Chicago is one of the best places to show your kids art, culture, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will leave lasting impressions on the youngest members of your family. If you’re looking for a unique adventure, we have you covered with many amazing experiences that the entire family will enjoy. Keep reading for the most memorable things to do with kids in Chicago right now!
Experience Disney’s magic this November! An enchanting exhibition with over 250 treasures from The Walt Disney Company is coming to Chicago this November, so planning your adventure is a must! Taking over more than 20,000 square feet of space at the Exhibition Hub Art Center Chicago at 2367 W. Logan Boulevard this fall, Disney100: The Exhibition will delight Disney lovers of all ages! Fans will be able to see the ‘Crown Jewels’ of the Walt Disney Archives, including works of art, artifacts, costumes, props and other memorabilia.
The entire family will want to put on those iconic mouse ears at this breathtaking exhibit dedicated to the magic of Disney this November! Dive deeper into some of your favorite Disney films at Disney100: The Exhibition, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Encanto (2021), as well as the latest members of the Disney family, including Pixar, Star Wars, and MARVEL.
Prepare to be amazed as Le Petit Chef takes you on the ultimate gastronomic journey of experiencing art through dining. This joyous dining experience at the Cuvée Room at Fairmont Chicago – Millennium Park is perfect for the entire family, combining sophisticated dishes alongside a virtual reality dinner theater!
The 3D animated dinner presented by TableMation Studios is ideal for introducing your kids to an elegant menu and a futuristic experience that will take their imagination to new heights. Each of the five courses is presented by a minuscule French chef that stands 2 1⁄2 inches tall which is accompanied by electrifying and colorful additions to the tablescape, weaving a beautiful experience into the evening. If you’re looking for a unique night out, don’t miss it! Enjoy a promotion for $130 per person this summer from Thursday – Saturday at either 6 p.m. or 8:15 p.m.
An exciting and competitive indoor gaming facility has just opened up outside of Chicago that you must visit! The high-tech Activate Games in Oak Brook offer fun for the entire family by combining technology and physical activity. These live-action games make families work together to test mental and physical agility to complete the games in three-minute face-offs.
We loved the variety of games offered, such as Hoops, Push, Hide (which reminded us of a family-friendly version of Squid Game), Megagrid, a massive space with color grids on the floor (just make sure you step on the right color!), and laser games, similar to thrilling spy movies like Entrapment. This heart-racing family adventure would add a dose of fun to any dull mid-week night or weekend!
Every year in September, Richardson Adventure Farm opens a themed 28-acre corn maze to the public, which holds the title of the world’s largest corn maze. Recently, the popular farm revealed its 2023 theme and opening date! This year, the farm will pay tribute to the legendary movie Jurassic Park. The maze will open on Saturday, September 9th, and it will feature a waterfall, a jeep, a brachiosaurus, and a T-Rex.
CityDays Scavenger Hunts allow thrill seekers to see sights and landmarks in the city while working on challenges and puzzles! You can “Get Lost In The Loop” or choose from other exciting trails! Explore Old Town, the Magnificent Mile or Chicago’s China Town for unforgettable cultural and historical fun and challenges!
Discover secret treasures all over the city. No matter what trail, you will have lots of fun and adventure around every corner!
Chicagoans can finally step into a world of mystery and suspense now that CLUE: A Walking Mystery has opened downtown, bringing the classic board game to life. This incredible CLUE: A Walking Mystery experience transports guests into a thrilling adventure where they become detectives, navigating through a real-life setting to solve the perplexing homicide of Mr. Boddy. This interactive production blends storytelling, problem-solving, and teamwork, to create an experience you won’t soon forget!
Expose the kids to some incredible sounds under the dim glow of candlelight at one of these fantastic Candlelight Concerts. From tribute concerts of world-class singers like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift to talented musicians performing popular classical ballads like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons & more, there’s never been a better time to introduce your youngsters to the gift of music.
The 13,000-square-foot ice cream emporium, located in The Shops of the Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue, is often described as ‘Willy Wonka’s factory come to life.’ It features epic installations such as the iconic sprinkle pool, an array of sweet treats, a cafe, and a bar that you should definitely take the time to enjoy! What’s new at Chicago’s Museum of Ice Cream is a room filled with colorful bananas!
Make a memorable day by seeing this summer’s most highly-anticipated movie release! See the Barbie movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, starring Margot Robbie as the famous doll and Ryan Gosling as Ken, at AMC Theatres® in the Chicagoland area.Grab discounted tickets to a movie showing here.
Calling all adventure seekers to Lincoln Park Indoor Skydiving! The state-of-the-art iFLY Chicago is home to an epic indoor skydiving destination right here in the Windy City! If you’re looking for a thrilling afternoon and the opportunity to take part in a unique experience with your son or daughter, consider spending the afternoon learning a fun new skill here. You’ll even go home with a personalized flight certificate too!
