33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids


Chicago is one of the most well-known cities in the United States thanks to its famous architectural and cultural attractions, but residents will tell you that it’s also a terrific place to live or visit with kids.

Deep-dish pizza is undoubtedly a favourite of both children and adults, but the Windy City also offers everything from top-notch family-friendly theatre performances to one of the largest aquariums in the world. Because so many of the city’s top attractions are concentrated in its centre, Chicago is also a relatively easy city for families with young children to navigate. We know that there are more than 33 things to do in Chicago but we can guarantee that this list has the best things to do in Chicago with kids.

1. Plan a magical day at this Disney exhibition in Chicago this fall

Make sure to start planning your vacation right away since Chicago will be the venue of a wonderful exhibition in November that will showcase more than 250 precious items from The Walt Disney Company. Disney100: This fall, Disney fans of all ages will be fascinated by The Exhibition, which will be at the Exhibition Hub Art Center Chicago (formerly the Windy City Fieldhouse at 2367 W. Logan Boulevard). Fans will have the chance to see the “Crown Jewels” of the Walt Disney Archives, which are a collection of memorabilia that includes artwork, antiques, costumes, and props.

In November, a stunning exhibit celebrating Disney’s magic will make the whole family want to wear the recognizable mouse ears! Experience in greater detail some of your favourite Disney movies at Disney100: The Exhibition, which includes the newest Pixar, Star Wars, and MARVEL creations in addition to classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Encanto (2021).

2. Visit the Willis Tower

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Daniel Schwen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Historic skyscraper The Willis Tower has come to symbolize Chicago and its dedication to avant-garde design. It held the world record for tallest skyscraper for thirty years. A sky deck with a breathtaking view of the city is located on the skyscraper, formerly known as the Sears Tower.

On the historical sky deck tour, you’ll learn more about the tower and the city. If you don’t mind heights, we recommend standing on the glass box known as the ledge, which extends 4.3 feet from the building and offers amazing views of the city below.

3. Experience the windy city at the Chicago River Cruise

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Bohao Zhao, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Chicago River Cruise, which was founded in 1935, is the go-to place to see the best of the Windy City. It’s a must-do in Chicago with lots of fun things to see and do, especially if you’re travelling with kids. Take your family on its cruise and enjoy the stunning views of the city from the sea. It gives a fun experience to take in Chicago’s downtown and skyline view, whether it’s a sunset cruise or a firework cruise.

Admire the evening starry sky with lit buildings, bridges, and skyscrapers. Also, its boat cruises offer an entertaining and educational opportunity to discover Chitown’s architectural past. Although it may be weather-dependent, it is available all year long.

4. Visit the high-tech Activate Games in Oak Brook

Does the thought of adrenaline and pure excitement make you happier or nervous? if the answer is exciting then we would highly recommend that you visit this brand-new indoor gaming facility in Chicago. Modern Active Sports in Oak Brook blends technology and fitness to entertain the entire family. Families must cooperate to finish these live-action exercises in three minutes, which tests their physical and mental agility.

There are different games like Hoops, Push(which is basically like a kid-friendly version of Squid Game) and another fascinating floor that has colour grids on the floor and you’ll have to walk on the right colours. What we can assure you is an adrenaline-pumping family outing which will give you an unforgettable bonding experience. 

5. Get to see art at The Art Institute of Chicago

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Bryan McDonald, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most stunning cultural hotspots on earth is the Art Institute of Chicago. Under-14-year-olds are admitted free of charge when travelling with you. The institute is large and can be challenging to explore, so go to the Ryan Learning Center to select a mini-tour for the family. Explore the puzzles, games, and children’s literature available in the Vitale Family Room.

6. Get a thrilling experience at the 360 Chicago 

Although both the Chicago River Cruise and the Art Institute of Chicago are excellent choices, 360 Chicago provides beautiful panoramas and thrilling activities.

This stunning observation deck provides amazing panoramic views of Chicago from a height of at least 1,030 feet. It’s on the 94th floor of the 100-story skyscraper known as the John Hancock Building. You can preserve this moment in time by taking a lot of entertaining images with your loved ones. If you want to satiate your urge for adventure, take a ride on the Tilt, one of the highest thrill rides in the nation. Leaning against a strong piece of cutting-edge glass, somebody can observe downward views.

7. Visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another awesome thing to do in Chicago with your kids is visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Children can learn something new while having fun at this wonderful museum, which is a branch of Lincoln Park Museum. The museum’s collection of natural history and ecological artefacts from Illinois is useful.

