Last updated on October 5th, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Planning a family trip to Chicago? The Windy City has plenty to offer for the whole family. It’s a destination worth adding to the bucket list!
Of course, in the third largest city in the U.S., you could easily spend your life savings and more. Don’t worry! This list includes the must-visits with some tips for saving money in the process. Because that’s what we’re all about around here!
Family Friendly Fun!
Here’s some Chicago stops that your whole family will enjoy:
If you aren’t all that fascinated by marine life, that will change once you step inside this incredible aquarium. Feast your eyes on underwater life from all around the world and right here in the Great Lakes area. The towering tanks allow you to get up close and personal with scores of sea life. Talk with experts about the various creatures, and watch trainers care for whales, sea lions, and dolphins.
Illinois residents can enjoy discount passes as well as special free days throughout the year. There is also the option of purchasing a Chicago City Pass that gets you a hefty discount on the Shedd as well as four other top spots. And those are not all the discount options! Check out the Shedd Aquarium website for multiple ways to get the most out of Shedd for the lowest cost.
Just a few steps away from Shedd is the Field Museum, another family favorite. Upon walking in, you’ll be greeted by Maximo the Titanosaur, the largest land animal ever discovered. His skeleton spans most of the main floor hall. Check out the brand new dinosaur exhibit opening in Spring of 2019.
The Field is so much more than dinosaurs, though! Explore mummies, gems, and Antarctica. The kids can play scientist in the PlayLab and experience life in ancient Egypt.
Discounts for the Field Museum are much the same as those offered at the Shedd! It is also included in the Chicago City Pass. Find more information HERE.Family Friendly Fun in Chicago -- 10+ Ideas for Your Next Trip to the Windy City | #travel #vacation #Chicago #familytravel #frugaltravel Click To Tweet
Part of the Museum Campus, Adler Planetarium is also nearby the Shedd and the Field Museum. A nice walking path will take you along Lake Michigan and right up to the planetarium. Through the various exhibits, learn about what makes a planet a planet and why Pluto got booted. Follow an astronaut’s journey to the moon. Take a walk through the solar system.
There are different levels of passes you can purchase, general admission being the cheapest which includes almost all of the exhibits. Other levels of passes will include the special planetarium shows. The Adler is also a part of the City Pass and has other special offers including discounts for Illinois teachers and active military personnel. Find out more on the Adler website.
Interested in taking in the whole of Chicago in a single experience? Skydeck Chicago is the spot! Take some of the fastest elevators in the world to the 103rd floor of the iconic Willis Tower where Skydeck offers all sorts of interactive exhibits and panoramic views. Of course, the new Ledge is a must! Fully glass boxes jut out more than four feet from the Skydeck, giving you unobstructed views and an unforgettable experience.
Skydeck is also included in the City Pass, and offers a handful of other discount options over on the website.
You cannot leave a family day in Chicago without visiting Navy Pier! It’s loaded with fun all year round, and quite a bit of that fun is free! Be sure to check the website before you visit to find out what events and programs are scheduled for your time there. Or simply take a walk down the pier and be surprised by all the bustling activity, music, shows, and art everywhere. And don’t forget to stay for the twice-weekly firework shows during the summer!
A couple of regular activities that are probably worth spending a little money on are the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Centennial Wheel. Both are right on the pier and also offer various special discounts.
Totally Free Fun!
Even with the potential discounts and deals, all of this Chicago fun can add up fast, especially for a larger family. Here’s a super quick list of things to do for absolutely free!
- Lincoln Park Zoo: a bonafide zoo for completely free.
- Wildwood Nature Center: butterflies, animals, and indoor nature.
- Maggie Daley Park: a playground like none other.
- Millenium Park: home of the “Cloud Gate” and other public art.
- Lakefront Trail: great for biking or walking, even with kids in tow.
- Chicago Botanic Garden: flowers galore, including the Nature Play Garden for kids.
The Windy City is chocked full of family fun. We’ve really only scratched the surface. But armed with this list, you and your family will make memories to last a lifetime in the beautiful city of Chicago!
You might also like this post…Five Free Things to do in Chicago
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