North America

Chicago: Amazing Things to do with Kids

Last updated 12th April 2019

Why go?

Chicago gets its nickname from its famously blustery weather, but the Windy City is much more than just hot air. The city was built to exceed expectations (after all, it gave the world the skyscraper) and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

Chicago’s rich culture, history and design will keep your family busy for days. Mums and dads will enjoy marvelling at cutting-edge architecture, taking in the gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and soaking up the legendary blues scene. For younger visitors, there’s a host of world-class museums to explore, plus the chance to cheer on the local baseball team or sing along to Broadway show.

With so much dashing around, you’re going to need nourishment, so it’s a good thing Chicago is a city with an appetite. Look forward to tucking into Italian beef sandiwches, piled-high hotdogs and of course, Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizzas. However you choose to get your kicks, this impressive city offers endless options for keeping your family entertained and happy.


Amazing Chicago

Get lost in a maze that appeals to all the senses. Exciting effects like magic mirrors and rotating tunnels of light make exploring the Fun House a real adventure.
Opening times: In the summer, Mon–Thu and Sun 10am–10pm, Fri, Sat 10am–midnight.
Price: Entrance to the maze costs $9.95.
Address: 600 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier. Tel. 6309 90 45 70.
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American Child Care Service

With this trustworthy and very reliable agency especially for tourists, professional (and insured!) babysitters look after the little ones in your hotel.
Price: $16.50/hour; minimum four hours, plus agency fee $21.
Address: 445 E. Ohio St. Tel. 312 6 44 73.
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American Girl Place

In this unique restaurant, theatre and theme shop in one, girls can shop for dolls and have their hair styled in the salon. Meanwhile, mums and dads can while away the waiting time by having afternoon tea or enjoying American Girls Revue in the theatre. Tip: Book in advance, as there are long waiting times.
Opening times: Mon–Thu 10am–noon, Fri, Sat 9am–9pm, Sun 9am–6pm.
Address: 835 N. Michigan Ave. Tel. 877 2 47 52 23.
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Chicago Children’s Museum                                            

This attraction is designed with children in mind, so little ones can learn while having fun – and best part is, everything can be touched. Kids will build little dams, design fountains and splash around in the Water Ways exhibit, and clamber about on the three-storey high sailing ship. Children under the age of five will love running about in model city, ‘Playmaze’.
Opening times: Daily 10am–5pm.
Price: Entrance fee $12, Thu 5pm– 8pm free admission.
Address: 700 E. Grand Ave.
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Chicago Kids Company

The group provide imaginative theatre for children up to the age of 12; usually fairy-tale musicals with colourful settings and actors in fascinating costumes. The audience is allowed to sing along and is drawn into the action. Performance times and prices vary.
Address: Copernicus Gateway Theatre, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. Tel. 773 2 05 96 00.
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Fantasy Kingdom

In this kingdom created especially for pre-school children, kids will discover everything from a medieval castle to a police station.
Opening times: Mon–Fri 9am–5.30pm (June–Aug 9am–3pm)
Price: $12 per child, adults free
Address: 1422 N. Kingsbury St. Tel. 312 6 42 54 37.
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McDonald’s at Navy Pier

A McDonald’s, but one with a difference – with laser-light shows, videos and computer games. You’ll find the usual Big Macs and McNuggets on the menu, as well as a few surprises.
Opening times: Daily 8am–9pm
Address: 600 E. Grand Ave. Tel. 312 8 32 16 40

The Lowdown

Best time to go: Chicago is warm from April through to October, just be aware that prices rise during peak summer months of June-August.

Travel time: Flights from London to Chicago take approximately eight hours and 20 minutes. 

How to get there: Fly direct with Virgin Atlantic from all London airports to Chicago; from £599 return.

Top tips: Read a Marco Polo travel guide before you go on your family holiday.