There are many great activities to experience Chicago with your family. Below are some suggestions of our favorite family friendly things to do in the Windy City!
Check out our Chicago Visitors Guide, with budget advice, travel guides, and information about local Chicago attractions
Go to a game!
Chicago is proud to have many sports teams. We have the the Bulls (basketball), the Blackhawks (hockey), the Fire (soccer), the Bears (football) and TWO cross-town baseball teams: the Cubs and the Sox. Going to a sporting event can be a fun way to connect to the local spirit. You can’t beat a baseball game in the summer complete with peanuts and cracker jacks! Fun Fact: Cracker Jacks were first debuted at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
Go to a show!
There are many touring shows in and out of Chicago through Broadway in Chicago or a Hot Tix Booth. Here are some tips to find discount tickets. There are a few fantastic local shows that are consistently here in Chicago. Comedy Sportz is known for their hilarious short-form improv shows. They aren’t allowed to swear or use adult content at all! (In fact, they are penalized in competition if they do!) Barrel of Monkey’s performs a family-friendly show called “That’s Weird Grandma” every Monday night that will get everyone to giggle. If your kiddo’s are very young, try Emerald City Theatre Company or the Chicago Children’s Theatre.
Go to the Park!
Chicago has many public parks throughout the entire city that range in size and activities! Grant park is a great place to discover art, the Buckingham Fountain, and a fantastic skate park. Maggie Daley Park has a carnival-like theme with huge play structures and a playful maze-like garden. Lincoln Park boasts many historic statues and has plaques that will lead you through the park. Families can explore Millennium Park with this self-guided tour. Many of the parks seasonally host free Movies in the Park or fun activities like Zumba and Yoga for kids!
There is nothing more lovely than biking along Lake Michigan to enjoy the skyline of Chicago. It is easy to rent a bike, check out this blog for the details. The best part is that a lot of these companies have family bikes too! This is an activity that can be fun, healthy, and even a way to get to other places. Here is a self-guided biking tour!
Go to the Zoo!
Our downtown Lincoln Park zoo is free and easily access by car, bus, or even bike! You can explore the nearby marsh to discover the local wildlife with the kiddos and possibly grab a snack at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings during the summer. The Lincoln Park zoo is also near a bustling area of neat shops, local ice cream, and hot dog joints. We also have the Brookfield Zoo which is definitely worth the commute!
Go to a Festival or Event!
Chicago is constantly hosting festivals and events which are often geared to families. Local libraries often have free story time or even crafting events for youngsters. Another great resource is the Cultural Center that often hosts live music for kids.
Go to a Themed Restaurant or Park!
Not too far from the city, there are a few really neat theme parks. Six Flag Great America is a favorite for older kids since it has amazing roller coasters. With admission, there is an attached water park called Hurricane Harbor. Key Lime Cove is an indoor water park nearby if you are looking for fun in the winter. There is also a Medieval Times nearby if you want to enjoy a meal while watching knights joust.
Go to Navy Pier!
Chicago’s number one tourist destination is Navy Pier! It is a great place to bring the whole family. There are rides, games, food, and shopping! It is also the home of the Chicago Children’s museum that has loads of interactive exhibits.
There is an IMAX movie theatre, often live music, and fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summertime.