in Chicago, IL
(showing 1 - 18 out of 18)
The city is full of hidden gems and treasures. If you’re tired of always hitting the same spots, take a look at all the options below. We showcase businesses near you where you could spend countless hours of endless fun with your entire family.
Say goodbye to the boring weekends and routine birthday parties. Think outside the box and dare to try something new. Take a look at what your city has to offer – all within driving distance of your location. You might be surprised!
1300 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605 Directions
Twinkle, twinkle little star, get a closer look at the night sky at the Adler Planetarium. The planetarium's exhibits and attractions focus on planets, galaxies, telescopes, the solar system, space travel and a whole lot more.
The Adler Planetarium was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. The planetarium was founded by philanthropist Max Adler and built in Chicago in 1930.
There are three full-size theaters at the planetarium. The Adler Planetarium presents the night sky in its various forms on the the dome covering the Sky Theater planetarium. The projector is capable of recreating every aspect and movement of the night sky. The Definiti Space Theater was added in 1999, complete with a digital fulldome video environment.
Outside the planetarium, there are sculptures, including one called Man Enters the Cosmos that depicts a sundial; and another is a statue of famous astronomer Nicholas Copernicus. Other works of art decorate the museum like the lobby's dedication plaque. The plaque depicts the gods and goddesses that represent each planet, with the exception of Pluto because it wasn't discovered at the time of the plaque's design.
Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze
600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 Directions
Explore the twists and turns of the Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze. The family fun center has more than 4,000 square feet of tunnels and mazes for you to get lost in. Be sure to add the attraction to your "to-do" list while visiting Navy Pier.
2540 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614 Directions
Get an intimate view of live theater at the Apollo Theater. The famous theater attraction offers two stages and performances of classic and contemporary plays. The Apollo is also home to the largest children's theater company in Chicago, so forget about a babysitter and take the kids out for some fun.
The Apollo Theater is located in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The 440-seat theater was built in 1978 and offers an intimate setting to see some of the city's best live theater up close.
The Apollo has hosted performances like "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" starring Jim Belushi, and "Balm in Gilead" with Jon Malkovich and Gary Sinise; along with other long-running plays like "The Vagina Monologues," "A Nutcracker Christmas," "Waiting for Lefty," "Banjo Dancing," and "Steel Magnolias."
The theater is home to Chicago's largest children's theater company, the Emerald City Theatre Company, drawing nearly 50,000 people to their shows annually. The company is in their seventh season at the Apollo and was named "Chicago's most innovative theater for families" by the Chicago Sun-Times.
In 2005 a smaller stage was added to the theater. The Apollo Studio is a 50-seat venue used mostly for comedy, sketch, upstart theater companies and improv.
Chicago Children's Theatre
1464 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622 Directions
Take the family to see a play at the Chicago Children's Theatre. Watch fairy-tale favorites and children's stories come to life on the stage. Productions have included A Year with Frog and Toad and If All the World Were Paper.
1400 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605 Directions
Travel back in time at the Field Museum. There are over 21 million specimens owned by the museum with one of its key attractions being Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton in the world. Other artifacts and fossils come from around the globe explaining the history of human and animal life in many regions of the world.
The Field Museum is located on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive and is part of the city's Museum Campus. There are over 21 million specimen in the museum's collection, with only some displayed in the permanent and rotating exhibitions. Mammals of Asia, Mammals of Africa, the Grainger Hall of Gems, Underground Adventure, Inside Ancient Egypt, Evolving Planet, The Ancient Americas, DNA Discovery Center, McDonald's Fossil Prep Lab, and the Regenstein Laboratory are a few of the permanent exhibits at the Field Museum.
Some of the most unique and coveted items in museum are: the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and other dinosaur fossils, a large taxidermy collection featuring African elephants and the Lions of Tsavo, a large collection of Native American artifacts, and a vast and comprehensive set of human cultural anthropology exhibits with artifacts from ancient Egypt, the Pacific Northwest, and Tibet.
