things to do in chicago with kids

7 Best Things to do in Chicago with Kids

Chicago is one of the biggest, brightest and best cities in the United States of America. It’s a terrific destination to visit with kids as there is plenty to do all year round whatever the weather. There are lots of activities outdoors for making the most of the good weather. There’s also plenty of places to visit indoors on those rainy days. From gorgeous green spaces to cool museums, water activities to ball games, you’ll never hear your kids say they are bored on a trip to The Windy City. So, if you want to plan a trip that they’ll never forget, here are some of the best things to do in Chicago with kids.

Chicago with Kids: Fun Things To Do

1. Play in Millennium Park

Millennium Park is located in the ‘The Loop’ area of Chicago. The park is one of the city’s most visited sites. This huge green space is a gorgeous place to hang out and enjoy a picnic. Kids can play catch and burn off some energy. The park hosts lots of events throughout the year, many of which are free, including outdoor film screenings. To make the most out of your visit to Millennium Park, take a guided tour. On a tour, you’ll discover all the cool aspects of this great space. The park is filled with art, monuments, gardens, and playgrounds. It is one of the best free things to do in Chicago with kids. They will love splashing around the Crown Fountain in the summer. In the winter, they’ll enjoy ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and sipping hot chocolate.

2. See the Cloud Gate sculpture

The Cloud Gate sculpture is an iconic landmark of Chi-Town. Locals call it ‘The Bean‘ and you’ll find it in Millennium Park. A visit to The Bean is one of the top things to do in downtown Chicago with kids who are mesmerised by its reflective surface which is inspired by liquid mercury. The fascinating sculpture reflects the sky and clouds, and everyone who stares at it. This is the perfect spot for getting some fun and creative photos of your kids. Adults are just as intrigued by this public piece of art as children are. It is one of the world’s largest permanent outdoor art installations.

3. Enjoy the thrills at Willis Tower

If you are kids are brave, and your neck is sore from looking up at the skyscrapers, then head to The Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower. Here, on top of the third tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, you can look down over the city from ‘the Ledge’. This is a small glass box that is 1,353 feet (412.4 metres) in the air extending out from the Skydeck. Not all children will enjoy this, but those with a sense of adventure, and no fear of heights, will be excited and delighted with the thrilling experience, not to mention the sweeping views that span across four states. This is one of the most unique family activities in downtown Chicago. To make the experience even more child-friendly and interactive, there are fact sheets, colouring pages and scavenger hunts for them to enjoy during the visit.

4. Watch a major league baseball game

Chicago is a great sports city and is home to the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox – the two major league baseball (MBL) teams in the city. Wrigley Field is located on the North Side of Chicago and it’s the home of the Chicago Cubs. This playing field opened in 1914 which makes it the second-oldest active baseball park in the major leagues. Wrigley Field – named after the Chicago chewing gum manufacturer – is famed for its unique traditions and charm, including the ivy-lined outfield walls and historic man-operated scoreboard. Catching a game here is a memorable experience whether you are a baseball fan or not. The White Sox play at Guaranteed Rate Field on the southside of Chicago. Watching the White Sox play is very exciting as they are a white-hot, proper old-school slugging team with talented players who are fun to watch.

5. Ride the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier

At Navy Pier on the shores of Lake Michigan, you’ll find The Centennial Wheel, the city’s iconic Ferris wheel ride. This is a fun ride suitable for all the family as it is gentle and you are protected from the elements in an enclosed gondola. As you can imagine, the views from the top of the Ferris Wheel are magnificent with unparalleled, 360-degree views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Apart from the Centennial Wheel, Navy Pier has lots of fun things to do for children of all ages, for instance, they can ride the historic carousel and amusements. They can also play games, listen to free concerts, and take part in free events, and shop for a toy and souvenirs. When it comes to food, there are plenty of family dining options that cater for children and offer some of their favourite meals.

things to do in chicago with kids

6. Get wet and wild on the water

Chicago is home to the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Getting out on the water is a wonderful way to experience the city. Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It’s an aquatic fanatic’s playground as there are so many things to do on the water and on the shoreline. For instance, you can relax on its beaches or get active with a paddling session in a canoe or kayak. You’ll find operators at Monroe Harbor and North Avenue Beach. Here you can rent equipment including double canoes so that the whole family can go out together. This is a great option if you have younger kids. You can also take to the water of the Chicago River. This is the only river in the world that permanently flows backwards. To learn more about the river and see the city from a different perspective, book a sightseeing boat tour.

things to do in chicago with kids

7. Spend the day at Lincoln Park

North Side of Chicago is the beautiful area of Lincoln Park. It’s a great place to visit with kids as there are things to do for all age groups. In the park you’ll find, Lincoln Park Zoo, which is one of the oldest zoos in the United States of America. The park is also home to the indoor botanical garden. This is a blooming beautiful place to while away the hours, especially when it rains. Children will love running around the landscaped gardens and admiring the cool water features. When they have worked up an appetite, you can sit along the lakefront and enjoy a picnic. This is a great spot for relaxing and soaking up the views.

things to do in chicago

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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