Close
Chicago

The Best Family City Guide For Visiting Chicago

Chicago City Guide

Familydaysout.com has done ALL the hard work so you don’t have to by creating the ULTIMATE family guide to visiting Chicago, to read, print and use!

We can't wait for you to check out our "Top 9 Family Attractions" for the Windy City, and yes, we are talking about Chicago! This exciting and vibrant capital of Illinois has so many things to do with kids, we list our ultimate favorites below, plus we let you know our favorite FREE things to do with kids as well!. If that isn't enough, you'll see our transport tips for Chicago, as well as fun facts to impress your friends with. We also let you know about a great day trip from Chicago too, and some famous faces that were born here! We want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything when visiting the bright lights of this amazing city.

So whether this is your first trip to the home of the Chicago Cubs, or you've lived here for years and just thought "I wonder what is there is to do near me", then keep reading, because we have the top things to do in Chicago with kids, just for you!

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Chicago officially became a city in 1837 and didn't take long for people to flock to it's gorgeous shores. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed several square miles of the city in 1871, but the city quickly picked itself up leading to the largest construction boom in the history of the nation, and by 1900 Chicago exploded to become the fifth largest city in the USA.

Between 1919 and 1933, Chicago experienced it's "Gangster Era" (which you would know from the movies!) as a result of Prohibition, creating household names of gangsters including Al Capone, and the city also survivied the Great Depression, so when you have a city surviving so much history, you know it only gets stronger and greater!

illinois chicago theaterchicago waterways skylineImage One
Chicago experiences hot and humid summers, and cold and snowy winters, but that doesn't stop over 50 millions tourists visiting every year (and that number is just growing!) What's amazing about Chicago, is there are so record-breaking attractions! Did you know that the Museum of Science and Industry is the LARGEST science museum in the nation? Did you know that Adler Planetarium is the FIRST even planetarium in the country? It's a city of so many amazing family-friendly experiences, that until you visit yourselves, just reading about it won't quite do it justice!

Chicago

Chicago might be a super easy city to explore on foot, but that doesn't stop the it operating the nation's second largest public transportation system (another record!)

Buses are a great alternative to getting around the city, not only serving the city but also 40 neighboring communities. You can also enjoy the part-elevated "L" trains, connecting the city via 144 above-ground, streer-level AND subway stations, so it's one of the most efficient affordable ways to explore Chicago.

Single bus rides are only $2.20, and Ventra tickets for bus or rail are $3 for full fare and two transfers.

Source and Image Credit: More information here: CTA

Chicago Hidden Gems Worth the Drive

Want to really see Chicago in a different way? Experience the atmosphere of days gone by and learn a bit of local history in a horse-drawn tour through some of Chicago's most picturesque neighborhoods! Choose from 30, 45 or 60 minute rides, and great fun for the family! You can enjoy carriage rides year round, starting at Water Tower Park.

Website: Antique Coach & Carriage

Antique Coach & Carriage

Famous Chicagoans

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist, winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His famous works include "For Whom the Bell Tolls", with many considered classics of American literature

Image Copyright: Public Domain

Walt Disney

Snow White, Mickey Mouse, Peter Pan...we all know the genius creations of Walt Disney, a pioneer of the American animation industry! In his career, Walt Disney won 22 Oscars, the most wins in history.

Image Copyright: Public Domain

5 Fun Chicago Facts

5 Fun Chicago Facts

Impress your friends with your amazing Chicago knowledge!

  • Chicago is the third largest city in the US.
  • The first skyscraper in the WORLD was built here in 1885. It was the Home Insurance Company!
  • The twinkie was invented in Chicago by Jimmy Dewar, launching in 1930. It was originally made with banana cream, but bananas became scarse during WWII, and so vanilla was used instead!
  • Other very cool Chicago inventions include the zipper, the Ferris Wheel, deep-dish pizza, soap operas, and the vacuum cleaner!
  • The first live Presidential debate happened in Chicago. It was aired on CBS in 1960, and saw John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon battle it out.

Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Chicago

Visit Lincoln Park Zoo

Visit Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is special in so many ones - one of those being it's one of the oldest zoos in North America (it was founded in 1868)

Today, the zoo is home to nearly 1,100 animals, and admission is - yes, completely free! It's also open 365 days a year, so whenever you want to say hi to the big cats, polar bears or gorillas that call it home - you can!

See

See "the Bean" in Milennium Park

Nothing quite sums up iconic images of Chicago than that glistening "bean" - so make sure you stop by for that selfie!

Actually called "Cloud Gate", this sculpture was created by an Indian-born Britist artists, and is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza at Milennium Park.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory

With 10 acres of outdoor gardens, and even more lush flora indoors, it's no surprise that Garfield Par Consertatory is one of the largest (and most stunning!) botanical conservatories in the entire nation.

They also offer fun hands-on programs for kids too!

Stroll the Chicago Riverwalk

Stroll the Chicago Riverwalk

Located on the south bank of the main area of the Chicago River, the Chicago Riverwalk comes alive with restaurants, boat rentals, and a great view!

Called the city's "Second Lakefront", it's a charming place to just stroll with the family for a few hours exploring!

Image Credit: Chicago Riverwalk

Explore Navy Pier

Explore Navy Pier

Navy Pier is a 50 acre playground for the family jam packed with restaurants, shops, music, theater, and yes - rides!

The iconic site is the 200ft Ferris Wheel offering unparalleled views of the city, but they also have a carousel, tilt-a-whirl, mini-golf course & more!

A Fun Day Trip From Chicago!

You might not think taking a day trip into another state is a good idea, but when you're in Chicago, there is nothing quite like the nearby town of Holland, Michigan. Not only are you crossing state lines, but it will make you feel like you are in another continent!

AMTRAK offer one way trips for around $30, taking about 3 hours. By car, you could do it in 2 1/2 hours. But the cultural experience? Priceless.

Holland, Michigan

The town of Holland is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, and features white sandy beaches, small-town charm, yet with big city amenities. Spend your day hiking to the top of a sand dune, or even climbing to the top of a windmill (we are in Holland, after all!)

Settled in 1847 by Dutch Calvinist separatists, the town was once known as the "City of Churches", with 17 churches in the area. (Did you know that those "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets originated from Holland, MI?)

Embracing the Dutch heritage, Holland is famous for its Tulip Time Festival in May, as well as Dutch-themed attractions along the shoreline, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Downtown Holland is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with the region boasting an number of museums exploring the rich heritage. There is also a 250-year windmill! Enjoy a culturally fascianting day out from the Windy City, and add a little bit of European magic into your family day out.

Image Credit: www.holland.org

Here’s our top 4 Holland, MI attractions to visit:

We hope you found this content useful! Please share with your friends, and if you have any comments, or want to let us know what we can do to further help you find fun days out with the family, then just email our team at [email protected]!

Let's get the family adventure started!

Leave a comment

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

The best fun places to go with kids sent straight to your inbox!

Subscribe now