99 Things for Kids to Do in the Summer in Chicago


Summer is here, let the fun with Kids big or small begin

Chicago is a great place to be a kid in the summer. There are so many things to see and do, from visiting museums and historical sites to playing in the park and going to the beach. Here are just a few ideas:

Museums and Historical Sites

    • The Field Museum: This world-renowned museum is home to a collection of over 20 million artifacts, including dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, and cultural exhibits from around the world.

Field Museum in Chicago
    • The Art Institute of Chicago: This world-class museum is home to a collection of over 300,000 works of art, including masterpieces by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Monet.

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago

    • The Shedd Aquarium: This world-famous aquarium is home to over 32,000 animals from the world’s oceans.
    • The Adler Planetarium: This planetarium offers a variety of educational programs and shows about astronomy and space exploration.

Adler Planetarium in Chicago

    • The Museum of Science and Industry: This museum is home to a variety of exhibits about science, technology, and industry.
The Museum of Science and Industry: This museum is home to a variety of exhibits about science, technology, and industry.
    • The Chicago History Museum: This museum tells the story of Chicago from its founding to the present day.
The Chicago History Museum: This museum tells the story of Chicago from its founding to the present day.

Parks and Playgrounds

    • Lincoln Park: This sprawling park is home to a variety of attractions, including the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
Lincoln Park
    • Grant Park: This park is home to many of Chicago’s most popular attractions, including Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Buckingham Fountain.

Grant Park in Chicago
    • North Avenue Beach: This beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and playing volleyball.
North Avenue Beach
    • South Shore Cultural Center: This center offers a variety of programs and activities for kids, including arts and crafts, dance classes, and sports programs.
South Shore Culturasl Center
    • Garfield Park Conservatory: This conservatory is home to a variety of plants from around the world.
Garfield Park Conservatory

Other Activities

    • Go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field: Wrigley Field is one of the most famous baseball stadiums in the world.
Wrigley Field
    • Take a boat ride on the Chicago River: This is a great way to see the city from a different perspective.
Chicago Boat Rides
    • Go to a concert at Millennium Park: Millennium Park is home to a variety of outdoor concerts during the summer.
    • Visit the Willis Tower Skydeck: The Willis Tower Skydeck is the highest observation deck in the Western Hemisphere.
Willis Tower
  • Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo: The Lincoln Park Zoo is free to visit and is home to over 1,200 animals.
  • Take a walk or bike ride on the lakefront: The lakefront is a great place to get some exercise and enjoy the views of the city.

These are just a few ideas for things to do with kids in Chicago during the summer. There are many other great options, so be sure to explore and find what your family enjoys the most.

Chicago is a vibrant city that offers a wide array of exciting activities for kids of all ages. Whether you’re a local or visiting the Windy City, there are plenty of opportunities to keep your little ones entertained. From world-class museums to outdoor adventures, here are 99 things for kids to do in Chicago.

Museums and Cultural Experiences

  1. Explore the Field Museum: Take a journey through natural history and marvel at the extensive dinosaur collection.
  2. Visit the Shedd Aquarium: Discover aquatic wonders and learn about marine life through interactive exhibits.
  3. Immerse in Science at the Museum of Science and Industry: Engage in hands-on experiments and explore interactive displays.
  4. Discover the Art Institute of Chicago: Introduce your kids to famous artwork and participate in family-friendly activities.
  5. Experience the Adler Planetarium: Learn about the wonders of space and gaze at the stars in the planetarium’s domed theater.
  6. Learn History at the Chicago History Museum: Dive into the city’s past through exhibits and interactive displays.
  7. Visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Explore nature exhibits and participate in educational programs.
  8. Enjoy the DuSable Museum of African American History: Learn about the contributions and achievements of African Americans.
  9. Discover the Chicago Children’s Museum: Engage in imaginative play and hands-on exhibits designed specifically for children.
  10. Explore the National Museum of Mexican Art: Discover Mexican art and culture through exhibits and workshops.

