Art Can Be Cool in the Heat

It’s important to me that my kids appreciate museums.

Anna Burgess Yang
4 min readJul 21, 2019


Toddler Looks at the Thorne Miniature Rooms

As we were faced with an “excessive heat warning” over the past few days, I did two things that most people might consider crazy:

  1. I continued to sleep under 5 blankets, because I must have the weight to sleep but really, that’s a whole story by itself…
  2. I took my three kids — ages 9, 7, and “almost” 2 — to the Art Institute of Chicago, by myself.

Yesterday, the heat index put us at a “real feel” of around 105 degrees in Chicagoland. We aren’t people who would do well being cooped up in the house all day, and I could foresee some type of explosion if that happened.

My husband had to focus on a project for work, so I decided it would be best if the rest of us left the house. And what place sounded nice and cool on such a hot day, AND had the added bonus of absorbing most of the morning and afternoon? A trip into the city to visit the Art Institute.

I completed my Saturday morning shopping per usual with the toddler, and upon arriving home, I packed up water bottles and apples and threw the three kids into the car, amid protests that their electronic handheld 3DS was not fully charged and might not survive the trip, and requests that I change the DVD in the minivan thirty seconds after pulling out of the driveway.

The trek into Chicago is about 45 minutes with zero traffic issues, and that wasn’t this morning so we rolled into the parking garage after about an hour. It was close to 11:00 am by that time and I knew we had two choices: immediately go to the wretched food court inside the Art Institute, where the service on the made-to-order food is always bad and if we don’t go immediately at 11:00, we would spend an inordinate amount of time as it got busier and busier, all for food that is on par with an airport food court. Or, I could spend far less money at the Cosi across the street from the museum.

I chose the latter, and we made that our first stop. The Cosi was shockingly dingy for being located in such a prime spot on Michigan Avenue. The toddler dumped water all over her tray. Some 1950s television drama I’ve never seen was blaring on giant TVs in the background, with a wild west theme and guns blazing, so…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •