Find things to do in Chicago with kids right here! For summer seasonal picks, do a day outdoors — a massive whimsical playground, a new Ferris wheel with gondolas that fit the whole family, shopping the famed Michigan Avenue strip for a new Elsa or American Girl doll.
Then have some interactive fun — pet a goat, make friends with butterflies, even layer up into a giant Chicago hot dog!
Build out your own Chicago family-friendly itinerary, or go the easy route with this ready-to-go guide.
DAY 1: FOR THOSE WITH ENDLESS ENERGY
Berry Good Eats. Kick off the adventure right at Wildberry
Pancakes & Café, which has plenty of grown-up options if you can manage
to pass up the specialty pancakes — Oreo S'More, Banana Cream Pie and Tiramisu
Daley Dose. The three-acre Play Garden at Maggie
Daley Park has wondrous themed spaces for various ages, including a
Watering Hole for toddlers and a Slide Crater and climbing wall for bigger
Pier Pressure. Grab a quick lunch at Big City
Chicken on Navy Pier before exploring the beloved Chicago landmark —
celebrating its centennial in 2016 with a brand-new Ferris wheel. The
award-winning Chicago Children's Museum is here, along with Amazing Chicago's
Magnificent Heaven. Has everybody been good? REALLY
good? Well then it's off to The Magnificent Mile for a kid-focused shopping
excursion — options include The Disney Store, the LEGO Store, American Girl
Place, Garrett Popcorn and Candyality. Top off a great afternoon with a trip to
360 CHICAGO's observation deck.
Good Sports. Tonight's dinner is a 2-for-1 special: Harry
Caray's 7th Inning Stretch, on the top floor of Water Tower
Place, is conveniently attached to the fully-interactive game zone and memorabilia emporium, Chicago Sports Museum.
Pool Party. The centrally located InterContinental
Chicago Magnificent Mile has a heated indoor pool for them and a spa/health
club for you.
DAY 2: PARKS, BEACHES & ZOOS... OH MY!
Square Meal. Belgian waffles and French toast are the
heroes at Batter & Berries, a cozy Lincoln Park breakfast spot with
something for everyone.
Play List. Now it's off to Lincoln Park —
1,208 acres of gorgeously landscaped lakefront land with a delightfully long
to-do list. Start at the free Lincoln Park Zoo and be sure to visit the
cows, pigs and goats at Farm-in-the-Zoo.
Beach Break. Before lunch, let the kids grab a quick
dip in the cool waters of Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach.
Family Fare. With massive burgers and a salad bar
boasting more than 50 fresh ingredients daily, R.J. Grunts is a sure
thing for lunch with the kids.
Museum Muses. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum caters
to knee-high naturalists, with hands-on exhibits (touch butterflies, crawl through caves, build your own dam) nature trails and live animal
feedings; the Chicago History Museum also has much to offer the smaller
set, including an interactive bridge-building station.
Home Slice. No trip to Chicago is complete without
pizza, and the golden-crusted pies from Stella Barra Pizzeria are among the best; dough is
made daily, and there are lots of creative toppings to keep mom and dad happy.
Good Sportz. Close out your weekend with an early
show at ComedySportz, a hilarious 90-minute improv comedy show (for all
ages!) in which two teams create scenes, songs and games right on the spot
based on your suggestions.