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Top Things to do in Chicago with Families or Kids

Written by Michele Richardson on August 4, 2015

Chicago is one of the most exciting cities to visit with your kids, especially during the summer. Whether you’re here to explore one of Chicago’s world-class museums, discover your favorite deep-dish pizza joint or enjoy a night at the theater, there are endless options to keep your family entertained.  Since G2G Collection has two private residences (both 2 bedrooms) in downtown Chicago, we get asked for advice on the top things to do in Chicago with families or kids.  So, here are our top recommendations:

See ALL of Chicago!
Don’t let a fear of heights stop you from enjoying some of the most incredible views of Chicago. Feel like you’re walking on air at the Ledge at Skydeck Chicago in the Willis Tower. Glass boxes extend into the sky more than 1,000 feet above ground.

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Conveniently located on Magnificent Mile, 360 CHICAGO is the newly renovated observation deck of the iconic John Hancock Tower. A visit here is both a great photo opportunity and a good chance to learn more about Chicago’s famous architecture. You will get unparalleled, 360-degree views and now have the opportunity to try TILT, the new exhilarating angle view that safely extends you downward over the Magnificent Mile and Chicago’s famous skyline.

Walk Around Millennium Park
Free and open year-round, Millennium Park is another favorite for families. In the summer, kids can splash around in the shallow pool of Crown Fountain — and get soaked as water pours from the spouts of the modern “gargoyles.” Springtime is perfect for doing a self-guided tour of Lurie Garden, especially when scoping out birds, worms, dragonflies and bees using their nature hunt scavenger worksheet. In the winter, skate under the twinkling lights of downtown on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. And no matter the season, crawl under “The Bean” and make faces in the reflective surface of the stainless steel sculpture formally known as Cloud Gate.

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Spend the Day at Navy Pier
Iconic Navy Pier will undoubtedly make your must-see list. With rides including a 150-foot Ferris wheel, an old fashioned Wave Swinger, and a whimsical 1920s inspired Musical Carousel at Pier Park — as well as restaurants, summer fireworks, sightseeing cruises, Segway tours and an IMAX theatre — it’s no surprise the Pier remains a top Midwest tourist destination for all ages.

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Top Chicago Museums for Kids
With more than 40 museums that engage and enlighten, you’re sure to find a museum that sparks your family’s interest. On Chicago’s Museum Campus you can walk from the bottom of the sea at the Shedd Aquarium up to the moon at the Adler Planetarium. Then meet Sue — the world’s largest, most complete, and best-preserved T. rex — on display at the Field Museum. For science buffs, the Museum of Science and Industry is hard to top. It’s the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.

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For art aficionados, check out the largest collection of Impressionist works outside of the Louvre at the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. From the Thorne Miniature Rooms to specially-made audio tours, the museum brings the world of art to their level. In addition to free admission to their Ryan Education Center, which boasts special events, interactive workshops and family programs, the Art Institute offers free admission for children under age 14.

For moms and dads looking to explore exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, consider the Stroller Tours on the first Wednesday of each month. The guided walk packs an hour of education for the adult while being mindful of the babies in tow.

And for the youngest tykes, play and learn with interactive exhibits built just for them at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Whether baby, toddler or preschooler – curious young learners can stretch out, crawl and use 360°their senses throughout interactive exhibits such as WaterWays, BIG Backyard and Treehouse Trails.

Top Chicago Theatre for Kids
In the mood for a musical? Check out the dazzling performances on Broadway In Chicago stages. Or how about a laugh? The famed sketch comedy theatre The Second City will have your kids in fits with their special show Go, Improv, GO! And for something that’s a combination of everything, Blue Man Group.
Aspiring dancers will be in awe of the breathtaking beauty of the Joffrey Ballet or the energetic contemporary productions from the Hubbard Street Dance company.

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Best Chicago Toy Stores
For little girls with big imaginations, a visit to Chicago would not be complete without a trip to American Girl Place, the first store of its kind in the U.S. Consider making a reservation for the café at the downtown doll mecca, which serves brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Or bring your princess to the ultimate dress up store — downtown Chicago has a Disney Store in Block 37 on State Street and on the Magnificent Mile.
Also in Water Tower Place is the colorful building block wonderland The LEGO Store. Add to your collection and check out the creative displays, or make a day out of a trip to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, a giant indoor playground located in nearby suburban Schaumburg.

Have a Deep Dish Showdown
Indulge in some cheesy goodness. Pizza joints abound in Chicago, so you decide who reigns as king. Popular spots include Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Giordano’s Pizza and The Original Gino’s East of Chicago.

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Wildlife and Nature
Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo open year-round with cool lights shows over the holidays. Two options for an all-seasons outing that would interest any budding green thumbs are the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Conservatory. And the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will wow your little naturalist with its open-air butterfly haven and colorful wilderness walks.

As you can see, there is no limit to the number of things you can do with your children or family in Chicago. And if you’re looking for a place to stay with a concierge to make a customized plan for you while you’re there, G2G Members pay around $400/night for a 2 bedroom/2 bath private residence in downtown Chicago. If you would like more information on how to stay in a luxury residence in Chicago at rates like this, please call us at 678-506-2700 or email us at membership@g2gcollection.com.