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Chicago is a city that I have wanted to visit for a long time – ever since I became addicted to ER many years ago! Unfortunately, I still have not made it to Windy City, but I am feeling even more inspired after reading about what to do in Chicago with kids courtesy of Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip. Hopefully you will find this guide to Chicago for kids useful too!
Chicago is the perfect city to visit with a family any time of year. With its location overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, the city has it all with outdoor adventure, culture, and culinary delights. Families will find there are endless opportunities for fun, but we’re sharing the top 10 things to do in Chicago with kids.
The Museum of Science and Industry has been inspiring creativity since 1933 and kids love returning time and time again. With over 400,000 square feet of hands-on activities, including a World War II submarine, a mirror maze, and a chick hatchery, kids may never want to leave.
The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoo’s in the country and it’s absolutely free! There’s an ape center, children’s zoo, and lion house to explore making it a huge winner of the Chicago attractions for kids. It’s a beautiful place on a sunny day to walk around and enjoy nature and its beautiful creatures.
Kids love visiting Millennium Park because they can run around and enjoy themselves. Visitors will find free concerts throughout the summer and ice skating in the winter.
The Crown Fountain will cool off children who run underneath it and The Bean is the quintessential photo op for all Chicago visitors. Maggie Daley Park is a dream playground with climbing walls, tennis courts, and more.
This is one of my favorite things to do with kids in Chicago. There are several companies offering a boat tour on the Chicago River showcasing the architecture of the city. Learning about the city’s history while cruising along is a fabulous way to spend a couple of hours on a beautiful day.
Even if your kids are not sports fans, take the family to see a game at one of Chicago’s many venues. Cheering on the home team Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, or Bears is a fun way to spend the day and see what the locals are all about!
One of the best ways to see Chicago is from above, so head to the Willis Tower where you can go to the Sky Deck, which offers clear views of 4 states on a cloud free day. Braver souls can head out on The Ledge, a glass balcony that extends four feet out from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower! This is not for the faint of heart!
If you haven’t been to one of the stores in the Eataly chain, make a point to visit the one in Chicago. Eataly has over 20 restaurants spanning two floors, including a pizza restaurant and gelateria.
There’s a market, cooking classes, a wine shop, and a butcher too, but you have to visit just to take it all in. Kids will love the Nutella bar and parents might be overwhelmed, but it will all be in a good way.
A trip to Chicago would be incomplete without a visit to the shores of Lake Michigan – one of the fun places for kids in Chicago. With 26 miles of beaches, it’s easy to find one, but North Avenue beach is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Museum Campus is home to the world renowned, natural history filled, Field Museum and Sue the Dinosaur, the most well preserved and complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever discovered. It also encompasses the Shedd Aquarium which features dolphins, penguins, and even whales for those wanting to learn about life under water.
The third museum is the Adler Planetarium where families can have an out of this world adventure learning about the solar system, the moon, and everything in between. This site is packed full of things for kids to do in Chicago.
Navy Pier is celebrating 100 years of entertainment on the lakefront in 2016 with the opening of its Centennial ferris wheel. The pier is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater, an IMAX Theatre, restaurants, shops, and summer fireworks. With views overlooking Lake Michigan, a ride on the ferris wheel is one to remember.
Final Tip: If your family plans to visit several of the above attractions, look into purchasing a City Pass for admission savings.
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