Give your kids the gift of Spanish dance this summer when Authentic Flamenco comes to the Chicago suburb of Oak Park this July! In partnership with the Royal Opera of Madrid, you won’t want to miss this unique show at the Arts Center of Oak Park (Free Church) during their highly-anticipated U.S. tour this summer!
Chicago is home to a slew of museums where you and your kids can explore and learn about fascinating things. Spend the day at The Field Museum, discovering the iconic dinosaur exhibitions and permanent collections, and don’t miss the largest T. Rex in history!
For the best modern art collections, plan to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art for a day introducing the kids to the most iconic artists in history. The exhibitions rotate, but this museum has showcased the legendary work of artists such as Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Alexander Calder. Plus, MCA’s free summer event series ‘Tuesdays On The Terrace’ is returning until August 29th, which is the perfect chance to introduce the kids to all kinds of music.
Lastly, don’t miss one of Chicago’s most famous museums guarded by the prominent green lions … The Art Institute of Chicago for a memorable day viewing contemporary and modern art. If you’re an Illinois resident, check out the free days for 2023.
The Lincoln Park Zoo is a destination noted for being one of the only free and privately managed zoos in the country. So why not plan for an unforgettable day with your child by taking part in a scavenger hunt? Visit the best landmarks and hidden gems, answer trivia questions and solve extraordinary challenges at Chicago Scavenger Hunt: A Day At The Zoo this summer!
Venture to this dynamic new adventure playground in Glenview, IL, for an exciting day out with your family. This fun-tastic Funtopia play center is perfect for children of all ages. Kids can enjoy areas separated by Fun Zones so they can play with children in their own age group! There’s a climbing wall for older children, an obstacle course suitable for kids ages six to 13, and a playpen area for toddlers to enjoy.
The Museum of Illusions (25 East Washington Street) offers a mind-blowing day out with an interactive, immersive, and educational experience for its guests by featuring 80 different mystifying exhibits. The museum is temporarily closed, but will reopen this fall with more space and over 20 new exhibits!
18. Dive into Bikini Bottom at The SpongeBob Musical at The Chopin Studio Theatre
If you and the kids are fans of SpongeBob SquarePants, you’re going to want to check out Nickelodeon’s The SpongeBob Musical by Kokandy Productions! The production is now showing at The Chopin Studio Theatre, located at 1543 W. Division St. in Chicago. Until September 3, 2023, the whole family will be delighted at this ultra-fun rendition of the popular animated series that takes you on an epic journey into Bikini Bottom. The show runs on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 p.m. or Sundays at 5 p.m. and is great for all ages!
Tickets can be purchased here!
The Green at 320 has just opened and is the newest spot to bring the family to spend the day! Enjoy monthly movies in the park, a farmer’s market on Tuesdays, musical performances at the custom mini-amphitheater, and more. Kids can even play games like foosball, table tennis, and various lawn games! Want to plan a date night? There are wine tastings, fitness classes, and live comedy shows too!
20. Check out ways to have a cinematic experience in Chicago, including checking out top filming locations
Chicago may not be Los Angeles when it comes to filming movies, but we’ve had our fair share of major Blockbusters filmed in this city. If you and your family love movies, check out these 15 cinematic experiences that you must do in Chicago!
Venture to the Morton Arboretum as soon as possible because there’s a brand-new exhibit titled “Of the Earth“ that showcases five large-scale works by the talented Polish-American artist Olga Ziemska. The artist used natural materials such as reclaimed tree branches and grass found on the grounds of the arboretum to create these stunning masterpieces.
Besides checking out some of the most unique events, museums, zoos, pop-ups, and cultural institutions, why not spend the day exploring Chicago’s longest running street?
That’s right, one of our streets in this city stands out as the longest-continuous street in Chicago! It’s a cool 20+ mile stretch with car dealerships, unique neighborhoods, the Rosehill Cemetery, and everyday buildings and businesses you’ll find as you explore.
🚶Can you guess which street it is? Details here!
23-25. Check out Chicago’s incredible wildlife – Yes, it exists!
We have to admit that Chicago’s nature scene is pretty impressive. Not only are we a city with a stunning skyline, but you may be surprised that we have some of the cutest animal sightings around (and not just at the zoo!).
Sure, The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed the cutest baby lion cubs earlier this year, but that’s not all! Chonk, the giant snapping turtle, was spotted as a couple of Chicagoans kayaked the Chicago River, and a family of the sweetest red foxes has been spotted in Millennium Park!
🦊🐢It just goes to show you don’t know what kind of cuteness you’ll run into in this city!
Looking for an epic show in Chicago that’s free? Don’t miss the summer fireworks show at Navy Pier, which kicked off on Memorial Day Weekend!