The Field Museum Library boasts over 275,000 volumes of research collections. The Library is fundamental for the museum's scientific staff and provides information in subjects of biology, anthropology, botany, geology, archeology, museology and other fields of study. Some of the most important volumes in the Field Museum Library are the "Ayer Collection" which is the private collection of the first President of the Field Museum, the "Laufer Collection" which is the working collection of America's first sinologist, and the "Photo Archives" which includes over 250,000 images important to the aforementioned fields of study.
House of Blues
329 N Dearborn St
Chicago, IL 60654 Directions
Check out a show at one of America's favorite venues, the House of Blues. The Chicago location offers that House of Blues feel with the traditional "Crazy Quilt" and Mississippi mud, in an environment that is unique to Chicago.
The House of Blues Chicago opened in 1966 in Chicago's Marina City Complex. The location is a franchise of the popular music venue chain and was designed to emanate the "Estavovski" Opera House in Prague. The venue follows the traditions of the other House of Blues locations by displaying the "Crazy Quilt" and keeping a metal box of Delta Mississippi mud underneath the stage.
The popular concert house has hosted thousands of shows since opening. Artists who have performed include The Who, Al Green, Billy Idol, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson, Blink-182, Duran Duran, Jame Brown, Prince, Robert Plant, John Legend, Kanye West, Matchbox 20, Alice Cooper, John Mayer, Blondie, The Beach Boys, Dolly Parton, Deep Purple, Snoop Dogg, Foghat, Fuel, George Jones, KC and the Sunshine Band, Bon Jovi, and hundreds of others.
Kohl Children's Museum
2100 Patriot Blvd
Glenview, IL 60026 Directions
Let the kids work their way through the fun exhibits and attractions at the Kohl Children's Museum. The exhibits were created with children 8 and under in mind and engage young minds in art, science, math, technology, team work, the great outdoors and much more.
Legoland Discovery Center
601 N Martingale Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60173 Directions
Relive your childhood or take the kids to make some childhood memories of their own at the Legoland Discovery Center. Hands-on attractions accompanied by over two million Lego pieces under one roof guarantee fun for the whole family.
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614 Directions
Take a stroll through a zoo that knows its animals. The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest in the country and houses more than 1,250 animals inside its unique exhibits and attractions. As you explore the zoo, you'll see zebras, big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys and more.
The Lincoln Park Zoo was founded in 1868, making it one of the oldest zoos in the United States. The zoo spans across 35-acres of Chicago's Lincoln Park. A unique feature of the Lincoln Park Zoo that really shows its age is a burr oak tree that dates back to 1830, three years before the city was founded.
The zoo houses nearly 1,250 animals, including big cats, polar bears, penguins, gorillas, reptiles, monkeys and many others featured in these exhibits:
Antelope & Zebra Area
Blum-Kovler Penguin & Seabird House
Helen V. Brach Primate House
Farm-in-the-Zoo, presented by John Deere
Kovler Lion House
Kovler Sea Lion Pool
McCormick Bird House
Hope B. McCormick Swan Pond
Robert R. McCormick Bear Habitat
Pritzker Family Children's Zoo
Regenstein African Journey
Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit
Regenstein Center for African Apes
Regenstein Small Mammal & Reptile House
The Children's Zoo and the Farm-in-the-Zoo exhibits offer hands on experiences for younger visitors. There's also an indoor play structure for kids to enjoy, and the Farm exhibit allows guests to pet animals like goats and feed the cows.
201 E Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60602 Directions
Millennium Park is one of the premier destinations for fun in Chicago. Stroll through the 24-acre lake-front park for a gorgeous glimpse of public art or stop by one of the attractions residing in the park like the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink, McDonald's Cycle Center and the Boeing Galleries.
Millennium Park occupies about 24-acres of Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago's Grant Park. The park is the second most popular tourist destination in the city following only Navy Pier, attracting between three and four million visitors annually. Millennium Park serves as a prominent civic center and is known as the "front yard" of downtown Chicago. The neighborhood surrounding the park is one of the city's most, if not the most, coveted residential areas.
The area showcases public art and is where places like the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Laurie Garden, the McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink, the BP Pedestrian Bridge, Wrigley Square, the McDonald's Cycle Center, the Exelon Pavilions, the AT&T Plaza, the Boeing Galleries, the Chase Promenade, and the Nichols Bridgeway are located.
