Chicago may be the third most popular city in the U.S. after NYC and LA (and trust us–we are pretty partial to NYC!), but it is number one on our list of places to bring the kids this year. From skyscrapers to deep dish pizza and more, here are eight reasons to visit the Windy City with the fam.
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the Willis Tower is the tallest building in the United States. Its height stretches 1,450 feet into the air, and the 360 degree views of the city will make you feel like you’re on top of the world! Your kids can conquer their fears on the Skydeck while standing on the glass balcony of the Ledge, taking in the beautiful skyline and seeing the city beneath their feet. theskydeck.com
Take the kids to this natural history museum to see the evolution of America’s wonders! There are plenty of artifacts, special events, and interactive exhibits to keep the kids fascinated. From Ancient Egypt to Galapagos 3D, the museum covers over 4.6 billion years of history. In addition, they have special ticketed exhibits including Jurassic World and Specimens open until January 2018. They are also two food courts, picnic grounds, and free wifi. fieldmuseum.org
A trip to Chicago is not complete without a visit to Navy Pier! From family fun to food and games, Navy Pier is an iconic city landmark full of cultural experiences and events. Take the kids on the iconic Ferris Wheel or make a stop at the Chicago Children’s Museum. View an exhibition about The Rolling Stones, an erupting art display of giant foam clusters, daily cruises, movie nights along the lakefront, and much, much more! navypier.com
You may not know but this distinctive Chicago landmark’s officially name is Cloud Gate. The sculpture was designed by Anish Kapoor, and the polished exterior is made of 168 stainless steel plates. Visitors can see themselves from every angle and walk under the 12 foot arch. Its reflection captures Chicago’s beautiful skyline and sits as the centerpiece of Millennium Park. This free spot is the perfect backdrop for funny pictures and kids will love the shiny exterior that distorts their reflections!
Home to not one but two MLB teams, the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox rally strong support during the Crosstown Classic when they go head-to-head to earn the bragging rights of Chicago baseball. If you’re a Cubs fan, check out the famous Wrigley Field. It’s the second oldest MLB stadium in the U.S. and is surrounded by nearby bars and restaurants. For White Sox fans, watch them play at Guaranteed Rate Field for an unforgettable experience. They offer game day entertainment such as XFINITY Fundamentals, a 15,000-square-foot area where kids can practice their batting with spit ball machines and coaching clinics. mlb.com/cubs or mlb.com/whitesox
You don’t need to spend a lot money to have a fun time with the whole family! The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in America, opening in 1868. It’s also free to the public and open 365 days in the year. See hundreds of animals from baby rhinos to penguins to flamingos and more. There are also dining like sandwiches, burgers, and ice cream as well as shops for souvenirs and gifts. lpzoo.org
Take a stroll on a clear, sunny day to this mile-long strip of various stops. With high end retailers, boutique stores and chain stores, families can shop while seeing the magnificent Chicago skyline and landscape. If you don’t want to walk, go for a cruise on Lake Michigan and see the famous building along the Magnificent Mile like the Tribune Tower and The Wrigley Building. themagnificentmile.com
During the warmer months, take a family trip to Montrose Beach, the largest beach in Chicago. They are one of two beaches that allow dogs and a pet area allows dogs to run freely without a leash. This beach is located in Lincoln Park offers volleyball and kayaking rentals, food concessions, as well as showers in addition to sand, sun, and playful dogs all around. chicagoparkdistrict.com