Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around Chicago
2020: Best Places for Kids in the Chicago area!
The best places to take kids in and around Chicago, based on KidsOutAndAbout's annual reader survey. But there is LOTS more to do in Chicago! Get great ideas here at KidsOutAndAbout.com! What is listed below are just the starting point: Browse through our site and calendar to find lots more, and sign up for our fabulous weekly e-newsletter! And be sure not to miss our Everything Free page.
Lincoln Park Zoo
In a city where skyscrapers are built every day, Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to being the place in Chicago for all things wildlife—where children learn to love animals, where adults rediscover what it’s like to wonder, and where nature isn’t just an escape, but the priority.
Maggie Daley Park
Located in the Loop community, Maggie Daley is a new 20-acre park located on the spot of the former Daley Bicentennial Plaza. Maggie Daley Park connects to Millennium Park via the BP Pedestrian Bridge.
Today, Maggie Daley is a magnificent recreation center offering a children's playground, a climbing wall, mini golf, picnic groves, a skating ribbon, tennis courts and a formal garden. The Maggie Daley fieldhouse hosts Chicago Park District programming, including the Park District's popular Summer Day Camp.
Shedd Aquarium sparks compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.Visit today to experience unbelievable animals from around the globe, including sea otters, dolphins, penguins and more!
Chicago Children's Museum
We believe in the power of play. When we play, we learn. We create. We strengthen and grow. Chicago Children’s Museum’s mission is to improve children’s lives by creating a community where play and learning connect.
Located in the Lincoln Park community, parents gather with their preschoolers at Oz Park to enjoy the park which celebrates "The Wizard of Oz" theme. “Dorothy’s Playlot” is filled with play equipment for the little ones to climb, swing, and run. In the "Emerald Garden", families can enjoy a leisurely afternoon among the beautiful flowers. Take a stroll through the park and you’ll be greeted by statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and everyone’s favorite, Dorothy & Toto. Organized activities for children include soccer, day camp, and t-ball.
Navy Pier is where you go in Chicago for events, free public programs, attractions, culture, dining, shopping and more. It's where fun lives large, whether you're a visitor or local, with family or friends. As a nonprofit organization, the People's Pier offers a diverse and eclectic range of activities and experiences that ignite the imagination, stimulate the senses and allow your spirit to soar. It's no surprise it's a place that continues to inspire discovery and wonder after more than a century. Find out what it has to inspire you...
Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago—one of the largest science museums in the world—is home to more than 400,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the nation. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the Conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens. Year-round, visitors can enjoy the lush flora and tropical temperatures indoors, or more than 10 acres of outdoor gardens, nature play spaces for children, water lily pond, and much more. Whether you’re visiting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, or joining us for an upcoming program or event, we hope you enjoy your visit to Garfield Park Conservatory!
The Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium—America’s First Planetarium—is more than a museum; it is a laboratory, a classroom, and a community exploring the Universe together. Each year, over 550,000 visitors experience the museum’s interactive exhibitions, live planetarium shows, hands-on, minds-on STEM education programs, and world-class collections. Founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler, the Adler Planetarium is a recognized leader in public engagement; the museum's scientists, historians and educators inspire the next generation of explorers and invite you to come explore space with us.
Legoland Discovery Center
Welcome to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago! Step inside and you'll feel as though you've just jumped in to the world's biggest box of LEGO bricks! With over 3 million LEGO bricks under one roof, what will you discover?
Willis Tower Skydeck
Step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.
My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the Chicago area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication. They're proud that locals voted them #13 in best places to take kids this year!
Chicago Botanic Garden
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world's diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with our profession's highest ethical standards and practices.
The #1 tourist attraction in the Midwest! Discover a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art that provide the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities. In Millennium Park, you’ll find a new kind of town square – a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city and a destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike.
The Forge: Lemont Quarries
From ropes courses, ziplines, and climbing walls, to mountain biking, hiking trails, and adventurous dining options, The Forge: Lemont Quarries has something to Exhilarate, Educate, and Entertain adventurers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
For over 160 years, the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has served a unique role connecting children of all ages to nature and science, inspiring the wonder in all of us.
Chicago Children's Theatre
Chicago Children’s Theatre aspires to enrich our community through diverse and significant theatrical and educational programming that engages and inspires the child in all of us.