Every spring, kids in Chicago step out into the sunshine and harness the wind of our fair windy city at the Kids & Kites Festival, an annual tradition established by our former mayor and kite enthusiast, Richard M. Daley. This uniquely Chicago-style event is a colorful way to enjoy a spring day on the lakefront with your favorite kids. Here's our guide to the 18th annual Kids and Kites Festival, which takes place on Saturday, May 7 from 10am to 4pm at Montrose Harbor on Cricket Hill.
Gear up with a good kite.
Located at 5445 N. Harlem in Norwood Park, Chicago Kite/Kite Harbor is the go-to place for kites of all shapes and sizes: you'll find the largest selection in the area, including kites for flyers of all levels, from beginners to pros. Owner David Zavell, recommends a triangular "Delta" style kite for first-time flyers and kids: Framed with sturdy fiberglass and carbon, these sturdy kites can adapt to a wide range of wind conditions making them especially easy to fly. If you think you have the right stuff for launching a more advanced kite into orbit, check out the awesome selection of power kites or fighter kites.
Spectacular kites from Chicago Kite will also be on sale onsite at the Kids and Kites Festival, and every child will also receive their own free kite kit, making it easy to create a kite of their own at the event (...but arrive early as kite kits are first come, first served).
Watch some of the best kites in the city soar in the Chicago skies.
Some of the largest kites ever take to the skies at this fun festival: Team Chicago Kite will unfurl their large form and uniquely shaped kites and the experts are happy to teach little ones how to catch the wind and soar. One of the most popular highlights of the festival is the Big Kite Candy Drop, which is a piñata-like kite filled with candies that drop from the sky, taking place during the afternoon, weather permitting.
How to find Cricket Hill.
It's easy to find this festival -- just follow the kites! Cricket Hill in Montrose Harbor, where the festival takes place, is located near the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Montrose Ave. on the lakefront. It's long been a popular spot for kite flyers, thanks to its relatively tree-free former cricket field and its gentle slope.
Where to eat.
Enjoy lunch from onsite vendors, including Robinson's No. 1 Ribs, Chicago-style hot dogs, and funnel cakes. The Dock at Montrose Harbor (200 W. Montrose Harbor Drive) is a great pick for burgers, paninis and wraps, and the view of Montrose Beach can't be beat. Nearby, The Reservoir (844 W. Montrose Ave.) offers a spectacular brunch with kid favorites like chicken and biscuits and buttermilk pancakes.
The 15th annual Kids & Kites festival will run from 10 am to 4 pm on Cricket Hill, near the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Montrose Ave on Saturday, May 7. Admission is free!