600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611 Directions
Navy Pier was built on the shoreline of Lake Michigan in 1916 and has since become the No. 1 tourist attraction in Chicago. At the time it was built, it was the largest pier in the world. The pier extends 3,300 feet over the lake and was designed to be used as docking space for passenger excursion steamers and a cargo facility for lake freighters. Navy Pier was also utilized in both World Wars for things like military housing, the Red Cross, Home Defense, Navy training center and more. When it wasn't providing military service, the pier had its own streetcar line, theater, emergency room, picnicking areas, dance hall, auditorium, children's playground and more.
For nearly 20 years, between 1946 and 1965, the University of Illinois used the pier to educate returning veterans. When the university moved its campus, the pier was no longer used and was considered underutilized from 1965 to 1989.
The 1990s brought renovation and new attractions to Navy Pier. The Ferris wheel, IMAX theater, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze, the Chicago Children's Museum, and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows are all fixtures of the pier. Navy Pier and its surrounding lands occupy about 50 acres on the lake front with its lawn showcasing sculptures, and sprawling to create parks and gardens. The attraction is home to many shops and restaurants as well. Boat parades, air shows, sightseeing tours, festivals and fireworks are Navy Pier favorites.
1200 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605 Directions
Journey through the ocean without ever having to leave land at the Shedd Aquarium. The aquarium houses over 25,000 fish and animals within award-winning exhibits and attractions. Sea otters, beluga whales, sea turtles, penguins, sharks, octopi, and jellyfish are just a few of the inhabitants at the Shedd Aquarium.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium debuted in Chicago in 1930. At the time of its opening, the aquarium was the largest in the world and was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection. The Shedd Aquarium was the most visited aquarium in the nation in 2005 and 2007, and is an essential part of Museum Campus along with the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History.
The aquarium welcomes over 2 million guests annually to view their extensive collection of over 1,500 species of fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians and insects. In all, the Shedd Aquarium houses about 25,000 fish. The five permanent exhibits at the Shedd are Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef, Waters of the World, the Oceanarium, and Wild Reef. The aquarium garnered the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' award for best exhibit in 1999 for Seahorse Symphony, in 2001 for Amazon Rising and in 2004 for Wild Reef.
Some of the animals and sea life that can be seen at the Shedd Aquarium are Alaska sea otters, beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, green sea turtles, Australian lungfish, Grand Caymon blue iguanas, sea lions, penguins, blacktip reef sharks, cownose rays, dragon moray eel, giant Pacific octopus, moon jellies, red-bellied piranhas, sea cucumbers, zebra sharks and sea stars.
Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Pkwy
Gurnee, IL 60031 Directions
Spend a day at the park with Looney Tunes and Justice League characters - the Six Flags Great America amusement park, that is. Six Flags has attractions, thrill rides, a water park and so much more waiting for you and your family. Be sure to bring the sunscreen and your sense of adventure.
233 S Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606 Directions
Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the newly-renamed Willis Tower was completed in 1974 in downtown Chicago at 233 South Wacker Drive. The 108-story building was the tallest building in the world for nearly 25 years and still holds the title for tallest building in the United States.
The building's observation deck, the Skydeck, is located on the 103rd floor, about 1,353 feet above ground. The Skydeck is one of Chicago's most popular tourist attractions and welcomes approximately 1.3 million visitors annually. Recent renovations have introduced new glass balconies with glass floors. The balcony extends four feet over the street and provides gorgeous views of Illinois, Lake Michigan and even neighboring states Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin on a clear day. There is a second deck on the 99th floor, reserved for when the 103rd Skydeck is closed.
1410 S Museum Campus Dr
Chicago, IL 60605 Directions
See one of America's favorite NFL franchises take the field at Soldier Field. The Chicago Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971. You're guaranteed a closer look at the ball game at the NFL's smallest venue.
