There are so many fun activities kids will love to do in Chicago, it can be hard to decide what to do! Chicago offers a variety of entertainment for the entire family. From world-famous museums to beautiful urban parks, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions for you and your kids. Chicago also offers many free activities throughout the year, including concerts by acclaimed local and international musicians, art exhibits, theatrical performances and film screenings. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Chicago, check out our list of our favorite activities for kids.
It’s also a relatively easy city to get around, especially with kids, as many of the major attractions are concentrated in downtown Chicago. To highlight all that Chicago has to offer, we scoured the streets to find the best activities for parents and children of all ages.
Here Are 20 of the Best Chicago Places for Families and Kids, Whether Locals or First-time Visitors.
Chicago Food Planet
I’ve always wanted to go on a food tour but wasn’t sure how it would be with kids. Looks good! We chose the right tour, which was about classic Chicago food (deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, roast beef sandwiches), which is also a favorite of the kids.
The tour lasted 3 hours and we walked about 1 1/2 miles around Chicago, stopping at various restaurants to sample food and some Chicago landmarks, where our guide gave us a great history lesson about Chicago and the food we experienced.
It was good to include a lot of history and interesting facts about Chicago’s history as well as how these foods became Chicago classics.
The Field Museum
Meet SUE, the world’s largest T-Rex, at this renowned science and anthropology museum. You and your family will travel through time and the world at this magnificent exhibition and many others. What’s New for 2018 – SUE moves into their “Room of Thrones”, giving them a dedicated space and room for new creatures bigger than the T-Rex! In addition to these educational and inspiring exhibits, young children can enjoy an “interpretation station” that hosts hands-on activities such as writing ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
It can also appeal to older children, such as China’s Cyrus Tang Hall, which details thousands of years of Chinese history, or the Evolving Planet exhibit, which explores 4 billion years of planet Earth’s history. Exhibits can be found here.
Escape Game Chicago
If you’re looking for a unique and fun indoor activity for the whole family, check out Escape Games! You are given 60 minutes to enter the room and figure out how to get out. We really enjoyed doing this as a family and we loved how the kids were able to help us and be a part of the solution.
Shedd Aquarium is known as one of the best places to visit with kids in Chicago. It is full of exhibits for children and explores topics they will find interesting and educational. For example, in the World Aquarium, you can see the most interesting creatures of the underwater world through the eyes of a diver. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to see belugas, lunar jellyfish, parrots, sharks and even giant octopuses.
Other popular viewing areas include the Caribbean Reef and Polar Play Area, which highlights important marine habitats and offers a variety of interactive fun. Shedd Aquarium’s eight unique exhibits offer kids the chance to become explorers for a day.
Experience outer space at America’s first planetarium. Let your child become a space traveler at Planet Explorers, the most exciting exhibit the museum has ever offered. Also be sure to check out Planet Nine, their newest and most exciting show that follows the search for a new ninth planet.
Watch the stellar space show in one of the museum’s three fully equipped theaters. And don’t let the fun stop when you leave; step out to Adler’s North or South Terraces for sweeping views of the Chicago skyline. You’ll like photos of kids with Lake Michigan or the Chicago skyline.
The Chicago River is a great place to walk and will take you through the city. There are great restaurants, ice cream shops, shops and beautiful Chicago architecture. In addition, you can take a boat trip on the water or even rent kayaks.
360 CHICAGO is a popular observation deck on the 94th floor of the iconic John Hancock Tower on Michigan Avenue. Stunning views of Lake Michigan, Navy Pier (Looking for a Ferris Wheel), the cityscape and surrounding suburbs. There are also many attractive and engaging exhibits that uncover Chicago’s history. Do you have adventurous children? We recommend that you buy a ticket to take advantage of Tilt! The Magnificent Mile can be seen below, with floors, walls and ceilings descending at a 30-degree angle.
In winter, check out the skating rink at Maggie Daley Park. It’s a beautiful ice rink – it’s not an ice rink with a curved path in a circle. Get amazing views of downtown Chicago while skating. It’s a bit pricey at $15 per skate rental (even for kids), but if you have skates it’s free!
They have a kiosk space with picnic tables outside the tables. But they have Jamboni who come several times throughout the day and make ice cream for an hour. Then the spring closes in the meantime. . . It’s frustrating when you arrive when class is just starting!
Also, Chicago is known as the City of the Winds, so dress accordingly.
Children Museum Chicago
Among dozens of restaurants and shops, the Navy Pierce Family Pavilion houses the Children’s Museum of Chicago (CCM). CCM is a first-class museum of play and learning for families with children under the age of 10.
A particularly popular exhibit is the “Dinosaur Expedition,” where little kids can explore the real fossils that contain the remains of the giant Suchomimus. (a large fish-eating dinosaur) was found. The Tinkering Lab is ideal for creative kids, providing a space to invent and create anything they want using tools and materials suitable for all ages.
While in the area, visit the Navy Pier IMAX Theater to see remastered Hollywood hits on a 60-foot screen. Explore the famous Crystal Gardens, a huge indoor botanical garden with over 70 life-size palm trees just beyond the pavilion.
If there is a sports lover in your home, you will definitely want to visit Wrigley Field and catch a game if you can!
Who doesn’t like Lego? Lots of activities to do here with the kids. Bring the whole family to this indoor LEGO wonderland filled with exciting interactive exhibits that bring kids’ favorite toys to life. LEGOLAND’s most popular attractions include the 4D cinema, Kingdom Quest laser tours and model building demonstrations.
Kids will love MINILAND, an interactive LEGO world made especially for kids! Although these rides are designed specifically for young children, older children and teens still enjoy the opportunity to play with their favorite bricks.
Chicago has over 70 neighborhoods and exploring one of them was fun! It was still a bustling neighborhood with people coming and going, but it felt more like a small town than the skyscrapers in the city center.
I browsed the toy store full of fun and unique toy collections. Some of them were invented by the people of Chicago.
So I went to the Women and Children First bookstore, which has amazing books focused on female authors and themes. And a bakery with a unique and delicious chocolate collection. All these stores were perfect for kids!
Spend a day at Chicago’s largest zoo and see some of the world’s most adorable and adorable animals. This 216-acre nature park features a variety of animals, plants and animal-themed rides for kids to do. Ride the Motor Safari Tram to explore Big Bear Wilderness and don’t forget to see butterflies! Exhibition.
Little kids will especially love the Family Play Zoo, where they can explore and play at their own pace. You can also play the role of a keeper, dress up as a playful lemur and get creative with animal-themed crafts.
Tall Ship Windy
Ride aboard Navy Pier’s traditional 148-foot four-mast schooner for an unforgettable maritime adventure with your family. Whether you’re new to open water or more experienced, you won’t want to miss this unique view of Chicago. Boat lovers will never forget this unforgettable experience.
Get unparalleled views of the Chicago skyline as you learn about the history and practices of sailing from Wendy’s knowledgeable and creative team. After a brief briefing, practice raising the sails yourself. Don’t forget the room!
Science and Industry Museum
Kids will love exploring the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. Packed with exciting hands-on exhibits, fun hands-on activities and educational films, this museum is an educational paradise for children of all ages.
Museum highlights include a 40ft tornado replica, a real WWII German submarine, 727 aircraft, a fully featured eco house and more! This is the perfect attraction for curious people. The museum was also recently ranked as one of the top 25 museums in the United States.