he was in grade school.

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