What Should I do in Chicago?

In a couple of weeks, my mom and I will take the kids to Chicago for 5 days. I've wanted to go for years, but never seemed to have time available in the fall or spring.

I feel like I already have a head start with the great suggestions from the guest post that Minnemom wrote recently about Things to do in Chicago With Kids and the recommendations readers entered in our City Guide to Chicago With Kids, but of course I want more!

What are your favorite kid friendly activities and restaraunt in the Windy City? Tell me in Comments.

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  1. Madeline on August 26, 2008 at 1:14 a.m.

    In the latest issue of the online magazine 'lmnop' there is an article about Chicago for kids.

  2. Elizabeth on August 26, 2008 at 8:37 a.m.

    Those entries cover things pretty well! Another thing we enjoy are the free concerts in Millennium Park. You can see the calendar of events here:
    You can sit on the lawn of Pritzker Pavilion with a picnic dinner, and listen to the music. And there are always lots of kids, so lots of opportunities for play during and after. If your kids can last long enough, there are also free fireworks at Navy Pier (not far away) every Wednesday and Saturday night through the summer. http://www.navypier.com/things2do/fir...

    Unfortunately, I think many free summer events end on labor day, so you should check the schedules carefully and make sure they're still relevant when you get there.

    The Shedd aquarium is undergoing some major repairs this winter. In particular, the oceanarium (with the large marine mammals) will be closed from September 2nd. I think the wild reef exhibit is the best part of the aquarium, and that will still be open, so you may still want to go, but it's good to know ahead of time that the dolphins and belugas will not be on display. The website says that ticket prices will be reduced during the renovation.

    The lakeshore bike path is beautiful, and you can rent a 2 or 4 seater bike at Navy Pier or elsewhere, and bike along the lake, stopping for beaches and playgrounds. Kids over 1 are allowed on those bikes.

    Chicago also has tons of street festivals, and here's the September calendar:
    Some of them are too full of loud music and beer stands for me to enjoy at this point in my life, but others are interesting to explore. Generally, Timeout is the place to look for events that are specific to the time period you'll be visiting.

  3. Michelle D on August 27, 2008 at 11:47 a.m.

    Lego is big in my household, like really, really big. Not only do we have buckets of the stuff, but we also get a magazine from Lego which is delivered about once/quarter. In the last edition, there was a full page article on the "First Indoor Legoland In North America" (http://www.gadling.com/2008/08/26/chi...). My 8-yr-old wanted to go visit it right then and there!! He was dejected when I pointed out that it's in Chicago.
    But that's no reason for you not to go. IMHO, no kid is too young for lego :)


  4. Debbie on August 27, 2008 at 12:25 p.m.

    I'm debating about this the new Legoland. My kids are both crazy about lego, so I know they'd really enjoy it... but it is outside the city and not easy to get to on public transportation.

    My brother lives in San Diego, and we make frequent trips down there, so my thinking is that it might be better to focus on things that are unique to Chicago on this trip and visit Legoland California this fall. On the other hand, I bet my readers would all appreciate a first hand review of the new legoland...

  5. Mara on August 27, 2008 at 6:46 p.m.

    I was surprised at how much my kids liked the Field Museum when we were there last Christmas. We had planned to do other things, but ended up staying there almost all day. The cafe there was an OK place to have lunch too.

  6. GBK Gwyneth on August 28, 2008 at 8:13 a.m.

    My kids too love The Field Museum, and beg to go every time we visit Chicago. If you have a car and don't mind a little drive my kids also love the Children's Garden at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle. We also have enjoyed the street fests (Summer on Southport had great kids' activities, but it was in July.)

    Thanks for the Legoland tip... now my kids especially can't wait for our next trip to Chicago!

  7. TulipGirl on August 30, 2008 at 8:10 a.m.

    My boys are a little older, but we had a great time in Chicago last spring, visiting grandparents. They did "Night at the Museum" with their granddad. . . It was fun, but not necessarily the BEST thing to do in Chicago. And we loved going to the Aquarium.

    Most of all, though, we enjoyed walking around the city, visiting the Lego Store on Michigan Avenue, eating Thai and other yummy city food, visiting Navy Pier where grandma works sometimes, and looking out at Lake Michigan from their apartment.

  8. Kara on September 1, 2008 at 3:44 p.m.

    Whether you go to the Lego attraction in Chicago or not, I highly recommend the theme park in Carlsbad, CA. Your kids will LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    Here's a piece I wrote about our family trip for Grandparents.com: