Chicago Local Highlights

Chicago, IL, USA

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Chicago is an amazing city to spend time in with your kids.

No matter the season there is always an adventure waiting for you in Chicago, whether your kids prefer to be exploring nature, playing in a park in the city, or inside at the aquarium.

If you’re looking for something to do outside in the city, Lincoln Zoo (2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614) is open again and relatively inexpensive to visit. They have opened with a one-way path and masks and online reservations required. Some exhibits are closed but some of our favorites, like the elephant exhibit and the playground are still available! Shedd Aquarium (1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605) is also open again, provided you purchase your tickets in advance. Make sure to touch the stingray, it is the most exciting part of the whole experience. The Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637) is also definitely worth a visit, reserve your tickets and make sure to stay to watch one of the IMAX films. They are often about animals and wildlife and kids love them!

Sadly, the playgrounds in Chicago remain closed due to COVID, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places for your kids to run around and have a good time! The Lakefront Trail (7100 South/2560 East to 5800 North/1000 West) stretches almost 19 miles around Chicago and is good for biking in most places. It stops at multiple parks where your kids can run around and play games and at many scenic views. Indiana Dunes State Park (1600 N 25 E, Chesterton, IN 46304) is open and very much worth the 1-hour drive from Chicago! There is a beach area where your kids can splash around in the water and obviously plenty of sand to run around and play in! There are plenty of trails to hike or else you can just enjoy your afternoon with a beautiful view. If you’re looking for a hike in the city visit The LaBagh Woods (West Foster Avenue, N Cicero Ave, Chicago, IL 60630). You’ll feel far from the city in the heavily wooded area with lots of nature to observe.

While many tourist destinations are closed, the Crystal Gardens (700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611) at the Navy Pier remain open! It’s a one-acre glass-covered indoor garden that feels absolutely magical. Lots of restaurants on the pier are providing outdoor dining options, so you can make an afternoon of it and get lunch or dinner after visiting the gardens. 

If you’re looking for a treat for your little ones, Lickity Split (6056 N. Broadway Ave.

Chicago, IL 60660) is a great option. This retro-style creamery only offers three flavors at a time (chocolate, vanilla, and one that changes) but everyone always leaves happy. If you’re looking for unique and diverse flavor options, visit Shawn Michelle’s Ice Cream Shop (46 E. 47th Street

Chicago, IL 60653). They list all their ingredients so you know exactly what you’re eating! If you’re really looking for a treat, head to Sugar Shack (630 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60616)! They not only have soft serve ice cream but also funnel cake. It’s definitely worth a stop!

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