top of page

Family Fun in Downtown Chicago

The Windy City was once home for me, and while I didn't love living there, visiting is a whole other thing! It's probably one of my favorite places to visit and will always be special since it's in my home state. And now that I don't live there, it makes it even more fun to explore all the little gems the city has to offer. Keep reading to see what the fam and I got into on our last trip!

family fun in Chicago graphic

One of the best things about Chicago is how easy it is to get around on public transportation, there's even train stops in O'Hare and Midway. Whenever we visit Chicago we stay with my brother so that all the cousins can have lots of quality time. It also makes it easier to have family fun in Chicago if we stay with the family :) Luckily their place is near a train and a few busses so we decided to hop on the downtown bound train and explore the Miracle Mile. The train is always a hit for kids, and if I'm being honest, me too :) There's just something about winding around the tracks and watching the city go by that I really enjoy. And I think the kiddos like the freedom of being able to have their own seat, or even stand up and hold onto the poles. And in Chicago there are SO many tourist destinations and events that the CTA can get you to, so it's really a no-brainer to use it whenever your destination allows.

art institute front entrance

Our first stop was to the garden at the Art Institute. Our timing didn't work out for us to go inside, but the kids were in a rowdy mood so it probably worked out for the best! The garden had some sculptures and water features but definitely not enough to kill much time. If you decide to visit the museum, the garden would be a nice place to have a snack or get out the wiggles that were undoubtedly being held in while inside the museum. For the latest information on all of their exhibits and other happenings you can check out their website here:

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

The next stop was a stroll through Millennium Park where the famous bean sculpture is. Unfortunately for us, the bean was undergoing some maintenance during our visit and was blocked off so we couldn't get a fun reflection pic. We did get to see the Jay Pritzker Pavilion which hosts a wide array of cultural and musical performances, in addition to hosting a number of music festivals. It's probably best known for the impressive stainless steel "ribbons" that crisscross the canopy of the structure, making it stand out amongst the lush green of the field. If you're planning a visit you should check their schedule to see if you can catch a concert! Here's the upcoming events page to help you plan:

Crown fountain in millennium park

If your visit falls during the warmer months (and honestly, it should because the winter weather in Chicago is NOT for the inexperienced!) then you'll want to be sure to stop by Crown fountain in Millennium Park to cool off and splash around. One of the many pieces of public art located throughout the city, the water feature makes this a winner with little ones. Known for its large glass towers located on either end of a reflecting pool, this fountain is an easy way to relax while kiddos release some energy. The towers are enhanced by having the faces of Chicagoans projected onto an LED screen where water flows from an outlet in the tower that aligns with the mouths to give the illusion that the faces are spitting water out.

kids waiting for Garrett popcorn

We were on our way to the next stop on our downtown adventure when we passed a Garrett's and I had no choice but to stop in. Garrett makes the best cheese and caramel popcorn I, or anyone has ever tasted! My personal fave is the Chicago Mix which is equal parts cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn, although I think it should be more of a 70/30 ratio, but I digress. If you get the chance to pop *wink wink* into a Garrett popcorn shop then I highly recommend that you DOOOO IT. As you can see the kiddos were clamoring for their bags so they could start munching on the yummy goodness.

toy taco truck

After our popcorn break we were ready to hit up the Harold Washington Library Center ( to check out their Children's Library. I was surprised at how large it was, but what a pleasant surprise to have when going to a library for kids. There were plenty of books, but also plenty of opportunities for creative and imaginative play. They had things like giant floor puzzles, magna tiles, blocks and even a little food truck. The variety of toys and activities means that you can bring a baby, toddler or school age child and there will be something for them to enjoy. The space also featured several reading nooks and a few other rooms that I didn't fully explore but seemed to be geared towards older kids and teens.

kids walking while holding hands

This visit we mostly focused on downtown adventures, but I'm sure next time we'll explore more areas of the city and I'll be sure to record my findings! Let me know what your favorite places in Chicago are so I can check them out next time I'm in the Chi.

Happy Travels!

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page