There’s no question that the Windy City is one of the most popular cities in the USA, and it’s not just because of the deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. Here are 17 fun things to do in Chicago with kids, including fantastic parks, zoos, and museums.
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Family Friendly Chicago Attractions
40 million artifacts and specimens, with interactive features like iPad games and a glow-worm cave!
More than 32,500 animals representing 1,500 species
A public museum dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics. It was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. It is located on the northeast tip of Northerly Island at the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago
Indoor LEGO Playground
An indoor family entertainment center located in The Streets of Woodfield shopping center in Schaumburg, Illinois. Kids will love the Lego-theme rides, soft play area, and 4D cinema.
Ferris wheel – 200′ high - Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier offers 360-degree views and enclosed gondolas. The pier is also home to Chicago’s Children’s Museum and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
A 94th-floor observatory deck (formerly John Hancock Observatory) where you can see up to 55 miles out and four states. This is a great place for a birds eye view of the city’s amazing architecture and a panorama of Lake Michigan. If you're brave, check out Tilt.
The Bean at Millennium Park
Cloud Gate is the three-story, 110 ton elliptical steel sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor aka “The Bean”. It is probably the most instagrammed spot in Chicago, especially because it reflects the Chicago skyline. Crown Fountain designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is a favorite spot for kids.
Museum of Science and Industry
The largest science institution in the Western Hemisphere. With a huge variety of family-friendly programming on everything from tornados to robots.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Costs nothing to enter. Don’t miss the Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure.
Maggie Daley Park Chicago
This 20 acre public park is in the Loop community area of Chicago near the Lake Michigan shoreline. Take a lap around the winding skating ribbon, ascend the 40-foot climbing wall or run around the city’s most whimsical playgrounds.
Lake Michigan Cruises and River Cruises in Chicago
Explore the sights of Chicago with a cruise on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River departing from Navy Pier!
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Visit the 2,700 square-foot Butterfly Haven and take part in the daily First Flight Butterfly Release.
A 2.7-mile elevated path that runs through Logan Square, Wicker Park and Humboldt Park. Once an abandoned rail line, now turned public park. A Resident Astronomer for the 606 Trail sets up public observation sessions on the 2nd Friday of each month.
Chicago Botanic Garden
Twenty-seven breathtaking gardens spread across 385 acres displaying millions of plants & flowers. There is a huge butterfly exhibit here too!
Chicago Children's Museum
Located at Navy Pier where kids can splash, climb, build, and explore.
A continuous winding riverfront walkway with restaurants, bars and urban attractions.
Chicago has some great family friendly beaches
Check out these other great family friendly US cities.
17 thoughts on “17 Things to Do in Chicago with Kids”
I’m totally biased because Chicago is my home town. Yes, you picked all the hotspots and fun places to visit as well. I’d add Lincoln Park too as a place to check out. Great post!!
The Field Museum is one of my favorite places to go. Great list.
Chicago is really a great place to visit with your family. I can’t wait to bring my husband and son here. I will keep this in mind.
Chicago is in my wish list, as it has lot of history attached to it. Love these attractions, sure my kids will be happy to be in aquarium, giant wheel etc.
My husband and I went to Chicago on our own, and I was surprised by how kid-friendly of a city it was! I hadn’t been expecting it to be a good place to have kids along, hence the reason we left the kids with their grandparents, but the whole time we kept wishing they had been with us!
OMG! Now I want to visit Chicago asap! There are a plenty of interesting things to do even for adults!
I love Chicago! It is one of my favorite cities to take kids. So much to do! We love the Bean too! What a cool itenerary!
I’ve been to Chicago a few times. I lived close to Chicago for a couple years too. It really is such a beautiful city.
Never been to Chicago, although I have family who lives there. The Planetarium would probably be our first stop if we get the chance to visit. My grandson is so fascinated with the moon, stars and planets so this will be so thrilling for him.
These all sound like fun places to visit. I have never been to Chicago and it would be neat to go on a road trip with the kids.
What a great list! I am not sure if we will ever make it that way but at least I know what the kids and I can do now.
So much to see and do in Chicago. I did the Illinois a couple years ago however I did not have a chance to actually visit Chicago. Looking forward to checking out these places with my family.
What an amazing list! I hope to make it to Chicago one day with my family. We’ve never been before and I know we’d love it.
So many great things to do in Chicago and I will be spending time there in the near future visiting my brother. I love the interactive museums, zoos and aquariums for kids.
Although I’m not a kid, the Shedd Aquarium would be at the top of my list! My grand daughter would love it too. So many great places in Chicago to take kids. The Indoor Lego Playground would surely tire them out! LOL
I want to go to Chicago so much. I’ve only been through the airport. These look like wonderful places to visit.
I went to Chicago alone years ago, I would LOVE to take my son! Pinning this!
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