However, the best fun and the best part for any child would probably be the freedom to splash around in the water tables where they’ll learn about rivers and their beginnings. The butterfly greenhouse will be a big hit with both kids and adults.

8. Take a walk at the The 606 Trail

Many activities that are suitable for families are available at the 606 Trail. This former railroad line has been transformed into a public park. On a nice Chicago evening, you can go riding or stroll about here.

Although this is not Central Park in New York, where you can relax, enjoy a picnic, and visit the zoo, it is still a location where you can admire the ingenuity and be proud of how the city transformed an abandoned land into something lovely. It’s a fantastic location for physical activity, and you could even take the family out cycling early in the morning.

9. Take a ride at the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Evan Nichols (Virtua…, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier is a must-see if you’re trying to decide what to do in Chicago with kids. Although there are other activities available at the Navy Pier, this Chicago landmark should be on every traveller’s itinerary. The wheel is 200 feet tall and provides a breathtaking 360-degree perspective of Lake Michigan and the bustling pier. The enclosed gondolas are secure and provide a clear, stunning perspective that should not be missed.

10. Cool off at the Millennium Park

For families, city trips can be quite pricey. Fortunately, some of the most popular outdoor attractions in Chicago provide free admission, making family travel there affordable. Start at Millennium Park for top-notch cultural activities like free concerts, open-air movie screenings, and seasonal festivals.

Visit the famous Crown Fountain for some splashing fun when you need to cool off. Kids are usually quite excited because of the excitement of water splashing on them.

11. Visit the massive Shedd Aquarium

When taking children to Chicago, a trip to the gigantic Shedd Aquarium is a sure thing. Just inside the front door, the fascinating Caribbean Reef offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of marine life, including vibrant fish, stingrays, sharks, and amiable sea turtles. The amphitheatre’s aquatic performances, which feature beluga whale and dolphin skills, are usually exciting to watch. 

12. The Chicago Children’s Museum 

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

MusikAnimal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Chicago Children’s Museum is a fantastic place for kids under 10 to visit the well-known Navy Pier. The children can have a fun-filled day of play and education by experimenting, doing do-it-yourself tasks, and participating in special trips to find dinosaur skeletons and discover more about them.

Even grownups like me find this exciting, for obvious reasons. This is an excellent museum for your young child if they have a passing interest in science and history.

13. Take a selfie at the bean

The Bean, or Cloud Gate as it is officially known, is one of Chicago’s most recognized structures. You get to see the huge stainless steel sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor, which is located at the entrance to Millennium Park in The Loop if you’re in Chicago with kids.

Its brilliant surface offers several chances to take pictures of you and the city skyline. Also, most children simply enjoy exploring it, making faces, and admiring the unique architecture. This we’d say is a must-do family activity.

14. Visit Garfield Park Conservatory

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Richie D., CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The largest conservatory in the country is the Garfield Park Conservatory. Visitors can tour six greenhouses in the park, which is home to a wide variety of plant species. Two exhibition halls are also available, and they host a number of events every year. Children can participate in hands-on activities, possibly even getting their hands filthy while learning something new, at the conservatory’s weekly sessions.

15. Set sail on a Chicago Architecture River cruise

A peaceful hour or two might be spent on a sightseeing cruise down the Chicago River. Children and adults alike learn about the city’s unique architecture and get a good look at some of the many drawbridges that are regularly raised to let boats pass. Some excursions even sail out onto Lake Michigan to see the city’s skyline.

We can assure you that your children will be won over by the informative discussions from upbeat tour leaders. The best thing to do is to book your spot ahead of time to be able to have space for you and your family. 

16. Take in the Chicago view from the 360 Chicago Observation Deck

A bird’s-eye view of Chicago is available from the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. Your kids will be in awe of the bustling Navy Pier view. See the Willis Tower in Chicago soar in the distance by looking up. Parents might remember it as the Sears Tower before it received its current name. I’ve got a fun fact for your kids. Once, the Willis Tower held the title of tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. That is, up until One World Trade Center in New York filed a claim.

17. See the world’s largest T-Rex at The Field Museum

Come visit SUE, the largest T-Rex in the world, at this famous anthropology and science museum. You and your family will go back in time and around the world at this large display and many more. To provide SUE a dedicated place and to make room for a brand-new creature even bigger than a T-Rex, SUE was moved into her own “throne room”!

