Best things to do in Chicago with kids
What is it? A cultural institution built for tikes.
Why go? Connect learning and playing through the engaging exhibits at this Navy Pier museum.
What is it? A 20-acre public park in the Loop.
Why go? Take a lap around the winding skating ribbon, ascend the 40-foot climbing wall or run around the city's most whimsical playgrounds.
What is it? A massive mall in the heart of downtown Chicago.
Why go? Kiddos will love shopping at the American Girl Place, Candyality and the LEGO store.
What is it? A sprawling 30,000 square feet of space dedicated to the iconic plastic building toy.
Why visit? With the a Kingdom Quest interactive laser ride, 4-D movie theater, daily building workshops and the ever-popular Miniland featuring Chicago landmarks, you can easily spend half a day here.
What is it? One of the largest Latino cultural organizations in the U.S.
Why go? It's a great excuse to learn about Mexican culture through art. Visit from noon to 2pm on Sundays to take advantage of family tours and craft workshops.
What is it? Sand-covered attractions along Lake Michigan.
Why go? Chicago's many public beaches offer free fun for the entire family. Just don't forget the sunscreen!
What is it? A South Side ice-cream shop with history.
Why go? To try the signature five-flavor Rainbow Cone, with scoops of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio and orange sherbet.
What is it? A hub of contemporary artwork on the South Side of Chicago.
Why go? For the stimulating youth classes and workshops, which expose kids to ceramics, painting, photograph, drawing and so much more.
What is it? A 2.7-mile elevated path that runs through Logan Square, Wicker Park and Humboldt Park.
Why go? Connecting Chicago's hippest 'hoods, this trail is dotted with beautiful parks and art installations, making it a one-stop shop when the sun is shining.
What is it? Chicago's most epic (and perhaps most well-known) public park.
Why go? If for nothing else, to snap a photo of Cloud Gate (a.k.a. "The Bean"). But also to traverse the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, check out massive art installations and take in free programming during the summer months.
What is it? A childhood arts enrichment center and preschool in Lincoln Park.
Why go? New parents, rejoice! This play palace offers music and movement classes, piano lessons and epic birthday parties. Plus, it's a great opportunity to start socializing your little ones.
What is it? A hub for music, dance, theater and visual arts courses for kiddos (and adults) of all ages.
Why go? To check out 700-plus accredited classes, including Wiggleworms, an early-childhood music program where youngsters can sing, dance and learn finger plays.
What is it? A continuous riverfront walkway with restaurants, bars and urban attractions.
Why go? You don't have to spend a dime to enjoy the Chicago Riverwalk—unless, of course, you're grabbing lunch with the family. Little ones will love exploring the winding path, which offers surprises at every turn.