Chicago is a fascinating city to visit, and you can do so many fun things with your family here. There's so much to do with kids in Chicago! From world-renowned museums to exciting attractions and fun activities, there's something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
One of the most popular kid-friendly attractions in Chicago is the Shedd Aquarium. Here, families can learn all about marine life and see some of the most amazing creatures in the world up close. The aquarium also offers special programs and events throughout the year, so there's always something new to see and do.
The Field Museum is another must-visit spot for families with kids. This world-class museum is home to millions of specimens, including dinosaurs, mummies, and more. There are also interactive exhibits and educational programs offered throughout the year, making it a great place to learn and have fun at the same time.
If your family enjoys being active, there are plenty of great things to do with kids in Chicago. The city is home to several world-class parks, including Millennium Park and Grant Park. Here, families can enjoy picnicking, biking, walking, and so much more. There are also many playgrounds and kid-friendly recreational facilities scattered throughout the city, so you're sure to find something everyone will enjoy.
And, of course, no trip to Chicago would be complete without taking in a baseball game at Wrigley Field or a basketball game at the United Center. These iconic venues offer families an unforgettable experience and a chance to root for their favorite teams.
Before you an the kids embark on a Windy City adventure, drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Chicago. There's nothing worse than fussing with your suitcases when you should be enjoying yourself. No matter what your family enjoys, you're sure to find plenty of great things to do with kids in Chicago. With so much to see and do, you'll want to come back again and again!
13 things to do with kids in Chicago
If you have just arrived via Union Station or you have come into the city via some other location, you will probably be in a hurry to start having fun! There are so many options that you can enjoy when you are close to the downtown Chicago area that it can be overwhelming to decide what to try out first. This guide will help you to make the most of your days in Chicago, and you will be grateful for the help in narrowing down your planning process each day.
Whether you elect to head to Maggie Daley Park or you decide to visit the Pritzker Family Children's Zoo, you have so many choices to enjoy in this city as a family. The Lake Michigan shore and the Chicago Riverwalk offer you access to peace and quiet within the chaos of the city, and there are usually live music events hosted at various locations in the city during the warmer months of the year. Make sure to take the time for some deep-dish pizza and some kid-friendly play time in the park as well.
Chicago Children's Museum
This location offers three floors of interactive exhibits that your kids will love. The Chicago Children's Museum is located at the Navy Pier, which is a very central area that offers access to a lot of other really fun things to do with your kids. The Chicago Children's Museum is really popular with kids who love dinosaurs, and the Dinosaur Expedition area is a great option for children of all ages. You will also want to be sure that you check out the WaterWays exhibit and the Treehouse Trails. The Chicago Children's Museum is also right by some of the best street food in Chicago, which can make grabbing lunch easy when you are done having fun at the museum itself.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Not only is this a great activity to enjoy with kids, but the Lincoln Park Zoo is also free, which makes it undeniably one of the best free things to do in Chicago. Seeing such a large and interactive zoo with free admission should put this right at the top of your list of things to do with your kids in Chicago. There are lots of animals housed here, and there is a farmer's market on Saturday mornings in the park as well. The weekends can be busy at the zoo, but if you arrive early, you will have a really great time without all the crowds. This is a great park to try some authentic deep-dish pizza at a street vendor as well, so come hungry!
Chicago Children's Theatre
This is one of the largest professional theater companies in the US, and the diverse program of shows here will delight kids of all ages. The shows are affordable and kid-friendly, and you can easily select the right kind of show for your child's age. This is a unique experience because the theater is entirely devoted to kid's shows which allows for a very kid-friendly and special experience. Your kids will be talking about the show that they saw for weeks after you leave and you will have had just as good a time as they did!
The Crown Fountain in Millennium Park is a great place for little kids to cool off in the summer, and there is also a scavenger hunt that can be done by the whole family throughout the park grounds. In the winter, there is ice skating here against the backdrop of the beautiful Chicago skyline. This park also hosts free movies in the park and Zumba and Yoga for kids during the week. Millennium Park is also located near a lot of the city's museums, so you can easily drop by the park location for a break between educational experiences.
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a great place to bring your kids to see beautiful art exhibits for free. This is one of the many free things that you can do in the city, and your kids will love the various exhibits that are aimed at children housed here. While art installations might not be for every kid, you can at least make a stop here to check out some of what the Art Institute offers before moving on to other things your children are begging to do.