Soldier Field was built on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive in the 1920s. The stadium was named in tribute to American soldiers and has been the home of the NFL's Chicago Bears since 1971. After renovations, the field became the smallest stadium in the league, seating 61,500 people. The front row seats on the 50-yard line are just 55 feet away from the sidelines, one of the shortest distances in any NFL team stadium. Many features of Soldier Field are memorials to Chicago Bears players of the past, and the field is rumored to have twice the amount of memorials of any other league stadium.
Soldier Field has had its share of memorable events, including The Chicago Freedom Movement, led by Martin Luther King, held a rally at Soldier Field on July 10, 1966, four NFC Championship Games and the 1994 FIFA World Cup matches. Musical heavyweights have also held stadium gigs at Soldier Field, including Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Pink Floyd, U2 and the Dave Matthews Band.
The Second City
1616 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60614 Directions
Laugh it up at a theater where some of the best comedic talents have gotten their start in show business. The Second City alumni include big names in entertainment like John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey.
The Second City is an improvisational comedy company that originated in Chicago. The company has stages in Toronto and Los Angeles, 11 touring ensembles, training centers and programs in other cities. The performances are semi-improvised, scripted features with new material put in place after the second act, which is often based on audience suggestions.
Some of the best comedy actors, comedians, and Saturday Night Live alumni of our time had their start at the Second City Theatre in Chicago. Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Peter Boyle, John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Eugene Levy, Gilda Radner, Shelley Long, James Belushi, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, and Adam McKay are just a few celebrities who have taken part in productions at Second City Theatre.
1901 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60612 Directions
See the famed NBA Chicago Bulls hit the court at the United Center. If basketball isn't your cup of tea, the venue hosts concerts and other attractions like Cirque du Soleil, Disney on Ice, and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The United Center, or "The Madhouse on Madison", is located on the Near West Side area of Chicago. The indoor sports arena is the home of the NBA's Chicago Bulls and the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. The arena occupies about 46 acres and is the largest in the nation in physical size but not in capacity. The venue provides accommodations for around 20,000 spectators and hosts over 200 events annually. Recent renovations have equipped the venue with 144 flat screen TVs, new concessions, 169 executive suites, four new bars with panoramic views of the arena, a new video system, and graphics, signs and merchandise relevant to "The Madhouse on Madison."
Aside from sporting events, the United Center welcomes various shows like Cirque du Soleil, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, and concerts. U2 and Dave Matthews Band both released live concert DVDs filmed at the arena. Other performers who have taken the stage include Aerosmith, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Who, AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, ZZ Top, Tim McGraw, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Prince, Britney Spears, Paul McCartney, Tool, Pearl Jam, and Coldplay.
1060 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60613 Directions
Catch a Chicago Cubs game at the historic Wrigley Field. The field was built in 1914 and is one of the most iconic baseball fields in Major League history. For a unique experience, check into rooftop seats or a tour of the attraction.
Wrigley Field was built in the Lakeview community of Chicago in 1914. The field has been the home of the MLB Chicago Cubs since 1916 and was home to the NFL Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1970. The stadium has a seating capacity of around 41,160 and is one of the only fields that allows rooftop seating on nearby apartment buildings for fans to get a peak of the game from up top - the quality of the view depends on the building location. Much of the rooftop seating available has bleachers, open bar, and specialty foods. The seats are not counted in seating configurations.
The neighborhood around the ballpark is full of residential streets, bars, and restaurants and is often referred to as Wrigleyville.
Wrigley Field is famous for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall - its the only ballpark in the Major Leagues with ivy in the playing area. The field is also known for the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, along with features like the hand-turned scoreboard and its red entrance marquee. The iconic field has made cameos in movies like "The Blues Brothers," "Rookie of the Year," "The Natural," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "The Break-Up," and "A League of Their Own."
The Seventh Inning Stretch at Wrigley Field is celebrated by singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The tradition was made popular by Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray. Since Caray's death in 1998, Cubs players and celebrities have been invited to sing the song. Guest singers have included former Cubs players Ryne Sandberg, Mike Krukow, and Mark Grace; NBA basketballer Tracy McGrady, and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. Ozzy Osbourne, Eddie Vedder, Tom Arnold, James Belushi, Bill Murray and Jay Leno have loaned their vocals to the tradition as well.
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