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.

Maggie Daley Park-4
Maggie Daley Park


1. Brunch even pick eaters will love. 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 among them.

2. An action-packed play space. 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 kids.

Maggie Daley Park Chicago
Maggie Daley Park

3. Head to the water. Grab a quick lunch at one of the many family-friendly restaurants on Navy Pier before exploring the beloved Chicago landmark — a 150-foot Ferris wheel. The award-winning Chicago Children's Museum is here, along with Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze.

4. A shopping break for souvenirs. 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 and their one-of-a-kind thrill ride, TILT.

wh tilt 360 chicago
TILT at 360 Chicago

5. Game night. 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.

6. Time for a 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: The Great Outdoors

1. Brunch at a beloved local favorite. Belgian waffles and French toast are the star at Batter & Berries, a cozy Lincoln Park breakfast spot with something for everyone.

Father and daughter feeding a giraffe some kale
Lincoln Park Zoo

2. A trip to the zoo. Now it's off to Lincoln Park Zoo — one of the country's oldest free zoos that's home to more 1,000 mammals, reptiles, and birds. 

3. Take a beach break. Before lunch, let the kids grab a quick dip in the cool waters of Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach and nearby Oak Street Beach.

Oak Street Beach with Hancock
Oak Street Beach

4. A classic Chicago lunch stop. 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. 

5. Explore a kid-friendly museum. Nestled on the north en of the zoo 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.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Chicago

6. Grab a 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.

7. End the trip with a laugh. 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.

Related Listings

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

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

Lincoln Park Zoo
Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Parkway
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

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

Stella Barra Pizzeria
1954 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 634-4101

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

Maggie Daley Park
337 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-3918

Related Articles





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

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

Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 642-4600

835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(773) 472-7800

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
505 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 944-4100

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

Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch
835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 202-0500

Batter & Berries
2748 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-7710

Featured Partners