Are you looking for the best things to do in Chicago with kids? Then you’ve come to the right place!
Chicago is the biggest city in the Midwest and it’s known for its pizza, jazz music, and its colorful history during the prohibition era.
Planning your trip to Chicago last minute?
Make sure to book ahead. Hotels and tours often sell out the closer you get to your trip. Here are our top pics for Chicago!
Top Experiences And Tours In Chicago:
- Chicago River Architecture Cruise (Skip the Ticket Office!)
- Willis TowerSkydeck & The Ledge Ticket (Elevator express entry!)
- Navy Pier Centennial Wheel Ticket (Panoramic views of Chicago!)
- Big Bus Hop on Hop Off Sightseeing Tours (24, 48, or 72-hour options available.)
Hop Hotels In Chicago:
- Eurostars Magnificent Mile (In the heart of Chicago!)
- The Peninsula Chicago (Near museums)
- Club Quarter Hotels Wacker (Overlooking the Chicago River!)
- Hotel Blake (Close to Millennium Park.)
The city is full of unique attractions and things to do.
It has some of the best museums, incredible restaurants, and beautiful parks and green spaces.
These are just some of the things that make Chicago extremely family-friendly.
Whether you’re looking to spend a few days in Chicago, or only have time for a quick day trip, there are plenty of things to do with kids in Chicago.
On this list, I’ve tried to include a fun family attraction in Chicago for kids of all ages.
There are things to do in Chicago with a toddler, young kids, and even pre-teens.
You’ll find everything from outdoor attractions, cool children’s museums, and fun places to stop for an afternoon snack.
So, let’s take a look at 15 things to do in Chicago with kids that you don’t want to miss!
15 Best Things To Do In Chicago With Kids
Take The Family To The Kohl’s Children’s Museum
The Kohl’s Children’s Museum is just outside of Chicago in Glenview.
It’s one of the most popular things to do in Chicago with kids for a few reasons.
The biggest reason is that it’s got something for kids of all ages, from tiny babies to elementary school-aged kids.
Kohl’s Children’s Museum is an interactive children’s museum that is full of hands-on learning activities and exhibits.
The exhibits range from a baby nursery, a play cafe, a pet vet, an outdoor habitat park, and tons more!
They also have a range of seasonal exhibits that change throughout the year.
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and you’ll want to get your tickets ahead of time.
It’s easily one of the best things to do in Chicago with a toddler, or a kid of any age!
This is one of the great things to do in the Midwest!
See The Planets And The Stars At The Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium has been a staple family attraction in Chicago since it was founded in 1930.
It’s actually America’s first planetarium, so you’ll get to experience a piece of history too.
This thing to do in Chicago with family is full of exhibits where the whole family will get to learn about the planets and stars.
There is an exhibit of the Chicago night sky, a look at astronomy in different cultures, and even a huge telescope.
Adler Planetarium also has pieces of space exploration history like a replica of the Mars Rover, the Historic Atwood Sphere, and the Gemini 12 Spacecraft.
Of course, there are also shows at the planetarium where you’ll be guided through the stars for an up-close look at the planets in our solar system.
Science lovers and future space explorers will have a ton of fun at this historic and fun planetarium.
Stop For A Snack At The Original Rainbow Cone
If you’re spending a weekend in Chicago in the summer, then this is a must-do stop.
The Original Rainbow Cone is a seasonal ice cream stand that actually has two locations in Chicago.
Its first location was on the Navy Pier and is only open seasonally.
However, the Original Rainbow Cone’s second location is on S Western Avenue and is open year-round.
The bright pink building is perfect for a photo stop and the ice cream is a Chicago favorite.
Their menu offers a variety of different flavors, all stacked tall on top of a sugar or waffle cone.
The kids will love the bright atmosphere, the delicious ice cream, and the fun experience of building your rainbow cone.
Spend The Day In Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is a beautiful 20-acre park that is located in the Loop community area.
It’s one of the best places to take kids in Chicago if you want to enjoy a beautiful sunny day in Chicago.
There are tennis courts, a climbing wall, a play garden, an area with mini golf, a field house, and so much more.
No matter what your kids are interested in or their age, there’s definitely something to do at Maggie Daley Park for the whole family!
Plus, it’s close to tons of other family attractions in Chicago.
That makes it a great place to stop and rest with a picnic lunch or have the kids run around and get out some energy!
The Chicago Children’s Theater Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Chicago With Kids
Take your little thespians to the Chicago Children’s Theater the next time you have the whole family in Chicago.
Throughout the year, the Children’s theater puts on plays and other events specifically for children to enjoy.
In the past, they’ve hosted a Beatrix Potter Tea Party, a production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and more.
They often put on plays that inspire children and show a different lifestyle or disability that children might resonate with.
The Children’s Theater’s goal is to inspire children and live a life of adventure, courage, and curiosity.
If you’re looking for one of the most fun things to do with kids in Chicago, then head to the Chicago Children’s Theater!
Explore The Field Museum
The Field Museum of Natural History is one of the best places to take kids in Chicago!
It’s a huge natural history museum, and it’s actually one of the largest natural history museums in the world!
