Best Things To Do With Kids During The Summer In Chicago

The magic of Chicago is one of the best-kept secrets. Sure, New York is the center of the world and LA has 24/7 sunshine, but there’s something about Chicago that just hits different. It’s a city bursting with diversity, gorgeous architecture and so much to do with kids! Plus the walkability and public transportation cannot be beat. Spend a week in Chicago during the summer, and you’ll be sure to make it a yearly occurrence.

If you’re planning a trip, you definitely shouldn’t miss these fun and unique things to do in summer with kids in Chicago!

1. Street Festivals

No seriously, there are so many street fests in Chicago, and they happen all season long! From the early summer Maifest in the quaint and hip neighborhood of Lincoln Square to the Chicago Food Truck Festival in the bustling South Loop, there is quite literally a street fest every week in every different neighborhood offering delicious foods and live music. These festivals typically have kids’ tents and activities catered toward families.

2. Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo nestled inside (you guessed it) Lincoln Park is one of the more iconic landmarks of Chicago. Take a spin on the merry-go-round or grab some popcorn and watch the flamingos. Best of all? It’s 100% free! Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

3. Wrigley Field

Grab some seats in the bleachers (plus a cold one for you) and take in a game of baseball at the iconic and historic home field of the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field, right on the corner of Clark and Addison, is always bustling inside and out with excited fans, street performers, and as many hot dogs as your kid can stomach. Plus, on Sundays, the first 1,000 kids into the stadium get to run the bases after the game for free!

4. Ride a Water Taxi

Mom hack: skip the expensive architecture boat tour and opt for a ride on a water taxi! A water taxi not only costs less than a tour ticket, but you get to take in all the sights of downtown while floating down the Chicago River without boring your kids to death.

5. Chicago Air and Water Show

Every summer, the Chicago skies and water are taken over by some of the most impressive aerial and water experts in the country. Since the summer of 1959, the Chicago Air and Water Show has grown to be the largest and oldest free-admission air and water exhibition in the United States. Grab some blankets, pack a picnic, and watch in awe as these amazing performers soar through the sky.

6. Head to the Beach

Another mom hack: avoid the madness of the Oak Street and North Avenue beaches and head a bit more north on Lake Shore Drive. Some of the smaller, lesser-known beaches (Montrose Beach, 12th Street Beach, etc.) are just as gorgeous but with way less commotion. Chicago is a water city, and the beaches in the summer prove just that. Bonus: Montrose Beach is also a dog beach!

7. Watch a Movie in the Park

Every summer for the last 21 years, the Chicago Park District puts on movies in the park almost every night. From Hollywood classics to kid flicks, hundreds of parks take their turn blowing up a big screen and inviting the community for some summer fun.

8. Walk Around Oz Park

Located in the Lincoln Park community, Oz Park not only has one of the most unique play structures in the city, but if you take a walk around the grounds, you’ll run into some familiar-looking characters. Statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and everyone’s favorite, Dorothy and Toto all stand prominently at different corners of the park.

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