Chicago Neighborhoods with Activities for Kids
Chicago is a very kid-friendly city. From Millennium Park to the Chicago Children's Museum, there is a wide range of activities that kids and parents can enjoy around town. Many of these activities are concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods. If you're traveling with kids to Chicago, these are the neighborhoods you don't want to miss.
Lincoln Square is a touch of Germany right in Chicago. You can explore the cobblestone part of Lincoln Avenue and head to uniquely local shops that sell everything from sausage to clothing. Head to one of the traditional Bavarian style beer halls or poke your head in a locally owned boutique shop. Restaurants are great in the neighborhood so grab a meal and then head to the Davie Theater, with its old fashioned charm. If folk music is your style check out the Old Town School of Folk Music which has regular live performances. The neighborhood also hosts Maifest, which is a summer festival that celebrates everything about Germany.
Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is one of the most famous shopping neighborhoods in the world. It's lined with brand name retail shops, boutique designers, historic hotels, luxury brands, large shopping centers, one-of-a-kind stores, and unique attractions. This neighborhood also has the original American Girl Place, Water Tower Place, and The Drake Hotel where you can enjoy high tea at the historic Palm Court.
The neighborhood of Garfield Park is all about green space. It opened its first park in 1874 and today the area has plenty of gardens, parks, and nature right in the heart of the city. The Garfield Park Conservatory is a highlight of the area with a number of different botanical environments such as the desert house, the fern room, and the tropical palm house. In the surrounding community, Garfield Park is a popular neighborhood for startups including the Hatchery which is a commercial kitchen that houses more than 100 local food and beverage startups. Head to the area during the warmer months to check out the community markets.
Located on the South Side of Chicago, this neighborhood is rich in history. It was the location of the 1893 World's Fair and it has a number of notable residences including a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as well as the former home of President Barack Obama. Hyde Park sits on the edge of Lake Michigan and offers beautiful water views. It's also easily accessible to the 18 mile lakefront running and biking path. Within Hyde Park you'll find the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and part of Jackson Park.
Beer lovers will enjoy a visit to the Ravenswood neighborhood. It's got some of the city's most well-known breweries along the famous "Malt Row". Away from Malt Row, you'll find a family-friendly urban neighborhood with plenty of architectural sites and interesting museums.
Set right by the lake, this neighborhood has a number of nice beaches and green spaces. It's a family-friendly area with great antique shopping and a thriving theater scene. There are also a diversity of restaurants and markets that are fun to explore.
The Loop is Chicago's downtown neighborhood and it is at the heart of the city's tourism scene. This area is filled with iconic attractions, classic architecture, theaters, restaurants, and shopping. It's where you'll find Millennium Park, the Chicago Riverwalk, the theatre district, and State Street. There are river cruises, architectural tours, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene with music festivals, and live music venues. For many tourists, this is the neighborhood where they spend the most time.
Chicago's Chinatown is a unique area to explore with authentic Asian grocery stores, family-owned restaurants, and excellent dumplings and dim sum. The neighborhood has a number of beautiful archways, pagodas, and statues. There are also shops that sell traditional items next to souvenirs and other trinkets. The original part of Chinatown runs along Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue. Chinatown Square mall is in the area as well.
Wrigleyville is where you'll find the famous Wrigley Field, which is the second oldest ballpark in the country and home to the Chicago Cubs. Near the stadium you'll find a number of sports bars, souvenir stall, and restaurants. Clark Street is the main drag where you'll find locals and Cubs fans. Also outside of the stadium is Gallagher Way, which is a popular meeting spot for fans, locals, and tourists. There are often farmers markets, outdoor concerts, film screenings, and even a holiday winter wonderland here.
This is a charming little neighborhood with quaint shops and casual cafes. There are a number of locally owned restaurants and shops, as well as brick homes and a laidback atmosphere.
Streeterville is a popular neighborhood for tourists in Chicago. It's where you'll find the historic Navy Pier, the Museum of Contemporary area, and the Chicago Children's Museum. This family-friendly area sits on the edge of Lake Michigan and offers all kinds of activities for people of all ages. They often show outdoor movies and Navy Pier is filled with amusement rides including the 200 foot Centennial Wheel. There are also a number of boat cruises that leave from the area. Restaurants of all types are nearby, many with kid-friendly menus.
Chicago's South Loop is where you'll find the popular lakefront Museum Campus. This is home to several of the city's most notable attractions including the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, Soldier Field, and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. The neighborhood also has many popular jazz clubs, great restaurants, and several historic districts. Millionaire's Row is in the Prairie Avenue District and it's filled with elegant mansions and impressive architecture.
This neighborhood and park area offers a beautiful setting with nicely landscaped gardens, a quaint lily pond, and lakefront green space that has nice views of the city. The Lakefront Trail, the Lincoln Park Trail, Lincoln Park Zoo, North Avenue Beach, and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum are all in the area. There is also plenty of shopping in Lincoln Park with many boutique shops spread among the row houses.
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $27 to $80. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $50. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in Chicago