10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Chicago is an amazing city and I have called this city home for the past 30 years. I moved to Chicago with one big blue suitcase the day after I graduated from high school and have lived here (except for our year on expat assignment in China) for my entire adult life. I went to college in Chicago, I have worked here, I met my husband and got married and now I live in the suburbs and am raising my children in The Windy City. There is something about the first sight of the city when you are driving into her that still to this day takes my breath away each time and I am instantly filled with happiness. I love Chicago.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Chicago has so much to offer my family with outdoor adventures, a variety of attractions, arts and amazing museums, the culture and history, tours, sports and shopping and more. In addition, there are quite literally some of the best restaurants in the nation right here in Chicago. I can find some of the best places to eat, drink and have fun right in my hometown.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
  • The Field Museum 1400 S Lake Shore Dr
  • Museum of Science and Industry 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr
  • The Art institute of Chicago 111 S Michigan Ave, 159 East Monroe Street
  • Adler Planetarium 1300 S Lake Shore Dr
  • Chicago Children's Museum 700 E Grand Ave
  • Peggy Notebaert Natural Museum 2430 N Cannon Dr
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Millennium Park

In the heart of Chicago is a beautiful 24-acre park. This popular park has a three-story steel sculpture called Cloud Gate or The Bean. It is a local fav and a spot we pretty much go to every time we are in the city. This is a huge tourist attraction and everyone who visits from out of town wants me to take them here. Right next to The Bean is the Crown Fountain where my kids love to splash and run around. Enjoy Lurie Gardens and then walk across the BP Pedestrian Bridge to Maggie Daley Park and let loose. Maggie Daley Park features activities including a climbing wall, tennis courts, ice skating ribbon, interactive kids play areas, picnic groves, splash pads and more.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

In the summer, Millennium Park comes alive with concerts and daily activities for kids. A visit to Millennium Park in the summer would not be complete without attending a Grant Park Music Festival concert held in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion June through August. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic on the lawn.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
  • Millennium Park open 365 days a year and free. 201 E. Randolph Street • Chicago
  • Maggie Daley Park 337 E Randolph Dr
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion Millennium Park
  • Lurie Garden Millennium Park
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Visit the Zoo

A favorite summer activity is to visit the zoo. We actually go a number of times during the summer and my kids have the layout memorized now. There is a zoo in downtown Chicago that is quite popular with local city families, The Lincoln Park Zoo. The best part is it is FREE! There is also a zoo out in the suburbs, The Brookfield Zoo, and this is the one we frequent the most.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
  • Lincoln Park Zoo is open daily and free. 2001 North Clark Street • Chicago
  • Brookfield Zoo is open 365 days a year!  3300 Golf Rd • Brookfield

 

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Picnic in the Park

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the concert lawn at Millennium Park are both perfect locations for a picnic and a concert. Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks has its tour in two neighborhoods, giving more families across all sides of the city access to free Shakespeare. You could also walk down the Chicago Lakefront Trail and look for a spot there as there are numerous locations along this 17 mile strip.

  • Millennium Park 201 East Randolph Street Between Michigan Avenue & Columbus Avenue
  • Maggie Daley Park 337 E Randolph Dr
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion Millennium Park
  • Lurie Garden Millennium Park
  • Grant Park Jackson Drive & Columbus Drive
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Hunt for Dinosaurs at The Field Museum

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

While Sue, the largest, best-preserved T-Rex on the planet, is the star of The Field Museum, the new Creatures of Light exhibit, with interactive features like iPad games and a glow-worm cave, will wow kids as well. There will be a NEW dinosaur exhibit and the new dinosaur and Sue are expected to be unveiled in 2018 in celebration of the The Field Museum's 125th anniversary.  A touchable cast of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered, {a cast will be made from the fossil bones of the Patagotitan mayorum, a giant, long-necked herbivore from Argentina. It is part of a group of dinosaurs called titanosaurs} and the museum's star attraction, the T. Rex named Sue, will be moved to her own gallery.

