Chicago is one of the most dynamic and exciting cities you can visit — especially if you’re traveling with children! But traveling with kids doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to boring activities that only entertain younger visitors. In fact, there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Chicago that are fun for people of all ages. From the world-class Shedd Aquarium to the culinary wonderland that is Eataly, the Windy City has plenty to offer and captivate young (and old) tourists. Read on to find of the best things in Chicago with kids that will keep the whole family happy!
Dive into Fun At the Shedd Aquarium
Located on the scenic shores of Lake Michigan, the Shedd Aquarium is not to be missed. The renowned aquarium’s diverse exhibits represent a wide range of aquatic ecosystems, from the cool freshwater of the Great Lakes to the warm saltwater of the Caribbean. Beautiful tanks full of fascinating underwater creatures from around the world captivate kids and adults alike. Some of the Shedd’s most popular exhibits include Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, At Home on the Great Lakes, and Polar Play Zone. One could easily spend an entire day exploring the Shedd, which makes it a great option for days of inclement weather. You and your little ones will love learning about the natural world and the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some truly extraordinary sea creatures.
Eat Up at Eataly
Any adults taking any flights to Chicago should not miss out on the Windy City location of Mario Battali’s Italian cuisine masterpiece, Eataly Chicago. And that goes for families too! It’s a fun place to take the kids for a truly sensational lunch, followed by a leisurely stroll. Eataly is more than a restaurant: it’s a modern recreation of a classic Italian marketplace, chock-full of an assortment of delicacies to sample and purchase. You’ll find products by local farmers, fishermen, butchers, bakers, cheese-makers and more — all eager to offer you a taste of their wares. The kids will love to feasting all their senses (especially their tastebuds) on the best fresh pasta, baked goods, cheeses, chocolates and so much more that Chicago has to offer. There’s also a sit-down pizza spot located on the top floor of this massive market, for those who’d prefer to sit and eat. If you’re interested in eating there, put your name on the list as soon as you arrive, or call and make a reservation –because this popular dining spot gets busy fast. Whatever you do, make sure to leave room for some gelato for a sweet end to a delightful day!
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Catch a Show at Chicago Children’s Theater
Chicago has a wonderful children’s theater that you should do your best to take advantage of when you’re in the area. There are all sorts of different plays, broken down by the appropriate age group so you know exactly what your little ones are in for. The cozy spot is the perfect place to introduce your children to the theater in a fun and engaging way. There are regular activities at the theater, including day camps and drama classes for your little ones with Broadway dreams. Check out their website to see which play or event is the right fit for your family.
Spend Some Time at Grant Park
The largest public park in Chicago, Grant Park is an ideal spot to let your kids burn off some excess energy, have fun in a safe area, and soak up some culture at the same time. This is where you’ll find Millennium Park, home of the iconic “Bean” sculpture and other permanent art installations. Most of these are kid-friendly, meaning your little ones can explore these sculptures and installations to their heart’s content. And don’t forget about the tons of space that’s perfect for picnics, baseball games, or just strolling through the beautiful Chicago weather. The newly added Maggie Daley Park is a children’s paradise with creatively designed climbing structures and huge slides. It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny Chicago afternoon
Have suggestions on other stuff to do with kids in the Windy City? Let us know in the comments below!