Throughout the month of June, Chicagoans and visitors alike can enjoy the colorful firework displays every Saturday at 10 pm and every Wednesday at 9 pm through Labor Day weekend. Onlookers should find the perfect spot to watch anywhere on the pier or nearby to take in this dazzling display.
🎡Don’t miss a ride on Chicago’s iconic Centennial Wheel! Find out more about the fireworks at Navy Pier here.
Sometimes you just need a getaway! Are we right? If you live in Chicago with kids, planning a little escape to a smaller and charming town can be just the respite you need, especially during the summer when the days feel slightly longer.
Whether you meander over to New Buffalo, Michigan, to take in the sunset at the beach after dinner at the Stray Dog or venture to the charming town of Galena, Illinois, to stroll the cutest main street filled with shops, you’ll want to bookmark this list of top small cities near Chicago!
One of the best ways to see Chicago is by bike, cruising along to see the city from a brand-new perspective! Whether you’re visiting or a local, check out the city in one of our favorite ways with a bike rental. It’s a great way to get your entire family moving while seeing some of the best sites along the way.
🚴♂️ Grab tickets here!
A trip to Chicago is only complete with making a trip up to the Sears Tower, or as we locals like to call it, the Willis Tower, for incredible 360-degree views of the city from the Skydeck. Check out this list for more bucket list experiences.
This is definitely one of our favorite things to do in Chicago with kids. Thirty-five million people worldwide have enjoyed the spectacle of the Blue Man Group, so we can be sure to say that the kids will love to see them at Chicago Briar Street Theater. Watch as three men doused in cobalt blue engage the audience through art, music, and jokes, all while not saying a word!
🥁 Get your tickets here!
Raging Waves, this massive 58-acre waterpark, has just reopened for summer, offering families a day of aquatic adventure! This is one of the best things to do in Chicago with kids, which they won’t be bored at. This park has 32 water slides, a 350,000-gallon wave pool, and a ¼ mile-long lazy river.
Another incredible summer activity can be found down at Navy Pier. Verse: The Art of the Future fuses art and technology allowing guests to step right into the metaverse in a digital art exhibition featuring augmented reality holograms and artwork by top-selling artists from the burgeoning world of NFTs.
With the help of an AR headset, smartphone, or tablet, each guest will experience their own reality in the same activation area (like a silent disco for holograms!). Verse provides an introduction to the people, technology, and stories that are shaping this disruptive evolution of the art world.
33. Impress your little ones with a game of soccer In the sky at Chicago’s first-ever rooftop soccer pitch
Looking for an elevated spot with incredible views to train and play soccer? Look no further than this 25,000-square-foot elevated soccer venue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. “Chicago is an amazing soccer town, and we built Skyline Pitch to celebrate the beautiful sport in the world’s most beautiful city,” said founder and managing director Ivan Lopez. “The only thing better than gathering with friends and teammates to play is to do so with an incredible panoramic view of Chicago’s skyline. Playing at Skyline Pitch will be an unforgettable experience for anyone who visits.”
Isn’t that right because…the best things in life are free? Chicago has some of the best things to do that cost absolutely nothing! From checking out the marvelous digital projections of Art on the Mart to visiting cultural institutions like the Chicago Cultural Center to marvel at the Tiffany Dome, there’s plenty to do in this city that won’t cost you a dime.
One of the best things to do with kids in Chicago is take them to see Grant Park’s free outdoor concerts this summer! This 10-week musical festival is so popular, and it’s the perfect way to introduce your kids to classical music.
Spend a marvelous day out with the kids learning all about Chicago’s history, as well as the U.S. through thoughtful exhibits featuring around 20 million items at the world-class Chicago History Museum.
There’s no doubt that Chicago has a stellar art scene, especially our murals that bring vibrant art to all 77 neighborhoods in our incredible city. Explore Chicago’s exceptional street art masterpieces, learn all about the amazing history, and see where to find them.
View Warhol’s original works and photographs, step into Studio 54, enjoy lectures, and more at this multifaceted exhibition near Chicago, but only until September 10th! The Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop exhibition takes over about 11,000 square feet at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art, showcasing famous works of art, including 94 of his original works from the Bank of America collection, and 100 pieces from the College of DuPage Permanent Art Collection.Grab tickets here!
Florals are sprawling at the city’s edges, and luscious foliage is painting the city green. Heading to one of Chicago’s stunning gardens is one of the perfect things to do with kids in Chicago. Whether it’s showing your kids all the living plants or using it as a picnic destination, we’ve rounded up the best gardens to see with your family.
There are many things to do with kids in Chicago; however, when it’s hot, there’s one thing your kids always ask for… ice cream! Ice cream is a delicacy, and while there is no wrong place, a few stand out. So, in honor of the sweltering heat, we’re compiling the best ice cream in Chicago to help keep your kids cool.