50 things to do in Chicago with kids this spring

Find the best family activities, fun outings and more things to do in Chicago with kids this spring

Animal Days at Angelic Organics is one of the best things to do in Chicago with kids this spring.

What is that strange yellow orb in the sky? And what is that odd tingling sensation on your skin? In other parts of the world, it's called the sun. In Chicago, it's called salvation. Spring is here, and with it, there's a ton of things to do with kids. So before you send your little one to summer camp, and before swimming pool season, check out these top 50 spring events and outings happening now through June.

RECOMMENDED: More things to do in spring in Chicago

1–10

1

Kids and Kites Festival

Critics' pick

Celebrate the arrival of spring at this free, outdoor family-friendly festival at Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park, where kids can fly a kite or watch professional demonstrations. Free paper kites will be provided, but families will also be able to purchase more intricate flying creations from a variety of vendors. 

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Montrose Harbor Saturday May 2 2015 Free
2

Green City Market

The largest farmers market in Chicago, Green City Market is held Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7am–1pm during the outdoor season and 8am-1pm on Saturdays during the winter. Vendors include Ellis Farms, Nordic Creamery and Mint Creek Farm. Plus, there are chef demos, workshops and more. The market opens in Lincoln Park for the outdoor season on May 2, 2015.

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Lincoln Park
3

Family Day Tinker

Fix things and then take them apart at this family fun day at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Guest artist Dave Ford will be on hand to help families test out new ways of making things at this workshop.

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Museum of Contemporary Art Saturday May 9 2015 Free
4

CircEsteem Family Circus

Watch the performers of the youth circus—from beginning to advanced—perform in this annual show. Kids from ages 3–18 are a part of the performance.

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Alternatives, Inc. Saturday April 18 2015 - Saturday April 25 2015
5

Juicebox Series at the Chicago Cultural Center

Critics' pick

The Chicago Cultural Center presents Juicebox, a free series of performances that will get your kid's creative juices flowing. Istvan and his Imaginary Band, traditional Mexican dancing and circus theatrics are some of what you'll find at this weekly event.

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Chicago Cultural Center Friday April 3 2015 - Friday September 18 2015 Free
6

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

Critics' pick

Celebrating its fifth year in Chicago, C2E2 brings a ton of comic book creators and some notable TV and movie stars to McCormick Place. If you hit the floor, you'll find costumed attendees mingling in a sea of comics, toys and assorted memorabilia. The event also offers a slate of panels, including another appearance by Stan Lee. If you want to nerd out for a weekend, this is the con you’re looking for. There is also a family headquarters complete with various shows, improv and more geared toward the younger set.

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McCormick Place Friday April 24 2015 - Sunday April 26 2015
7

Green Metropolis Fair

Celebrate Earth Month with this family festival. Activites include gardening, interacting with farm animals and composting. There will also be a food hall featuring local restaurants and chefs.

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Irish American Heritage Center Sunday May 17 2015 Free
8

Art Institute Family Festival

Spend an art-filled day at the Art Institute's Ryan Education Center with a live storytelling concert, gallery walk-through, interactive art installation and studio project. There will also be an opportunity to meet artist-in-residence Tom Burtonwood.

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Art Institute of Chicago Sunday June 7 2015 Free
9

Bike the Drive

Critics' pick

Have you ever dreamed of cruising down Lake Shore Drive on your bicycle? Bike the Drive makes that dream a reality for one day this year, closing down the popular lakefront thoroughfare to cars early on a Sunday morning. Participants can bike from Bryn Mawr Ave to the Museum of Science industry (and back) during the five hours of car-free riding.

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Bike the Drive Route Sunday May 24 2015

11–20

11

Run the Bases at Wrigley Field

The first 1,000 ticketed kids under 15 will be able to run the bases at any Sunday home game at Wrigley Field.

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Wrigley Field Sunday May 3 2015 - Sunday September 27 2015
12

Beat Kitchen Kids Concert Series

Nothing like jamming out before nap time. Kindie rockers like The Boogers, Little Miss Ann and Mr. Singer and The Sharp Cookies rock out for the kids on Sundays, with a few extra shows sprinkled in on other days.

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Beat Kitchen Sunday April 5 2015 - Sunday June 21 2015
13

Penguin Encounter

Get hands on with a penguin, so close you'll be able to touch one! You'll also learn about the penguins at the Shedd and get a mini-training session.

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Shedd Aquarium Until Friday May 29 2015
15

Jack and the Beanstalk

This well-known fairytale comes to life onstage complete with Jack and a growing beanstalk.