Outdoor Adventures

  1. Stroll along the Navy Pier: Enjoy rides, games, and stunning views of Lake Michigan.
  2. Visit Millennium Park: Splash around in the Crown Fountain and take a picture with the iconic Cloud Gate sculpture.
  3. Explore Lincoln Park Zoo: Encounter a wide variety of animals and enjoy the zoo’s many exhibits and events.
  4. Spend a day at Maggie Daley Park: Climb the rock wall, explore the playgrounds, and enjoy the skating ribbon.
  5. Rent bikes and ride along the Lakefront Trail: Take in the scenic views of the city and enjoy a family bike ride.
  6. Have a picnic at Grant Park: Relax in the expansive green space and enjoy a family picnic.
  7. Visit the Garfield Park Conservatory: Wander through lush gardens and learn about various plant species.
  8. Explore the Chicago Botanic Garden: Discover beautiful gardens, walk through nature trails, and enjoy seasonal events.
  9. Go on a nature hike at the Indiana Dunes National Park: Experience the stunning dunes and enjoy outdoor activities.
  10. Enjoy the beaches of Lake Michigan: Build sandcastles, swim, and soak up the sun on Chicago’s lakeside beaches.

Fun and Games

  1. Spend a day at Navy Pier’s Centennial Wheel: Ride the Ferris wheel and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city.
  2. Experience indoor skydiving at iFly Chicago: Feel the thrill of skydiving in a safe and controlled environment.
  3. Play laser tag at WhirlyBall: Engage in friendly competition and enjoy the adrenaline rush of laser tag.
  4. Visit an indoor trampoline park: Jump, flip, and bounce on trampolines at Sky Zone or Pump It Up.
  5. Explore the interactive exhibits at the Chicago Children’s Museum: Engage in pretend play, build structures, and create art.
  6. Play mini-golf at Par-King Skill Golf: Navigate through creatively designed miniature golf courses.
  7. Enjoy arcade games at Dave & Buster’s: Play a variety of video games and win prizes.
  8. Go bowling at one of Chicago’s many bowling alleys: Enjoy a fun-filled family bowling session.
  9. Try ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink: Glide on the ice and enjoy the winter wonderland atmosphere.
  10. Play board games at Cat & Mouse Game Store: Discover new games and enjoy a day of board game fun.

Educational and Enriching Activities

  1. Participate in a cooking class for kids: Learn culinary skills and create delicious dishes at The Kids’ Table.
  2. Attend a performance at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Introduce your children to classical music.
  3. Join a theater workshop at the Chicago Children’s Theatre: Explore the world of theater through interactive workshops.
  4. Take a family-friendly architecture boat tour: Learn about Chicago’s iconic skyline and architectural marvels.
  5. Visit the Oriental Institute Museum: Discover ancient artifacts and learn about ancient civilizations.
  6. Explore the Museum of Contemporary Art: Engage with modern art through interactive exhibits and family programs.
  7. Learn about aviation at the Chicago Air and Water Show: Witness breathtaking aerial performances and learn about aircraft.
  8. Attend a children’s book reading at a local bookstore: Explore the world of literature through interactive storytelling sessions.
  9. Visit the Museum of Broadcast Communications: Learn about the history of radio and television through exhibits.
  10. Learn about urban farming at the Chicago City Farm: Participate in hands-on activities and learn about sustainable agriculture.

Sports and Recreation

  1. Catch a Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox game: Experience the excitement of baseball at one of the city’s iconic ballparks.
  2. Attend a Chicago Bulls or Chicago Sky basketball game: Cheer on the home team and enjoy the thrill of professional basketball.
  3. Go ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink: Lace up your skates and enjoy a winter skating session.
  4. Play soccer at one of Chicago’s many parks: Enjoy a friendly game of soccer on the city’s soccer fields.
  5. Try rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders: Challenge yourself on climbing walls designed for kids of all skill levels.
  6. Learn martial arts at a local dojo: Develop discipline, confidence, and physical fitness through martial arts training.
  7. Play tennis at one of Chicago’s public tennis courts: Grab a racket and enjoy a game of tennis with your family.
  8. Participate in a youth sports league: Join a soccer, baseball, or basketball league and enjoy team sports.
  9. Try ice hockey at one of Chicago’s ice rinks: Learn to skate and play hockey in a supportive environment.
  10. Go swimming at a local pool: Cool off and have fun at one of Chicago’s many public swimming pools.

Seasonal and Festive Fun

  1. Celebrate Halloween at Navy Pier’s Halloween Harvest: Enjoy costume contests, trick-or-treating, and spooky activities.
  2. Visit the Christkindlmarket during the holiday season: Experience a traditional German Christmas market.
  3. Attend a summer street festival: Enjoy live music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities at neighborhood festivals.
  4. Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown: Experience colorful parades, traditional performances, and authentic cuisine.
  5. Enjoy the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade: Witness giant floats, marching bands, and performances along State Street.
  6. Visit one of Chicago’s pumpkin patches: Pick your own pumpkin and enjoy hayrides and corn mazes.
  7. Celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks: Watch spectacular fireworks displays at Navy Pier or other locations.
  8. Explore the Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier: Enjoy indoor ice skating, carnival rides, and holiday-themed attractions.
  9. Participate in the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Enjoy the festive atmosphere and watch the parade procession.
  10. Experience the Taste of Chicago: Sample delicious food from local restaurants and enjoy live music at this summer festival.

