Chicago with Kids

By Danielle Leshin

Visit Chicago with Kids. There are plenty of family friendly fun things to do in Chicago. The cheapest way to visit most of these places for 1 low price with a Chicago CityPASS. The CityPass can save you a lot of money, up to 50% if you plan on doing 2 more things on the list below.

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Top 10 Things to do in Chicago with Kids

1.  Shedd Aquarium

1200 S Lake Shore Dr.,Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438

Photos of Shedd Aquarium, Chicago
This photo of Shedd Aquarium is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Shedd Aquarium is the largest indoor aquarium in the world and houses over 8000 aquatic animals. Our #1 pick for things to do in Chicago with kids.

Get there when they open, the wait can be up to 2 hours or more just to get in. To avoid the wait, get the CityPASS, it  gives you VIP entry, so you can bypass the standard lines

If you want to do the sting ray touch, you get a discount and it will only cost you an extra $ 3 per person, without the CityPASS, it will cost you an extra $5 per person.

If you just plan on going to the Aquarium and do not want to see any of the special exhibits, you can purchase a general admission ticket at the Aquarium for $8. You cannot purchase these online, only at the Shedd. Always call first to make sure they are still selling these cheap tickets to the Shedd Aquarium.

The CityPASS gives you VIP entry to the Waters of the World Galleries, Polar Play Zone, an Aquatic show, the Jellies special exhibit, Wild Reef, Abbott Oceanarium, Amazon Rising and your choice of a 4D experience. Plus you get 10% off at the food court.

The Inner #146 bus will take you closest to the Shedd Aquarium.

Plan on spending at least 6 hours here if you want to see a few shows.



2.  Navy Pier

600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 595-7437

Navy Pier is a fantastic place to go in Chicago with kids. You will find something to please everyone in your family. 

Navy Pier Chicago

Navy Pier , Chicago

 Start off strolling the pier, all the way to the end to a breath taking sight of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. In my opinion, this is the best part of the pier. Grab a shaved ice on your way down to the end of the pier and sit and relax while you take in the view. 

Next, step inside the Navy Pier building and check out the free stained glass museum exhibits all throughout the Navy Pier buildings. Go back outside and grab a ticke to the ferris wheel, your kids will love it and the views are worth the price, typically around $6 pp. Navy Pier also offers a Wave Swinger ride, a Light tower ride, Carousel, and miniature golf course. If you plan on riding 2 or more rides, get the combo pack or the family pack tickets, it will save you money. You can purchase tickets online directly from the Navy Pier website.

If you have children 10 and under, take the kids to the Chicago Childrens Museum located n Navy Pier. Let thier imagination soar a this fantastic playland. If your kids are'nt big into using thier imagination, don't go here, your kids will be bored. If your not sure, go on a Thursday 5-8pm, when everyone gets in FREE.

Navy Pier also offers great theatrical shows at the Shakespeare Theater, check the schedule and get your tickets in advance to save money. They also have a great show called Dragons Thunder Cirque Shanghai, which is amazing. You can check the schedule for this show here: Navy Pier Crique Shanghai

For adults, there is a beer garden at the end of the Pier. They usually have live music, so grab a beer and sit back and relax.

You can take a boat tour of the city, which I would highly recommend. The city is even more beautiful by boat. All of the boat tour operators at Navy Pier offer great tours, each tour operator offers different types of tours and boat. You can also take night boat tours and watch the fireworks from the boat, this is always fun or the dinner yours are also fun.

If boating isn't for you, take a Segway tour, a bike tour or even a walking tour from Navy Pier. 

Navy Pier offers free fireworks on Wednesday at 9:30pm and Saturday 10:15pm from Memorial Day thru Labor Day, If you want to see the fireworks, your best bet is to go in the late afternoon, grab a bite to eat, take a boat tour ride the ferris wheel and by the time you get done with your activities, the fireworks will be starting. Chicago with kids has never been more fun than a day at Navy Pier!

Plan on spending a couple hours here, more if you want to eat or shop.


3.  The Field Museum

1400 S Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-9410

Photos of The Field Museum, Chicago
This photo of The Field Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

One of America's premiere natural history museums. This is a great museum to go to in Chicago with kids over 5.

The Field Museum has the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus, "Sue" in it's Live Over Time exhibit. Go see the 3D movie first,it makes Sue even more exciting. The museum has over 26 million aftifacts, a great Egyptian tomb with over 20 mummies, and an underground adventure where eveything is giant sized and so much more to keep your kids entertained.

This place is really for kids over 5, under that and you're going to have some bored kids on your hands.

