Whether you live in the Windy City or are there for the quick visit (for real, don’t skip the deep dish), you’ll find that there are plenty of things to do in Chicago with kids. In fact, almost all of the top things to do in Chicago are family-friendly, from investigating dinosaur bones at the Field Museum to sailing pirate ships at Navy Pier. To see what's out there, check out this list of top Chicago activities for kids and their parents.
Kick-start your kid's cultural development at the Museum Campus, where three of the city's best museums live—Shedd Aquarium, The Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium. Top kids' activities here include petting stingrays and digging for dinosaur bones.
One of the best things to do in Chicago with kids, this renowned museum lets kids explore a real CTA bus, shop at a small-scale grocery store, and play with water moving through a system of pulleys, pumps, and pipes.
This free zoo, another one of the best kids’ activities in Chicago, is set within a lush park overlooking the Chicago skyline. More importantly, its outdoor habitats are designed to mimic the natural habitats of the zoo's giraffes, Amur leopards, and red pandas.
Legoland Discovery Center Chicago, located in suburban Schaumburg, wows with Chicago landmarks in miniature, as well as a life-size jungle exhibition and a factory tour to see how LEGO bricks are made.
At the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, kids can get a much needed dose of fresh air, with the bonus of a few sneaky learning opportunities. The butterfly exhibit, for instance, delights with hundreds of fluttering specimens—and the fruit and veggie garden demonstrates how their food is grown.
At Maggie Daley Park's free 3-acre play garden, kids cool off at an animal-themed water playground, explore an enchanted forest filled with upside-down trees, and shoot down the Slide Crater. No wonder it’s one of the top fun things to do in Chicago with kids.
Aboard a tall ship such as the Tall Ship Windy and the Red Witch, exploring the waters of Lake Michigan is easy. But if that’s not enough to maintain your kid's attention, storytellers on pirate-themed cruises bring to life true stories of epic battles on the Great Lakes.
The Prince and Princess Tea at The Drake’s Palm Court presents the perfect opportunity for proper young children to practice first-class dining etiquette. Of course, if your kid doesn't give a fig for formalities, he or she can still go to town on finger sandwiches and petit fours while you sip a bellini.
It's an American tradition: hot dogs, beer, and kids with baseball mitts vying to catch a ball tossed into the stands. Catch a cheap game in the historical bleachers, go for the all-inclusive rooftop experience, or pay a bit more for lower-level seats that get you closer to the action and a better chance of your cute kids appearing on TV.