Family Activities » Chicago, IL

Family Activities in Chicago, IL

Whether you have young children or high school aged teens, you'll find plenty to do in Chicago, including many free activities. Stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo or catch a show at the Navy Pier!
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Morton Arboretum

If you have kids with an excess of energy, then the Morton Arboretum is the perfect destination for your family. The grounds are spread out and filled with fun climbing and exploring opportunities to keep your kids busy while you stroll hand in hand with your spouse. The hedge maze will keep them occupied for at least 30 minutes while you keep an eye on them from the observatory in the center. Check out the arboretum's calendar for frequent seasonal activities such as pumpkin decorating. This is also a great place to bring a bike and explore the nearby woods.

Chicago Children's Theatre

Chicago Children's Theatre offers engaging and inspiring community theatre to educate and enrich children and adults in kind. Home of awe-inspiring theatrical productions, the Chicago Children's Theatre offers a range of wildly imaginative performances, as well as annual Lunch-and-Learn series with relevant topics such as navigating social challenges of young adulthood. As an added bonus, if you sign up for their Season Flex Pass online you receive 30% off all pre-sale rates until July 1.

The Chicago Botanic Garden

There's truly something for everyone at Chicago Botanic Garden, one of America's most visited public gardens. Want to take advantage of the gorgeous summer weather? Take an evening stroll through one of their 24 formal display gardens and check out what's in bloom this season. There is no shortage of beautiful scenery on the Garden's sprawling 385-acre property, uniquely arranged on nine island surrounded by picturesque lakes. When you're not busy oogling your gorgeous surroundings, try out one of their educational gardening classes or check out one of their kids activities like Dancin' Sprouts, a live interactive musical performance on the Esplanade. Admission to Chicago Botanic Garden is free but there is a charge for parking.

Glazed Expressions

What kid (and kid at heart) wouldn't love a chance to get creative, make a mess and then not have to worry about clean-up? Glazed Expressions, Chicago's favorite Paint-it-Yourself Pottery Place, supplies hundreds of different pottery pieces, including vases, platters, tea cups, jewelry boxes and much more, for you to design using stencils and stamps and over 50 different colors of glaze. As soon as you complete your work of art, the team at Glazed Expressions professionally fires it and your completed piece is ready within one week. Located on Armitage Avenue in Lincoln Park, there is ample metered street parking in the area. A customized piece of pottery from Glazed Expressions would make the perfect souvenier for your family's trip to the Windy City!

Navy Pier Boat Rides

Lake Michigan is big, blue and dazzling, and there are so many ways to have boating experiences on it.  The Navy Pier offers close to a dozen different boat adventures from Tall Ship Windy manned by storytelling pirates to a speedboat adventure on the Seadog. There are also private sailboat charters, as well as private fishing charters available out of Belmont Harbor and Burnham Harbor. From the lake, Chicago is a whole new city.