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Beverly Arts Center Wednesday April 1 2015 - Friday April 3 2015
16

Dozin' with the Dinos

Sue the T. rex hosts a sleepover! Families with kids ages 6–12 can bring their sleeping bags for a night at the museum. Kids can explore various exhibits after dark, play games and cozy up by the giant dinousaur for bedtime stories.

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The Field Museum Friday April 3 2015 - Friday May 8 2015
17

Party for the Planet

The zoo turns into a place to learn about how you can impact your environment and make a difference for animals all over the planet. Activities include a recycling event, tree and acorn planting, a theater production, and checking out a clean-air bus.

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Brookfield Zoo Sunday April 19 2015
18

Once Upon a Symphony: Jack and the Beanstalk

The CSO brings this story to life through music and visuals created by the Chicago Children's Theatre. Be sure to show up 45 minutes before the performance for activities based on the show, led by music educators. Best for ages 3-5.

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Symphony Center Saturday April 11 2015 - Saturday April 25 2015
19

Animal Day for Families

Take a trip outside of the city to Angelic Organics in Caledonia, Illinois, for a special animal day. Kids can milk cows, feed animals, gather eggs and even make goat's milk ice cream.

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Angelic Organics Learning Center Saturday May 9 2015
20

Six Flags Great America

May 2 marks the return of theme park season at Six Flags Great America and a celebration of 40 years of thrills. To commemorate it's birthday, the park will feature the restoration of three original kiddie rides: Tots Livery Surrey Carriage, Red Baron Airplanes and Lady Bugs. The Carousel Plaza and Hometown Square also get upgrades to bring back a nostalgic feel to the park.

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Gurnee

21–30

21

Science Snoozeum

This opportunity to explore the Museum of Science and Industry "after dark" will have your kids excited for days. Kids can make their own science toys, do a scavenger hunt, watch an Omnimax film and sleep up close to a 727. Ages 6-12.

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Museum of Science and Industry Friday April 17 2015
22

Family Night: All Aboard

It's all about trains at this Chicago History Museum event. Kids can play train bingo, build a railroad lantern and take trackless train rides. There will also be a photo booth and live folk music.

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Chicago History Museum Friday April 17 2015
23

"Worthy" at Adventure Stage

Adventure Stage Chicago presents the world premiere of local playwright and Knife & Fork founder Dani Bryant's youth-empowerment fairy tale Worthy, a story about four kids who embark on a fantasy-laden quest of self-actualization. On April 17, 18, and 24, the theater will offer $10 tickets.

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Vittum Theater Friday April 17 2015 - Saturday May 16 2015
24

Touch a Truck Family Festival

What kid doesn't love being up close and personal with real trucks? At this family festival they will have the chance to climb in and get an up-close look. There will also be food and music with proceeds benefitting the Kohl Children's Museum.

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Fields Chrysler Jeep Dodge Sunday May 3 2015
25

Check out the new food court at Navy Pier

Navy Pier hasn't been known for its superior selection of food options, but that is slowly changing. Throughout 2015 expect a larger communal area with unobstructed water views along with outposts of favorite food spots across the city. Recent additions include Lettuce Entertain You's Big Bowl Express and Frankie's Pizza by the Slice.

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Streeterville Free
26

Fancy Nancy, The Musical

Nancy's ready for her spotlight, but has to learn to share when she doesn't get the starring role in her dance recital. Emerald City Theatre stages this fancy musical based on the children's books by Jane O’Connor.

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Apollo Theater Saturday April 4 2015 - Sunday May 24 2015
27

Cinco de Mayo Pinata Party

Join the zoo for special animal enrichment workshops where kids (and their parents!) can make edible pinatas and other items that the animals can play with across the zoo.

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Lincoln Park Zoo Saturday April 11 2015 - Sunday May 3 2015
28

Puppets! at the Art Institute

This ongoing exhibit allows kids and adults to explore the magic of puppetry through various types of puppets. You'll even have an opportunity to create your own!

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Loop
29

The Tinkering Lab at Chicago Children's Museum

Critics' pick

What kid doesn't love creating and building? Now they get the chance to use real materials and real tools to do just that. The Chicago Children's museum has a new lab for DIY fun for both the littlest babies to bigger kids full of interactive exhibits, fun crafts and challenges.

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Streeterville
30

Storytime at Farm in the Zoo

Join Mr. Singer for a rockin' good time at the main barn in the Farm at the Zoo for a fun storytime and sing-along.

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Lincoln Park Zoo Wednesday April 1 2015 - Wednesday February 17 2016 Free

31–40

31

Robot Revolution

In this traveling exhibit showcasing some of the best robots in the world, families can build their own robots, see how robots can enhance our lives and discover how we can work alongside them in the future. Don't miss the furry baby seal robot, used as a therapeutic tool for autistic children and the elderly.