The younger children will appreciate “interpretive stations” that host practical activities like writing in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in addition to these instructive and breathtaking presentations. Additionally, there are displays that may interest older kids, such as the Cyrus Tang Hall of China, which explores four millennia of Chinese history, or the Changing Planet exhibit, which investigates four billion years of the history of Planet Earth.

18. Experience outer space at the Adler Planetarium

The first planetarium in America lets you explore space without leaving Chicago. With “Planet Explorers,” the most interactive display the museum has ever provided, you may let your child experience life as a space traveller. Check out “Planet Nine,” their newest and most thrilling sky show, which explores the search for a new ninth planet.

One of the museum’s three full-size theatres will be hosting a fantastic space show. And don’t let the good times end when you leave—step outside onto Adler’s north or south terraces to take in the stunning Chicago skyline. You’ll like taking pictures of the youngsters here with the Chicago skyline or Lake Michigan in the background.

19. LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Who does not enjoy LEGO? Kids can engage in a variety of activities here. Bring the whole family to this truly interactive indoor LEGO wonderland to experience the fascinating displays that truly bring your kids’ favourite toys to life. The Kingdom Quest Laser Ride, the 4-D movie, and the Master Model Builder’s construction demos are a few of LEGOLAND’s most well-liked attractions.

MINILAND, the interactive LEGO universe created particularly for kids, will definitely be a favourite for the kids. The focus of this attraction is on smaller children, although older children and teenagers will still enjoy the chance to play with their favourite blocks.

20. See animals at the Brookfield Zoo

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Fritz Geller-Grimm, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the biggest zoo in Chicagoland for a day and get up close and personal with some of the most lovable and fascinating animals. Your children will have a lot of fun at this 216-acre natural park, which is home to a broad variety of animals, plants, and even an animal-themed carousel.

Take the Motor Safari tram, go through the “Great Bear Wilderness,” then stop by the “Butterflies!” show. Children will especially love the Family Play Zoo, where they can explore and play to their hearts’ content. Children can dress up as playful meerkats, pretend to be zoo keepers, or even use some animal-themed crafts to exercise their imagination.

21. Lincoln Park Zoo & Rides

A popular destination for local families, this tiny urban zoo is located right in the middle of one of Chicago’s most well-known parks. Prominent animals at the Lincoln Park Zoo include the cute Red Pandas in the Kovler Lion House, the entertaining snow monkeys, the newborn snow leopard Taza, and many others.

Also, they provide entertaining activities that children will especially like, such as the spectacular Endangered Species Carousel, which has been skillfully painted, and the Lionel Train Adventure, which will excite all children.

22. Bike and Roll Chicago

Are you seeking nonstop family-friendly activities in Chicago? You’ll burn more calories by biking around the city. Thanks to its 26 miles of uncomplicated lakefront trails, Chicago is a somewhat bike-friendly city.

You can utilise your rental car to go to and from the locations you wish to visit; simply drive north to Lincoln Park, which is home to the zoo and Chicago History Museum, or south to Grant Park and the Museum Campus. Bikes are a fantastic way to keep your kids active and to get the whole family moving.

23. Explore the Museum of Science and Industry

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The biggest science museum in the Western Hemisphere is a great place for kids to explore. This museum is a learning sanctuary for children of all ages since it is filled with interactive exhibits, enjoyable hands-on activities, and instructive films. The museum’s highlights include a 40-foot model tornado, a real German submarine from World War II, a 727 aircraft, a fully operating greenhouse, and much more. For the curious, it’s the perfect attraction. Additionally, a recent TripAdvisor poll selected this museum as one of the top 25 museums in the United States, so you already know you want to visit!

24. Tall Ship Windy

The 148-foot, four-masted historic sailboat from Navy Pier will take you on a sailing trip you won’t soon forget. You won’t want to miss this special view of Chicago, whether you’ve never been sailing before or have more experience on the wide sea. Children who enjoy boats won’t soon forget this special occasion.

As you take in the unmatched views of the Chicago cityscape, Windy’s skilled and inventive crew will teach you about sailing history and conventions. Start by learning how to hoist the sails before trying it out on your own.

25. Get 3D animated dinner at the Le Petit Chef

Le Petit Chef will take you on the ultimate gourmet trip of experiencing art through food, so get ready to be amazed. The entire family will enjoy this delightful dining experience at the Cuvée Room at Fairmont Chicago – Millennium Park, which combines elegant cuisine with a virtual reality dinner theatre!

The 3D animated supper given by TableMation Studios is perfect for introducing your children to a classy menu and a futuristic experience that will spark their creativity. A tiny French chef who is just 2 12 inches tall serves each of the five courses, which are accompanied by vibrant and electric table decorations that add to the evening’s beauty. Don’t pass it up if you want a memorable night out!

