Top 10 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Chicago

by Country Inns & Suites
Friday, February 22, 2013


One of America’s truly great cities, Chicago is bursting with music, art, history and attractions for every member of the family. Today, we’re going to tell you about ten of the best things to do in Chicago when you’re travelling with kids. With this list of options, we promise everyone in your family, young or old, will have an amazing trip to the Windy City.

1. Art Institute of Chicago

Far from a stuffy old art museum, the Art Institute of Chicago’s curators have gone to great lengths to make sure it is a fun, and educational, place for kids. Pick up a guide booklet designed especially for children at the information booth or visit the Kraft Education Center where kids can experience the artwork up-close and create some art of their own.

2. DuPage Children’s Museum

No child is too young to enjoy the DuPage Children’s Museum. The museum features a number of baby and toddler areas, while big kids can play and learn in the water area, the music area or even in a workshop with real tools.

3. Jazz Showcase

What better place to introduce your kids to jazz than Chicago? Located in Dearborn Station, the Jazz Showcase attracts some of jazz’s biggest names. What makes this venue a particularly good place for children is the 4pm Sunday matinees. The matinees are all-ages and kids younger than 12 years old get in free!

4. Field Museum of Natural History

The Field Museum is widely considered to be one of the best natural history museums in the world. Your kids are sure to love “Sue,” the largest, most complete, T. Rex skeleton in the world. Enjoy exhibits about Native America art, natural phenomena and human history, then get some hands-on play time in the Crown Family Playlab.

5. LEGOLAND Discover Center

Have you ever met a kid who didn’t love LEGOs? Neither have we. From intricate models to a mini LEGO factory, LEGOLAND has something for every LEGO enthusiast. This place knows what kids like and even offers a model builder’s workshop where children can stretch their imaginations and build their own LEGO creations.

6. Lincoln Park Zoo

At the Lincoln Park Zoo, you don’t have to leave the city to enjoy the wonders of nature. The zoo is open almost every day and features a carousel, paddleboats and a Children’s Zoo. In addition to the animal exhibits you’d expect, there is a small farm within the zoo where kids can feed the cows, see newborn piglets and experience an owl up close.

7. Navy Pier

Representing the quintessential Chicago, many families do not consider a trip to the Windy City complete without a trip to Navy Pier. Located on Lake Michigan, this landmark boasts 50 acres of parks, promenades, restaurants, shops and attractions, including a 150-foot high Ferris wheel. If you plan on enjoying the pier at night, try going on a Sunday or Wednesday so you can see the fireworks.

navy pier

8. Willis (Sears) Tower Skydeck

Another timeless Chicago landmark, how could you say you’ve truly experienced Chicago without taking in the view from the Skydeck? Kids will love the fast elevator ride, the view and the Knee-High Chicago exhibit on the inside.

chicago sears tower

9. Shedd Aquarium

Swim with the dolphins, take a behind-the-scenes guided tour or just wander around the aquarium’s extensive animal exhibits. Shedd Aquarium is one of the nation’s finest aquariums, providing plenty of education and fun.

10. American Girl Place

More than a store, American Girl Place offers a complete American Girl experience. Visitors can eat lunch with their dolls in the café, enjoy a theater with live musicals, go to the hair salon and pose with their doll for a fake magazine cover.


With 17 Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels in the Chicago area, we guarantee that no matter what you and your family do, you’ll have a great night’s stay.

What are your family’s favorite things to do in the Windy City? Leave a comment below to let us know!