The Best Kid-Friendly Activities in Chicago
Chicago gets its nickname from its famously blustery weather, but the Windy City is much more than just hot (or very cold) air. With a skyline and history that will surely amaze (after all, it gave the world the first skyscraper), it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Chicago’s rich culture, history and design will keep your family busy for days. Parents will enjoy marveling 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 a Broadway show.
With all that running around the city, you’ll need to refuel. Luckily, Chicago is a city with an appetite. A top city among foodies, look forward to tucking into everything from world-class restaurants to 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.
What to Do?
- Play on the Pier. Besides offering its iconic Ferris wheel, you can ride a carousel, see an IMAX film, watch summer fireworks, and get lost in a maze that appeals to all the senses at Amazing Chicago. Exciting effects like magic mirrors and rotating tunnels of light make exploring the Fun House a real adventure.
- Make Way for Museums. Chicago’s Museum Campus is made up of the city’s biggest museums: the She’d Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum. Located within steps of each other, families can easily spend a day seeing all three. Or head over the Chicago Children’s Museum for interactive play, as well as Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for nature-inspired play spaces.
- Get the Best Views. Chicago is home to not one but two towering skyscrapers with observation decks providing 360-degree views the city and beyond. At the John Hancock Building on the Magnificent Mile, you can “Tilt” out 1,000 feet above the streets on its special attraction, while at the Willis Tower, you can step out above the streets, if you are brave!
- Get Wild. Visit the free Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the country. Kids can enjoy country life in the city at the Farm-in-the-Zoo next door, and play in the Family Children’s Zoo. Another zoo, Brookfield Zoo, is a216-acre nature park open year-round.
- American Girl Place. The flagship home of American Girl Dolls, girls can shop for dolls and have their hair styled in the salon. Meanwhile, parents can while away the waiting time by having afternoon tea or enjoying American Girls Revue in the theater. Tip: Book in advance, as there are long waiting times.
Best time to go: Chicago is warm from April through October, just be aware that prices rise during peak summer months of June-August.