26. Visit The Richardson Farm

The farm, which first opened on Saturday, September 9, presented a sizable maze with a waterfall, a jeep, a brachiosaurus, and a T-Rex. It offers nine to ten miles of trails in addition to five maze games that range in length and difficulty, including the farm scene investigation game, quizzes, and discovering all 24 hidden checkpoints.

For parents with young children, there are 10-minute trail alternatives, and for adventurous corn crawlers, there are hour-and-a-half-long journeys. Do not worry if you leave your breadcrumbs at home. The corn maze contains several checkpoints as well as three 8-foot-high wooden bridges created for you to assist in planning your journey as you see fit. The maze contains peripheral paths that make it simple to leave if the quick aerial view doesn’t help.

27. Go for a hunt at the CityDays Scavenger Hunts 

With CityDays Scavenger Hunts, adventurers can solve riddles and challenges while visiting the city’s landmarks and attractions! You can “Get Lost In The Loop” or select from various thrilling trails! Discover Chicago’s Chinatown, Old Town, and Magnificent Mile for amazing challenges and cultural adventures!

28. Get an adventure at the Medieval Times 

If you ever find yourself in Schaumburg, you really must visit Mediaeval Times (Chicago Castle). It’s like going back in time to the 11th century, where you can dine in a warm setting while mingling with knights, princesses, and princes.

While adults can still have a great time here, this facility is best for bringing your young warriors. When they offer a set supper that includes delicious tomato bisque soup, delicate roasted chicken, and sweet buttered corn, no utensils are used. If you let them know ahead of time that you are a vegetarian, they will take care of you.

29. Visit the Museum of Ice Cream 

33 Awesome Things to Do in Chicago With Kids

Cjfrey, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museum of Ice Cream will certainly not disappoint you as a matter of fact their website describes their new Michigan Avenue spot as a “real-life Willy Wonka factory and this is what will keep your little ones hooked. It takes over a massive 13,500-square-foot chunk of The Shops of Tribune Tower, where the Chicago Tribune used to hang out. 

Apart from the sweet treats that will boost your children’s energy you also get to dive into all things ice-cream themed.  You can expect some cool Chicago nods too, like a pink ice cream hotdog and a jelly bean Cloud Gate. Yep, they’re for real!

30. Check out Nickelodeon’s The SpongeBob Musical by Kokandy Productions

You’re in for a real treat if you and your family are big fans of SpongeBob SquarePants. You definitely don’t want to miss Nickelodeon’s The SpongeBob Musical, brought to life by Kokandy Productions. It’s a good way to blow off some steam as it is humorous and the musical takes you on a wild and wacky adventure into the heart of Bikini Bottom and it’s always a blast for everyone. 

31. Explore Chicago’s longest-running street

Chicago definitely has a lot to offer, as you’ve seen from the list above, there are a number of zoos, pop-ups and cultural gems that are interesting to be a part of. However, if you could dedicate a day to explore one of the city’s most unique features then your kids will be amused because Chicago‘s longest continuous street is remarkable and unending as it spans over 20 miles boasting an intriguing mix of car dealerships, diverse neighbourhoods and you get to share some history facts about places like the historic Rosehill Cemetry. This will be a journey that will be worth exploring for kids and in the end, your kids will have to burn a good amount of energy. 

32. Plan a little escape to a smaller town

Have you ever felt like you could need a getaway badly? We completely understand. Sometimes a quick getaway to a quaint, smaller town may do wonders, especially if you’re among the rush and bustle of Chicago and the summer is extending those daylight hours.

These undiscovered gems near Chicago are well worth keeping in mind for a quick, restorative getaway, whether you choose to spend a leisurely evening in New Buffalo, Michigan, watching a breathtaking sunset on the beach after a delicious meal at the Stray Dog, or choose to whisk away to the delightful village of Galena, Illinois, where you can meander through the prettiest main street adorned with charming boutiques, we guarantee that it will be fun.

33. See the Blue Man Group 

This is unquestionably one of the best favourite family-friendly activities in Chicago. The Blue Man Group has entertained 35 million people worldwide, so it is safe to assume that the children will adore seeing them at Chicago Briar Street Theatre. Watch as three cobalt blue-clad men interact with the audience with art, music, and comedy without saying a word!

Let us know if there are any activities you’ve tried, tell us your experience, whether your kids liked it or not and how much fun did you have on a scale of 1-5.