7 Things to Do in Chicago With Kids for a Fun-Filled Visit

Chicago is such a big city that you’ll never run out of activity options or places to visit. So even if you’re visiting with little ones and seeking out hidden speakeasies or hitting up jazz clubs isn’t in the cards, there’s still more than enough legit-fun activities you can do with the whole family.

The Windy City has an abundance of museums, parks and iconic spots perfect for the little in your life. Here’s our list of seven things to do in Chicago with kids for a fun-filled, memorable visit.

people ride a colorful swing ride with a big Ferris Wheel in the background at Navy Pier in Chicago, a great place to go with kids
There are tons of things to do in Chicago with kids that the grown-ups will enjoy too. Photo credit: Gus

Eat Deep-Dish

There’s nothing in the Universe that kids love more than pizza, rightly so. It’s the perfect invention. And deep-dish, with its ridiculous pie-like features and layers upon layers of cheese, is as kid-tastic as it gets.

Giordano’s is the way to go in this situation. They pride themselves on their “Cheese Pull”, in which the server dramatically tugs the first slice up and away from the rest of the pie to see how far the cheesy slice can stretch (Hint: it’s farther than should be scientifically possible). It’s a photo op with a tasty finish.

extreme close up of a Chicago deep-dish pizza, with a hand reaching in to take a slice
Chicago deep-dish pizza is a kid-friendly favorite. Photo credit: James

Catch a Cubs Game

The Cubs are no longer anything near the best team in baseball. But winning isn’t why Chicagoans love the Cubs. It’s all about the experience of taking in a game at Wrigley, and letting the history and the ambiance wash over you. Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, America’s pastime, begging your parents for another Chicago-style hot dog–you can’t beat it.

Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, go for the one-of-a-kind stadium experience. Wrigley is a home run for nostalgia. Kids can take their picture with the 2016 World Series trophy, read the names of past greats on the brick sidewalks around the ballpark, and play around in the green space of the recently renovated Gallagher Way.

Ownership has poured a ton of money into updating the stadium and the immediate area around the ballpark. There’s quality new restaurant options within fifty feet of the gate and a hotel right in front, and both have Cubs lore littered throughout.

The neighborhood is shinier than it used to be. The vibe is more fun than in decades past. They’ve found a way to modernize the area while keeping the baseball experience as timeless as ever. Visiting Wrigley Stadium and catching a Cubs game is one of our favorite things to do in Chicago with kids.

A big red sign reads "Wrigly Field Home of Chicago Cubs" in white letters. LED lights beneath read "CUBS WIN!" Going to a Cubs game is a great thing to do in Chicago with kids.
Take the kids out to a ballgame when in Chicago. Photo credit: Heather Maguire

Chicago Children’s Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum is a no-brainer. Located at Navy Pier, another spot tailor-made for littles, the Museum is basically a big playground, where kids are too busy climbing, building, reading, and jumping to realize they’re learning so much at the same time.

Kids can build contraptions in the Tinkering Lab, get their hands messy in the Art Studio, explore Kids Town, and pretty much climb their way around the museum. Surprises await around every corner. The Chicago Children’s Museum is a great spot for kids to burn off some energy while building up their brains.

One of the best places to visit in Chicago with kids, a girl wearing a red coat tugs at a rope at the Chicago Children's Museum
The Chicago Children’s Museum is fun for kids big and small. Photo credit: Smart Destinations

Navy Pier

The knock on Navy Pier is that it’s a tourist trap–a line of pricey shops and overpriced rides. Sure, but we’ve never seen a place work so hard to give kids an experience to remember.

From the fountains in the park out front, to the rotating art exhibits (which are often interactive), the free concerts, the AR-enhanced screens and gizmos outside the shops, to the little maze, the rides, all the way up to that beautiful Ferris Wheel, that icon of the Chicago skyline–Navy Pier hustles to make your children smile.

Ride the Centennial Wheel in the city where Ferris Wheels were invented. Stroll along the water and get photos of the city’s amazing skyline. Catch the free fireworks display on Wednesday and Saturday nights in the summer. That’s when the Pier is at its best.

wide shot of Navy Pier in Chicago, with a large white Ferris Wheel in the background, a red and yellow swing ride to the right, and a fountain in the foreground
Keep the kids busy at Navy Pier with rides galore. Photo credit: Jonathan J. Castellon

Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is at the center of everything, and therefore a perfect stopover between a visit to the Museum Campus and your dinner reservations later in River North or the West Loop. It’s a free park with climbing walls, a gigantic playground, mini golf, and a huge playground even an adult could get blissfully lost in.

Expert’s Tip: Need even more ideas for things to do in Chicago with kids? Check out our ideas of seven places to visit in Chicago for free.

Large playground with the Chicago skyline in the background. Maggie Daley Park is an excellent free place to go in Chicago with kids.
Kill some time in Maggie Daley Park. Photo credit: Ceyhun Jay Isik

Bike Ride on the Lakefront Trail

The Chicago Lakefront Trail is an 18.5 mile long scenic walking and bike path along Lake Michigan that will make you wonder why you don’t live in this perfect city. Along the path you can stop at any one of a dozen beaches, Navy Pier, your pick from several museums, or even the Zoo.

With Lake Michigan on one side and the Chicago skyline on the other, you’ll be stopping for unforgettable family photos all along the way.

You can pick up Divvy bikes just off the path in most neighborhoods, or you can rent bicycles just outside Navy Pier. The bike lanes are super safe and kid-friendly, though the Trail can get crowded in the summer. The Trail is a great way to cover a lot of the city without getting stuck in traffic.

People are jogging, riding bikes, and sitting and hanging out on the Lakefront Trail in Chicago with the skyline in the background
See the city and expend some energy when you bike ride along the safe Lakefront Trail in Chicago with your kids. Photo credit: Michelle Stenzel

SafeHouse Chicago

Located just a block off the Magnificent Mile, SafeHouse Chicago is a restaurant with junior spies in mind. The fun starts even before you enter. You have to find the secret red door to even get in, and then you’ll need the password to prove you’re a real spy.

Once inside, kids can have a blast with the spy-themed decor, gadgets and overall immersive experience. The menu offers Midwestern classics like cheese curds, burgers, and Chicago-style dogs, along with a decent selection of adult beverages for the grown up 007s.

A wall in a spy-themed restaurant covered in pictures and notes, with a big illuminated sign that reads "C.I.A. Cover Phone"
Got a kid that loves solving puzzles? SafeHouse has a fun, family-friendly location in Chicago. Photo credit: Thomas Hawk