The Field Museum will take you at least 6 hours to see everything, so plan on making a day of it. You won't be sorry.

Don't forget to buy your CityPASS to get in, you'll save money, be able to all the site and a 3D movie.

They close early, so get there in the AM so you get a chance to see everything.

As soon as you get there, go to the 3D theater and get your ticket, otherwise they will be sold out. 

This museum will be a highlight of your trip to Chicago with kids.

The Field Museum will take you at least 6 hours to see everything, so plan on making a day of it. You won't be sorry.



4.  Museum of Science and Industry

5700 S Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

Photos of Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
This photo of Museum of Science and Industry is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, this isn't your typical museum.

The Museum of Science and Industry offers an Omnimax theater, a motion simulator ride, interactive exhibits such as the life size hamster wheel and a 13 foot beating human heart.

Buy your tickets in advance to save money. If you purchase a CityPASS, you get VIP entry, and Omnimax movie, a motion simulator ride and the Science Storms U505 exhibit.

Get there early and get your time tickets for the motion simulator ride and the Omnimax movie.Time slots go fast.

Plan to spend all day here, there is plenty to see and something for everyone of all ages.



5.  Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

Photos of Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago
This photo of Lincoln Park Zoo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The awesome zoo is FREE, yes FREE. This beautiful and well maintained zoo has plenty of interactive exhibits for the kids and even a splash area. They have a wide variety of animals, but no elephants. The lion house is fantastic!

If your travelling to Chicago with kids and your on a budget, add this FREE attraction to your list.

Take the bus or walk, as parking will cost you $24+.

Plan on spending at least 3 hours here to see all the animals and interactive exhibits.


6.  Skydeck Chicago

233 S Wacker Dr., Chicago, Illinois 60606
(312) 875-9696

Photos of Skydeck Chicago, Chicago
This photo of Skydeck Chicago is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Visit the Willis Tower and checkout the views on the 103 story SkyDeck. Be prepared to step out on the glass balcony for a view straight down to the street. The views are worth it and the thrill seekers will love the glass step out balconies.

Get there early so avoid huge lines, or later is you want views of the beautiful sunset.

Bring your camera, but be prepared to wait to take pictures on the glass balconies. 

Buy your tickets at CityPASS to avoid the huge lines and get VIP entry and save money.

Tavelling to Chicago with kids, this place is a must see. Not only does it provide wonderful views, but it's the perfect place for a Holiday card Photo!

Plan on spending a couple of hours here to navigate thru the crowds and wait your turn in line for pictures.



7.  John Hancock Observatory

875 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 2605, Chicago, IL 60611
(888) 875-VIEW

Photos of John Hancock Center / Observatory, Chicago
This photo of John Hancock Center / Observatory is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Similiar to the SkyDeck, the John Hancock Observatory has fantastic 360 views, but is only 94 stories high. They also have an open air sky walk.

The Hancock building is closer to the water and they also have a fantastic cafe you can eat at so you get longer to admire the views.

CityPASS is your best bet to save money, as usual, get there early to avoid the crowds.

Plan on spending about 2 hours here if your going to take pictures and grab a snack at the cafe.



8.  Art Institute of Chicago

111 S Michigan Ave,  Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

Photos of Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
This photo of Art Institute of Chicago is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Art Institute of Chicago is the second largest art museum in the nation. Don't forget to stop in the Family Room to let your kids get some hands on time building masterpieces of their own. 

They also offer free art making activities for kids every weekend from 11am-2pm.

A fun place to go to in Chicago with kids, not a fulll day activity.

Plan to spend half a day here before the kids get bored.



9.  Millennium Park

201 E. Raldolph St., Between Michigan Ave & Columbus Ave., Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 742-1168

Photos of Millennium Park, Chicago
This photo of Millennium Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This FREE park offers the beautiful Crown LED fountain with faces where the kids can run around and get wet. Cloud Gate, nicknamed "the Bean" is a beautiful sculpture by Anish Kapoor. There are free concerts during the evenings and ice skating during the winter.

This is a great FREE place to go to in Chicago with kids.

Plan on spending an hour here.


10. Alder Planetarium

1300 S. Lake Shore Dr,  Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-7827

Photos of Adler Planetarium, Chicago
This photo of Adler Planetarium is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Alder Planetarium is Americas first planetarium. This is a great place to go in Chicago with kids if you love anything space related. The 3D movies are interesting and they have an Explorers for Kids section that your kids will love. 

Plan on staying here a couple of hours before your kids get bored. CityPASS offers good discounts on admission.



I hope you enjoyed our Chicago with kids page.

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