Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament Chicago

It had been many years since I had been to Medieval Times Chicago castle, so on the holiday break I gathered up the family and we made our way to the cool castle in Schaumburg. I tell everyone that if you have never been there, it's something you really need to experience at least once. 

Now that we have a houseful of teens, it turned out to be something that they really enjoyed. Dragging teenage boys away from the Xbox isn't easy, but they had no complaints as I shared our plans. And from a mom's perspective, it was a tad more enjoyable than when I took them as toddlers. It can be hard to find things that teenagers get excited about doing with their parents and I was really happy we were able to work this into the Christmas break itinerary.

The place is designed and styled like a castle so you really feel like you've gone back in time a bit when you're there. The king, queen, knights and all the others working at the castle stay in character throughout the night, referring to guests as "My Lady" and "My Lord" in an old English accent. 

As you enter you are assigned to a seating section and it's your job to cheer on the knight in the color corresponding to your section - the green section roots for the green knight, red for the red knight, etc. We had the black and white knight.

As they start bringing out the beverages and meal, the show begins. It's full of color and pageantry and music and bright lights and stuns the senses. The meal is served Medieveal-style sans silverware, but it's stuff you can easily eat with just your hands. It begins with a tomato bisque a.k.a Dragon's Blood Soup. Let me make my plea right now to the royalty at the castle to PLEASE start selling this stuff in one-quart to-go containers as you leave. I love this stuff.

A couple years ago their PR firm sent out a release to media that included the recipe. I posted it (click here for recipe) on the blog and it has received many views. I still haven't tried to replicate it at home, but I suspect it just wouldn't taste quite the same if you weren't sitting in a castle sipping it out of a metal bowl with a piece of garlic toast for dipping.

While you eat your feast with your fingers, there's a feast for your eyes in the arena with horses and knights and a royal falcon and swords and more. And if you haven't been to the castle in a while, you'll notice a change in the script - it's now the queen calling the shots during the show rather than the king.

Outside the arena in the lobby you can get a number of beverages in fun, take-home glasses, shop for souvenirs or grab a pic with your favorite knight after the show. It's an evening of excitement you won't find anywhere else in the Chicago area. 

You'll find deals on the website and Facebook page - and in your email if you sign-up for special offers. It's a fun place to spend a special occasion, like a birthday, but it's also a great way to just spend a dreary Thursday evening in mid-winter. There are also nine other castles around the U.S. and in Canada, so if you're traveling, it's a cool activity to work into your vacation. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit

**Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary admission. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.