One of the biggest attractions in the Field Museum is Griffin Hall. There you’ll meet Sue the T-Rex, who is a giant T-Rex skeleton.
The museum also has a big hall of colorful and shiny gems, an exhibit on meteorites, large structures like the Pawnee Earth Lodge, and tons more.
While any age group will enjoy the museum, older kids in particular will have fun learning something new in the different exhibits.
See The City From High Above At 360 Chicago
360 Chicago is one of the more unique kid’s activities in Chicago, and it’s definitely better suited for older and more adventurous kids.
That’s because 360 Chicago is an observation deck on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center.
You’ll be high up above the Magnificent Mile at over 1,000 feet!
The especially brave members of your family can ride the Tilt, which is one of the highest thrill rides in the world!
It’s perfectly safe but very exhilarating as you tilt over the edge of the building in a fully encased glass tilting box.
But, if that’s not your style, don’t worry. The whole family can still enjoy some truly beautiful views of the city.
Kids in particular really like pointing out different spots in the city that they’ve visited since you can see the whole city from up there.
It’s definitely unique and not for everyone, but if you’re looking for family fun in Chicago, I suggest giving it a try!
Oz Park Is One Of The Best Things To Do In Chicago With Kids
In the Lincoln Park neighborhood, you’ll find the unique Oz Park.
Oz Park is a The Wizard of Oz themed park that features Dorothy’s Playground.
The entire park is over 14 acres and includes tons of amenities that the whole family can enjoy.
There are tennis courts, a community garden, basketball courts, ball fields, and of course, the big Dorothy’s Playground.
This is one of the best cheap things to do with kids because enjoying the beautiful park is absolutely free!
Dorothy’s Playground has huge wooden structures in a playset that looks like a castle that the kids will love.
Plus, all around the park, you’ll find The Wizard of Oz themed statues.
Get Hands-On At The Chicago Children’s Museum
You’ll find the Chicago Children’s Museum at the Navy Pier.
At the Chicago Children’s Museum, they have exhibits for all ages.
You’ll find that from the tiniest baby to elementary school kids will have something to entertain them.
There’s an art studio, an interactive castle, a tinkering lab, a dinosaur exploration space, and so much more.
They also have seasonal exhibits and different programs that they host throughout the year.
If you’re wondering what to do with kids in Chicago, look no further than the Chicago Children’s Museum!
Ride The Centennial Ferris Wheel
One of the best things to do with kids in Chicago can be found at the Navy Pier.
In fact, the Navy Pier itself is typically full of fun things to do in Chicago for all ages.
But one of the biggest attractions at the Navy Pier is the Centennial Ferris Wheel.
The Centennial Ferris Wheel is an iconic part of the Chicago skyline and it’s a ton of fun to ride.
As the ferris wheel goes around, you’ll end up over 200 feet up in the air.
At that height, you’ll be able to see 360 views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. It’s a slow ride, so it’s very peaceful and a really great way to end the day.
The whole family can take a moment to rest, enjoy the view, and reflect on the day out with the kids.
Visit The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a smaller nature museum in Chicago.
It’s one of the best family things to do in Chicago and it’s super family-friendly.
They recently opened a new play space that brings the outdoors inside.
The kids will be able to splash, crawl, and climb through a fun and interactive nature-themed play area.
It’s perfect for young kids in particular!
They also have a huge greenhouse that’s home to over 1,000 butterflies, a look-in lab, and tons more.
It’s one of the best places in Chicago for families, especially families with young kids.
Stop For An Afternoon Snack At The Doughnut Vault
The Doughnut Vault is a tiny bakery in Chicago that specializes in handmade donuts in classic flavors.
This is actually a great stop for the kids and the adults.
Along with the delicious donuts, they also sell freshly brewed coffee to go with them.
Weekly they also have a menu of specialty donuts with flavors like birthday cake, cookies and cream, honey bun, and peanut butter and jelly.
If you want a quick family thing to do in Chicago, head to the Doughnut Vault.
Spend The Day At The Legoland Discovery Center
One of the most popular fun kid places in Chicago is the Legoland Discovery Center.
In fact, you could easily spend the whole day exploring this fun family attraction in Chicago!
The discovery center is actually just outside of Chicago, in Schaumburg.
At the discovery center, you’ll find tons and tons of things to do.
There are lego-themed rides, a 4-D cinema, a soft play area for the littlest kids in the family, and of course, a huge gift shop.
The whole family can walk through MiniLand, where you’ll find huge replicas of animals, buildings, and people that are built entirely of legos.
You can also build your own lego car and race it with other people!
Legoland Discovery Center is easily one of the best things to do with kids in Chicago!
There are so many fun things to do in Chicago with kids that you can easily spend a few days exploring Chicago with the whole family.
Whether you’re traveling to Chicago with toddlers or older kids, there’s a kid’s event in Chicago that will be fun for everyone!
Have you ever been to any of these attractions in Chicago for kids?
If so, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
Packing List When Visiting Chicago With Kids
If you will be traveling, either by plane or by car to Chicago, here are some tips on how to pack lightly.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when attending attractions with kids in Chicago.
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking photos during events in Chicago with kids.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car.
Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc… No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great.
It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.