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Museum of Science and Industry Thursday May 21 2015 - Sunday January 3 2016
32

Kids Movie Night at Holstein Park

Head to the park for a fun movie night in the great outdoors! Tonight's film is Hop (2011), an animation/live-action comedy about the son of the Easter Bunny.

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Holstein Park Friday May 22 2015
33

Visit the North Park Village Nature Center

A 46-acre nature preserve and an education center, this Chicago Park District facility has plenty for kids and adults with hands-on discovery tables and interactive displays. It also offers workshops and camps throughout the year.

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Northwest Side
34

Fireworks at Navy Pier

It doesn't have to be 4th of July to enjoy a fireworks show at Navy Pier. Starting Memorial Day weekend, head to the pier on Wednesday and Saturday nights and watch the whole skyline light up with colorful fireworks.
 

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Streeterville Free
35

McDonald's All American Games

Want to see the future Michael Jordan dunk some hoops while raising money for a worthy cause? The McDonald's All American Games features the top 48 prep basketball players, and future NBA and WNBA stars—alumni include Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Derrick Rose. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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United Center Wednesday April 1 2015
36

Yogurt and playtime at FroYo Chicago

A win-win for all: frozen yogurt for everyone and a playground for the kids. This shop also focuses on super healthy foods and offers steel cut oats and quinoa for breakfast. Parents can also get their coffee or tea fix, too.

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Southport Corridor
37

Grab a cone at a top ice cream shop

Whether it's ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt that strikes your fancy, Chicago has ice cream shops serving up a perfect version. We're crazy about the custard from Scooter's, the towering, colorful cone from Original Rainbow Cone and the inventive flavors served up at Jeni's. And that doesn't even count ice cream sandwiches, like the doughnut version at Black Dog Gelato.

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38

Eat outside with your kids

Dining al fresco is the perfect way to dine with your kids—the birds can clean up their mess! Check out some of these kid-friendly restaurants.

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41–50

41

Model Railroad Garden

Train lovers will adore this garden-size train exhibit complete with small trains and miniature American landmarks all within the beautiful Chicago Botanic Gardens.

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Chicago Botanic Garden Saturday May 9 2015 - Sunday October 25 2015
42

Chicago's top playgrounds

There is no better way to spend an afternoon with your kids than goofing around in the park. Visit your local neighborhood haunt or venture out to newer parks like the state-of-the-art Maggie Daley park.

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44

Do Division Street Fest

Critics' pick

Do Division isn't just for adults, in fact inside Do Division has an area full of fun just for kids. Bouncy houses, arts and crafts, and train rides will keep your kids occupied all afternoon.
 

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Division St between Damen Ave and Leavitt St Friday May 29 2015 - Sunday May 31 2015
45

Lurie Move for Kids 5K

Get outside with the kids and move for a good cause. This annual 5K raises money for Lurie Children's Hospital.

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Soldier Field Sunday May 17 2015
46

Eyes to the Skies Festival

Critics' pick

In Lisle, the Fourth of July features plenty of airborne eye candy, including fireworks and hot air balloons. On July 2-4, balloons launch daily at 5:30am and 6:30pm, filling the sky with colorful inflatables of all shapes and sizes. In the evening, the balloons come down and the fireworks begin. Attendees can also check out the festival's carnival, kids area, live music and craft fair.

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Lisle Community Park Wednesday July 1 2015 - Sunday July 5 2015
47

NFL Draft Town

Critics' pick

Kids can go ga-ga over some of their favorite NFL stars and even may be able to snag an autograph or two. There will also be tons of fun games like flag football, youth football clinics, interactive obstacle courses for kids and a Super Bowl museum. 

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Grant Park Thursday April 30 2015 - Saturday May 2 2015 Free
48

Rent bikes at Navy Pier

Cycle north or south—the views are gorgeous either way. You can rent bikes from Bike and Roll at Navy Pier starting on Memorial Day.

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Streeterville Free
49

Dia del Nino Family Festival

After a kickoff walk from the National Museum of Mexican Art (meet at 10am), enjoy games, live performances, prizes, arts and crafts, and free health screenings inside the UIC Pavilion to celebrate kids and healthy habits.

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National Museum of Mexican Art Saturday April 11 2015 Free
50

Chicago Maritime Festival

Set sail on an experience the city's maritime heritage through sailing-related seminars, reenactments, demonstrations, exhibits and concerts. The live music starts at 7pm.

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Old Town School of Folk Music Saturday April 18 2015

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