The Field Museum 1400 S Lake Shore Dr

See Fish at the Shedd Aquarium

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

The Shedd Aquarium has more than 32,000 animals representing 1,500 species, aquatic presentations including Waters of the World, Caribbean Reef, Amazon Rising, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, Amphibians special exhibit, the aquatic show and Stingray Touch experience,  special programs and more! The Shedd Aquarium has plenty for local families and visiting families to explore. Two things not to miss: The aquatic show with dolphins, whales, and sea otters AND the beluga whales -- they are gorgeous!

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Shedd Aquarium  1200 S. Lake Shore Drive

Walk the Ledge

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

First you hop onto an elevator that is America's fastest elevators, that will take you 1,000 feetin 40 seconds going 20 mph! Then you will soar 1,000 feet over Michigan Avenue, 360 CHICAGO is one of the city’s most unique attractions. Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, 360 CHICAGO offers amazing views of Chicago’s skyline and the lakefront. It’s also the only place you can enjoy TILT – Chicago’s highest thrill ride. This one-of-a-kind marvel tilts guests off the side of the building and provides the most thrilling views of Chicago.

  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck  875 N Michigan Ave, 94th Floor
  • Tilt 875 N Michigan Ave Within Chicago 360

Ride on a Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Take a spin on the iconic Centennial Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. The Centennial Wheel soars to heights of about 200 feet, and gives a 360-degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. The pier is also home to Chicago's Children's Museum and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. There really is so much to do at Navy Pier. You could literally spend the entire day here is you like. There is an IMAX theater, loads of shopping and restaurants and a funhouse maze. On cold, winter days you could stroll through the Crystal Gardens which is upstairs and a beautiful indoor, one‐acre, botanical garden. The pier is about 2000 feet long, so you can really have a great day here.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
  • Navy Pier 600 E. Grand Ave Navy Pier
  • Chicago's Children's Museum 700 E Grand Ave
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theatre 800 E. Grand Ave

Take A Cruise at Navy Pier

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

Whilst at Navy Pier you could simply hop on a sightseeing boat ride or a dinner cruise. We have taken a number of the sightseeing cruises and always have a great time. Whether to take in the architecture of this great city of Chicago and the shore line or simply to enjoy the fireworks in the evening; a cruise is always a great time. During a 90-minute tour, docents deliver cool facts about 50 buildings along the Chicago River.

Navy Pier 600 E Grand Ave Navy Pier Departing from Navy Pier and from Michigan Avenue

Shopping The Magnificent Mile

Chicago's Magnificent Mile has endless shopping! The Magnificent Mile is anchored by three major shopping centers, North Michigan Shops, Water Tower Place and the Shops at North Bridge. The Magnificent Mile is a 13-block stretch on North Michigan Avenue that runs from the the Chicago River to Oak Street for about a full square mile. There are more than 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 60 hotels and everything else you could possibly think of in the way of entertainment.  Bring your camera!

  • Magnificent Mile  North Michigan Avenue
  • American Girl Doll Place 835 N Michigan Ave, Water Tower Place
  • North Michigan Shops 900 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Water Tower Place 835 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Shops at North Bridge  520 N. Michigan Avenue

Broadway in Chicago

Make sure to get your tickets early for a show in Chicago, as tickets really do sell out ahead of time. Do no leave your kiddos behind either!! My kids adore going to the live theatre. There are so many benefits for your children when exposing them to the arts! Head to Broadway in Chicago and be transported! On Saturdays, you have the opportunity to take a tour of the Ford Center Performing Arts theater for free if you have time to squeeze this tour into your scheudle.

10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra 220 S Michigan Ave
  • Chicago Theatre 175 N. State Street
  • Civic Opera House 20 N Wacker Dr
  • Blue Man Group Briar Street Theatre 3133 N. Halsted
  • Goodman Theatre 170 North Dearborn
  • Cadillac Palace Theatre 151 W. Randolph
  • Ford Center for the Arts 24 W. Randolph Street
  • The Apollo Theater 2540 N. Lincoln Ave.
10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago

This is just a list of 10 Things to Do with Kids In Chicago, but there are so many, many more things to do in this amazing city! Have you been to Chicago?

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago?