Chicago is not just about the nightlife. In fact, there are a lot of things to do with kids in Chicago. Whether you currently live in or near the Windy City – or are thinking about moving there – you’ll find a plethora of family-friendly activities and entertainment in the third largest U.S. city. Here are seven of the top attractions that get a thumbs-up from kids and parents — and some won’t cost you a dime:
1. Head to the Theater
Chicago’s remarkable theater productions cater to both adults and children. The city’s offerings include plays, musicals and various family shows. If you’re looking for a fun activity to start off your day, you’ll want to check out the Emerald City Theatre, which consists of actors performing around the city to entertain kids with adaptations of their favorite storybooks and classical musicals.
2. Check Out Navy Pier
If you can’t find fun at Navy Pier, something is wrong. This haven for year-round entertainment for kids and adults offers a variety of activities, including miniature golf, an IMAX theater, dinner cruises, the Chicago Children’s Museum and rides, such as a new 196-foot-high Ferris wheel, according to the Navy Pier website. You can even watch beautiful fireworks over Lake Michigan every Wednesday and Saturday evening.
3. Explore a Museum or Aquarium
Whether your family is interested in technology (Museum of Science and Industry), astrology (Adler Planetarium) or creatures under the sea (Shedd Aquarium), there is an amazing museum or aquarium for your taste. Many museums and aquariums in the Chicago area offer free days, so you don’t have to empty your pockets to learn something new with the whole family.
4. Take in Beautiful Views
If you and the kids want to take in some beautiful views, there are a number of options in the city. For instance, Willis Tower offers breathtaking views as you walk in the glass boxes that extend more than 1,000 feet above the ground. And for an even different 360-degree panorama view of four states, try heading to 360 Chicago Observation Deck, which was formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory.
5. Embrace Wildlife at the Zoo
Everyone loves a great deal, and the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is a paradise for animal lovers, offers free admission 365 days a year. The zoo is home to hundreds of wildlife species, and your kids will love checking them out up close. After you see all the animals, check out the new Lionel Train Adventure ride and AT&T Endangered Species Carousel.
6. Go on a Bike Ride
Even children that are ages 10 and under can enjoy a personal bike tour around the city through Bobby’s Bike Hike. It’s not just about peddling for miles and miles, there are also activities included in the ride, such as tossing coins into a wishing fountain and finding a hidden garden, that your kids will love.
7. Visit Santa
Who could resist Santa’s Village Azoosment Park in East Dundee, Illinois? The attraction, which is one hour northeast of Chicago, is perfect for kids of all ages. It opened in 1959 and operated for decades until closing in 2006. The park then reopened in 2010 with more amenities and entertainment, including a variety of rides, 200 different animals, shows, dining and of course, Santa.
If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Chicago, you’ll have no problem finding activities close to your home. With so many options, you may even find something new that you never imagined doing or seeing!
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