Chicago: American Girl Place

An overview of what a visit to American Girl Place in Chicago might include

American Girl

My girls are obsessed with American Girl.  Totally obsessed. Before our trip to Chicago, they combed the catalogs, trying to decide what they would buy when we arrived at The American Girl Place, where all of their dreams would come true.  On the drive to Chicago, when they asked when we’d get there, they were not referring to the city, or our hotel, or anywhere but American Girl Land.

So, on our first train ride into the city, where we planned to eat “lunch” at Ghirardelli (that would be my husband’s obsession, or at least, one of them), they begged and begged and begged to just see The American Girl Place first.  Since Ghirardelli is a short walk away, we let them.

And we couldn’t tear them away.

They have arrivedWindow shoppingWindow Shopping 3Window Shopping 2

Finally, the promise of really good ice cream for lunch (and not even any healthy food!)(don’t judge, we were on vacation) managed to loosen the magnetic pull of the American Girl Wonderland.


But it only lasted until the ice cream was safely in their bellies, and after that it was a marathon to see everything that is in that huge store.

Better than Disney

This is a really bad picture….

After their first purchases were safely made, we headed back out into the real world and took the bus to The Art Institute.

Daddy's American Girls

Don’t worry, though. We went back like three more times. The girls couldn’t stand the thought of not going again. And again. And, well, again.

One of those times was for dinner in The American Girl Cafe. At first we said no way because it isn’t cheap. But, something told us it would not only be worth it, but that it would probably be the highlight of our vacation for the girls. And so we bucked up and forked over the bucks.

I can’t even describe to you how amazing it all was.  While we were waiting in line to check in (reservations required), the xylophone notes were hit and the doors popped open, revealing a pink and white and black world filled with flowers and polka dots and people in pink aprons. It literally made me cry (yes, I’m a little weird that way).

Cute Overload

We were shown to our seats, given little chairs for our three dolls, and served our first course: Cinnamon Buns. Mmmmmmmmm.

Lainie and SophiaMamah, Rebecca, and ChloeBria and Bri-Bri

The table settings were too cute for words: The tiny menus, the hair pretties (we got to keep them) used as napkin rings, and the general fanciness of it all was almost too much to handle.

TablescapeAmerican Girls

Trying to decide what to eat off of the menu was also a bit intimidating!  So many wonderful choices! I ended up with salmon, my older girls ended up with pasta, my husband and my mom ordered a chicken marsala, and my youngest ordered chicken strips. All of it was excellent.

So Many Choices...Deciding

While we waited, the dolls got some tea…

Rebecca and her Tea

…we got some yummy hot chocolate…

Sipping Cocoa

…and we played a question and answer game that came in the middle of the table.

Question/Answer Game

Then we got some lovely appetizers to pass around.

American Girls

And I didn’t take pictures anymore once our food came.  I ate and I enjoyed.  As did the rest of the table.

But then there was dessert.

Now, had I known, I might have called 3 weeks early and paid for the birthday package for my youngest daughter, which includes some fun stuff for her doll and a beautiful cake. But even though I didn’t know, they still put a little candle in our perfectly adorable dessert and sang to her.

Happy Birthday Sophia! (And Lainie)

Do you need a close up of that dessert and its cuteness?  I thought so.

Cute Dessert

We finished up, fully satisfied with the entire experience. Totally worth it, and I highly recommend doing it if you ever have the chance!


And I’m pretty sure my American Girls would agree!

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Oh, my daughter would have been in heaven too at that opportunity. What fun memories! And, those doll chairs are ingenious.


Lara, I grew up as a little girl in Chicago, and I LOVED the American Girl Place. It is magical! I'm so happy for you and your girls. What an amazing memory!


So cute! Thanks for sharing, Lara!

Jenny P.

My daughter would LOVE this, but I think my family would have to divide and conquer and send Dad off with the boys somewhere else. I can already see the boys rolling their eyes…


Yeah. Paying for a memory like that is definitely worth it. Plus, you got some delicious food, too! 🙂

Mendel Markel,

So worth the money. Money goes eventually, so trading it for memories that are everlasting is an amazing investment IMO. I've taken my family to visit friends in Miami for 3 years running. It's not easy financially but I'm so glad we've done it. None of us will ever forget it and I'm sure your kids will always remember that trip. btw, there are actually 3 Joels in that picture lol


Ok, I even got a little emotional. I love how it wraps its little arms around everything I think girl-hood should be (and not Bratz).

How old does P need to be before I get her a doll? 4?


These pictures are absolutely awesome! I love the one with the ice cream drip on Sophia's face 🙂
And your red shirt is so cute!


Oh my goodness, that sounds divine! I loved the American Girl books when I was very young. It sort of has exploded now days. I am not a huge fan of them anymore, but my goodness, I would jump at the chance to eat there just for the fun of it for me! Wow! It is beautiful and gorgeous, and what an experience! I am glad you shelled out for it.

Mom of 12

My girls drool over every catalog that comes to the house. I wish they were a little cheaper. So far, all they get to do is dream about them.


W.O.W – and you know, that memory will be with them for the rest of their lives. What a great family thing to do and that Dad would get into it with them makes it all the more special