Members make connections with other neighborhood families who are often the most informative sources on local activities, restaurant and entertainment. "Connecting with the Near West Family Network was one of the best things we did," says Joe Connolly.
Take advantage of being in the city.
From dragon boat races to ethnic festivals, there's always something going on — and you can leave your car at home, says Joe. "Hopping on the Rapid gets you to many places really quick," he adds.
Be adventurous, but be respectful of other patrons.
Joe and Cynthia Connolly have taken their kids to some of the most popular restaurants on West 25th Street — but only during the off-hours. "You only know how your kids will behave in public if you take them out in public," says Cynthia. "Be practical. Don't take your kids to Flying Fig at 8:30 on a Saturday night."
And pack light.
"No one wants to see a large suburban stroller coming in the door," she adds.
Strike up conversations at playgrounds.
If a dad is pushing his child on a swing at the local park, he lives close by. "Families in the neighborhood really try to support each other and are quick to share information they've learned," says Joe.