Chicago has plenty of dining options for everyone, so picky eaters and parents alike can find something they love. Here’s a roundup of kid-friendly restaurants with tasty dishes for the whole family.
In River North, Rainforest Cafe is a tropical oasis for young adventurers. Nearby, Portillo’s serves up Chicago classics like hot dogs, Polish sausage, and Italian beef, while the quick-service style at this beloved local chain makes for easy in-and-out dining. Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe is a tasty brunch and lunch stop across from iconic Millennium Park. Across the river, JoJo’s Shake Bar offers over-the-top milkshakes your kids will go nuts over. If you can’t decide, Revival Food Hall features a little bit of everything from some of Chicago’s best restaurants.
Kid-friendly dining at Navy Pier
On Navy Pier, take a break from all the fun (this hotspot is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, AMC Navy Pier IMAX Theatre, Pier Park, and boat tours) for some quick eats. Fried chicken and chicken strips pair with ice cream floats at Big City Chicken. Feast on fried seafood in a family-friendly atmosphere at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Try the classic “cheezborger” at Billy Goat Tavern or grab a bite of barbecue at Harry Caray’s Tavern.
Chicago pizza places for families
Pizza is a kid-friendly favorite and Chicago-style deep dish can feed the hungriest of families. Keep it simple with a cheese pie from the Original Gino’s East or get a local favorite like the legendary pie at Pizzeria Uno. If your kids crave thin crust, Home Run Inn is a classic and Homeslice lets you dine inside a vintage Airstream.
Magnificent Mile restaurants for families
If you’ve been shopping at Water Tower Place, head to the American Girl Place Chicago. It’s a charming place for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea with your little one and their favorite doll. Kids will appreciate the playful architecture and massive menu of The Cheesecake Factory in the lower level of 875 N. Michigan Ave. (formerly the John Hancock Center). And little one will love getting their own kid-size personal pizza at Lou Malnati’s, home to some of the city’s best deep dish.
Play with your food
Let the kind burn off some energy at these playful picks, where there’s more than just food on the menu. Dave and Buster’s is an all-ages arcade with a full-service kitchen, and bumper car/lacrosse mashup Whirlyball is great for preteens (there’s laser tag, bowling, and eats too). Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch, with American comfort food staples, is adjacent to the Chicago Sports Museum with interactive exhibits and virtual games featuring all sports.
Off-the-beaten path picks
If you want to give your family a unique taste of Chicago history, venture out to Margie’s Candies, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that hasn’t changed much in 80 years. In Chinatown, the bright and colorful Joy Yee’s Noodles has sweet, fruity bubble teas and picture menus to pick out tasty pan-Asian specialties. Or Superdawg Drive-In, where they still have carhops, classic Chicago hot dogs, and a giant-size Mr. and Mrs. Hot Dawg sign that your kids will remember for years.