Navy Pier is one of the best things to do in Chicago with kids. The Ferris Wheel here is known as the Centennial Wheel, and kids love to ride on it. You will travel 200 feet above the city and the Navy Pier and get stunning views of Chicago as you ride the wheel. There are also lots of great places to eat here, and there is a climbing wall and mini golf on offer as well. The Navy Pier area is kind of like a small adventure park clustered along the pier, and everyone in the family will have fun at this spot.
Chicago Architecture Center
This is a really great venue to check out the works of real-world architects in person. There are family workshops hosted here on a regular basis, as well as a tour that is really engaging. This is a location that kids of all ages can enjoy, and you will not regret dropping in for part of a day.
Lake Michigan offers you access to play structures, the shore, and many food and drink outlets. You will also be able to walk along the 1.5-mile walking loop that follows the edge of Lake Michigan throughout the park. This might not be an ideal adventure when the weather is cold, but when it is nice out, you can spend an enjoyable afternoon here in the outdoors with your family. If you're a family that likes to walk and explore nature, there are plenty of amazing hikes in Chicago that you can take advantage of.
The Chicago River offers lots of fun activities that you can enjoy in Chicago with kids. You can simply walk along the banks and enjoy the sights and sounds, or you can book a tour guide and boat to take you along the river as you see the city from a new perspective. If you have older kids, you might want to rent kayaks and have a kayaking adventure that is like a guided tour with added fun.
Chicago Sports Museum
This is another of the free events that you can enjoy in Chicago with kids. Children who love sports will have a blast here. The Chicago Sports Museum combines high-tech interactive exhibits with sports memorabilia in a really fun way. Young visitors can see if they have the skills to play against the all-time greats, and there is an exhibit that is dedicated just to unsolved sports mysteries that have stumped the experts. This is a fun stop for everyone in the family and one of the most family-friendly events in the city.
Who doesn't love an aquarium? The Shedd Aquarium is fun for all ages, and your kids will love exploring all the various exhibits to different marine life that are housed here. The Shedd Aquarium offers Amazon river tanks, coral and fish, Beluga whales, and sea otters. This is one of the nicest aquariums in the state, and your kids will have a great time here.
Escape Game Chicago
Escape rooms are a ton of fun, and this location offers five themed rooms that you will get 60 minutes to escape from. You will have a lot of fun hurrying to solve a complicated puzzle with the help of your family. If you do escape, you get bragging rights and a victory photo! This is a really good option for families that are traveling with older kids, but even little kids could have a lot of fun helping their older siblings solve puzzles.
Garfield Park Conservatory
This little haven of tropical climate allows you to see tropical fauna and flora even in the winter. Younger kids will love the towering ferns and fanciful flowers here, and this can be a really nice break from the cold if you are in town when the weather is less than ideal.
Outdoor Climbing Park
This fun place is located in Maggie Daley Park, and your kids will have a blast navigating the climbing wall itself, playing on the skating ribbon in the wintertime, or checking out the enchanted forest. There is a wave lawn and also a three-acre play platform here, too. This is one of the most fun things that you can do with kids in Chicago, and your entire family can have a great time here.
What are the best family activities in Chicago?
There are so many family-friendly things to do in Chicago that you probably can't go wrong picking any of these items for your trip activities. You will find that the Climbing Park at Maggie Daley Park is one of the best spots for all-ages fun. Visiting the Navy Pier area is also a great way to spend time with a family that includes kids of varying ages, and the Lincoln Park Zoo is another great choice for family-friendly attractions.
If you have older kids, visiting an escape room location is a great idea, and there are also some really enjoyable malls and other shopping outlets for kids that are at the age to want to buy clothes and other items. Older sports fans will love the Chicago Sports Museum just as much as younger fans, and you will find that many of the parks in the city offer delicious street food that will appeal to all kinds of taste preferences.
Shedd Aquarium is another solid option for family-friendly attractions, and you will want to consider a visit to the Ferris wheel a must-do adventure as well. There is nothing like seeing the skyline from the right vantage point to show you a whole different side of Chicago. If you have visited during the winter, ice skating is offered at various locations throughout the city, and you and your family will have tons of fun participating in this winter sport.
When the weather is fine, consider walking along the Chicago River or head to Lake Michigan for at least part of the day. You will be impressed with these havens of beauty alongside such a big city, and you can take a break from crowds and waiting in lines to just enjoy nature for a while as a group. There's really no end of exciting things to do with kids in Chicago!