Creative and Artistic Activities

  1. Take an art class at the Chicago Children’s Museum: Explore various art techniques and create your own masterpieces.
  2. Visit a pottery painting studio: Decorate your own pottery and take home a personalized souvenir.
  3. Attend a family-friendly theater performance: Watch a play or musical specifically designed for young audiences.
  4. Participate in a dance workshop at a local dance studio: Learn different dance styles and choreography.
  5. Take a music lesson: Learn to play an instrument or improve your vocal skills at a local music school.
  6. Create crafts at the Chicago Children’s Museum’s Tinkering Lab: Engage in hands-on activities and unleash your creativity.
  7. Visit the Chicago Children’s Theatre: Attend a performance or participate in theater workshops designed for kids.
  8. Learn photography skills: Explore the city with a camera and capture your favorite moments.
  9. Join an art camp during summer or school breaks: Immerse yourself in creative activities and make new friends.
  10. Create a family art project: Collaborate on a large-scale art project at home or in a community space.

Unique Experiences

  1. Take a ride on the Chicago Water Taxi: Explore the city from a different perspective and enjoy the scenic views.
  2. Go on a Chicago River architecture cruise: Learn about the city’s iconic buildings and bridges.
  3. Visit the 360 Chicago Observation Deck: Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center.
  4. Take a helicopter tour of Chicago: Experience a bird’s-eye view of the city’s skyline and landmarks.
  5. Go on a Segway tour: Glide through the city’s streets and explore popular attractions.
  6. Take a scenic bike ride along the Lakefront Trail: Enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Michigan while cycling.
  7. Explore the Chicago Pedway: Navigate the underground network of tunnels and walkways connecting downtown buildings.
  8. Visit the Chicago Riverwalk: Enjoy the scenic walkway along the Chicago River and experience riverside dining.
  9. Go on a food tour: Sample the city’s diverse cuisine and learn about its culinary history.
  10. Take a water taxi to Chinatown: Explore Chicago’s vibrant Chinatown and try delicious Asian cuisine.

Nature and Animal Encounters

  1. Visit Brookfield Zoo: Encounter a wide range of animals and enjoy interactive exhibits and demonstrations.
  2. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride in Grant Park: Enjoy a relaxing carriage ride through the park’s scenic paths.
  3. Visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory: Explore the tropical plant conservatory and enjoy the lush surroundings.
  4. Go bird-watching at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary: Spot a variety of bird species and enjoy the serene nature.
  5. Take a scenic hike along the Lakefront Trail: Enjoy nature and beautiful lake views while going for a family hike.
  6. Go on a whale watching cruise on Lake Michigan: Spot migrating whales and learn about marine life.
  7. Visit the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Butterfly Haven: Step into a tropical paradise and observe colorful butterflies.
  8. Take a kayak or canoe trip on the Chicago River: Explore the city’s waterways and observe urban wildlife.
  9. Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo’s Farm-in-the-Zoo: Learn about farm animals and participate in interactive exhibits.
  10. Go on a nature walk in Millennium Park: Discover hidden gardens and learn about local flora and fauna.

Culinary Adventures

  1. Indulge in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza: Try a slice of the city’s iconic pizza at renowned pizzerias.
  2. Explore the Maxwell Street Market: Taste diverse cuisines, browse through vendors, and enjoy live music.
  3. Visit a local chocolate factory: Learn about the chocolate-making process and sample delicious treats.
  4. Take a cupcake decorating class: Learn to decorate cupcakes with various designs and toppings.
  5. Try unique ice cream flavors at local creameries: Sample unconventional flavors and enjoy a sweet treat.
  6. Explore the international food scene in Chicago neighborhoods: Try different cuisines in neighborhoods like Pilsen, Little Italy, or Greektown.
  7. Visit a farmers market: Discover local produce, artisanal goods, and enjoy a farm-to-table experience.
  8. Attend a cooking demonstration or food festival: Learn new recipes and enjoy culinary events throughout the city.
  9. Create your own food tour: Choose a theme and explore various eateries and food establishments around Chicago.

Chicago offers an endless array of activities for kids to explore and enjoy. From educational museums to outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, there is something for every child’s interest. So, grab your family and embark on an exciting journey through the vibrant city of Chicago!