With so many fun things for kids to do in Chicago, there are about a zillion combinations for the ultimate Chicago weekend. From museums and zoos to kid-friendly restaurants, this two-day lineup should cover it. Insider tip: these are all indoor activities so have this itinerary ready to go in the winter, or to escape any rainy days.



Museum of Science and Industry



❏ Get going with gourmet doughnuts and beverages at Doughnut Vault.

❏ Head off to Navy Pier, the number one fun thing to do in Chicago with kids. Once inside, browse the shopping stalls, see a movie at the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre or visit the Chicago Children's Museum where kids can climb three stories of rigging to a crow's nest. The year-round gondolas on the Ferris Wheel are climate controlled so don't miss out on the views.



❏ For lunch, fill up on deep-dish pizza at the new Giordano's at Navy Pier.

❏ Head down to the Museum of Science and Industry, where you can spend the rest of the day in the U-505 submarine, the coal mine or the mirror maze.



❏ Eat at Medici on 57th, where pizza, burgers and families are king. The Hyde Park institution with a hippie vibe is a neighborhood favorite with other dinner staples like chicken fingers and fettuccine alfredo filling out the menu.




The Ledge



❏ Order seasonally-inspired breakfast fare at the airy Summer House Santa Monica.

❏ Spend the rest of the morning surrounded by butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. As you stroll the open-air habitat, they flutter all around you and might even make a special landing on your little one.



❏ For lunch, order a specialty burger and a scrumptious milk shake at R.J. Grunts. Located right across from the Nature Museum, they will quickly calm any hungry children in your party.

❏ Join in a treasure hunt at Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower. Known as Sears Tower to some, this observatory deck soars 1,353 feet high above the skyline so you can spend the day pointing out all your finds below in a game of I SPY: from freight trains to the Navy Pier Ferris wheel. Or dare to step on the Instagram-famous Ledge.

❏ Munch on a bag of Garrett's Popcorn. Eating popcorn is not just for the movies! This local-Chicago treat is known the world over, and the lines out the door are a sure sign of its many fans.



❏ Later, attend a play at the Chicago Children's Theatre or Emerald City Theatre. Both companies take their audience to heart and create award-winning productions specifically for pint-size theater attendees.


Looking for some family-friendly hotel options? Here's two: Nap the night away at Hotel Palomar Chicago, a Kimpton Hotel. Kids get a welcome gift, can enjoy a "mocktail" and even have a live pet goldfish in the room. Or kick back with a night at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago. Kids can swim in the indoor pool and have the Ice Cream Man bring his cart right to the room.


Plus... Chicago for Older Kids & Teens

Tilt 360 CHICAGO


❏ The non-verbal antics of the blue-faced creatures at Blue Man Group are teen-approved.

❏ Get a thrill and angle forward from 1,000 feet above ground on Tilt at 360° CHICAGO (formerly the John Hancock Observatory).

❏ Watch hilarious improv suitable for all ages at ComedySportz.

❏ Get a custom-made shirt at The T-Shirt Deli. They'll put it in a bag with potato chips.

❏ Have a Beluga Encounter at the Shedd Aquarium.

❏ Play bocce or bowl at Pinstripes.

❏ Get active with a whole new competitive game at WhirlyBall.

❏ Try the interactive skill challenges, see sports memorabilia, play games and eat dinner at the Chicago Sports Museum


Spotlight on... Fabulous Toy Shops!

American Girl Place

  1. Get matching outfits for you and your doll at the original American Girl Place.
  2. Find more than 200 brain games at Marbles: The Brain Store.
  3. Let kids loose in the LEGO Store inside Water Tower Place.
  4. Find the latest Disney toys at the Disney Store on The Magnificent Mile and State Street.
  5. Take your child to story time at Play in Logan Square.
  6. Encourage your young budding architect at Building Blocks Toy Store.

Related Listings

360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory)
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 875-8439

Navy Pier IMAX Theatre
700 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5629

American Girl Place
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 943-9400

Chicago Children's Museum
700 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-1000

Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438

Brookfield Zoo/Chicago Zoological Society
31st St. and First Ave.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
120 E. Delaware Pl.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-8800

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Dr.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 755-5100

Chicago Sports Museum
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 202-0500

435 E. Illinois St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 527-3140

WhirlyBall Chicago
1825 W. Webster Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 486-7777

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Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-5300

Skydeck Chicago
233 S. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 875-9696

Garrett Popcorn Shops
625 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 944-2630

Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

Blue Man Group
3133 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 348-4000

R.J. Grunts
2056 N. Lincoln Park W.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 929-5363

CSz Theater Chicago
929 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 549-8080

Summer House Santa Monica
1954 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 634-4100

Giordano's Famous Stuffed Pizza
730 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 951-0747

Emerald City Theatre
2936 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 529-2690

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