The best part of living in a city like Chicago is that you don't have to go anywhere when Spring Break rolls around because there is so much to do right here in the Windy City! It is a great city to explore and what a great time to play tourist in your own backyard - no airport lines or long car trips required! Here is my Chicago "Bucket List" - compiled to help you and your families make the most of your time exploring Chicago over the break. You can easily combine items to make a full day of fun too!
1) Take the Water Taxi for a ride - the Water Taxi is a fun way to get around and most of the stops are now open. (Chicago and Goose Island will open April 29th)
2) Visit Chinatown - not only can you get there by train (Cermak/Chinatown stop on the red line) but the Chicago Water Taxi will drop you off steps away from this culturally rich neighborhood.
3) Have a picnic - I know that spring in Chicago is a temperamental beast, but this city is full of so many great spots to stop, play and have a bite to eat. If the weather is cooperative then head to a park with the family and soak up some quality time on a beautiful day. If you are wanting to check out something new then here are 5 city parks that our readers really enjoy!
4) Ride the Rails - if you are used to traveling by car then ditch the keys and parking problems and hop on the "L" trains for an adventure! Our favorite game is to have the kids pick a line by color and then while they are sleeping we would pick out a place to visit and explore the next day. Kids under 7 ride free and the CTA site makes planning an adventure easy!
- Red Line - the Loop, Lincoln Park neighborhood, White Sox, and Wrigley are some of our most frequented places to visit along this route
- Brown Line - Loop, Lincoln Square, Roscoe Village, and Southport are great neighborhoods to check out
- Green Line - the Loop, the DuSable Museum, Harold Washington Cultural Center, Garfield Park Conservatory and Oak Park are all worth visiting
- Pink Line - connects you to the Loop, Pilsen and the National Museum of Mexican Art
- Blue Line - it's not just for O'Hare and the Loop! Our favorite neighborhoods to explore are Logan Square, Bucktown, Little Italy, and Greektown
- Purple Line - head up to Wilmette to walk around the beautiful grounds of the Baha'i Temple (added bonus is a playground and yummy pizza place steps from the Linden stop. Evanston is also accessible from the Purple Line and home to the (free) Block Museum of Art on the Northwestern Campus.
- Yellow Line - the "Skokie Swift" can take you and the kids to the Exploritorium which is a great indoor play space for kids provided by the Skokie Park District. For more to do in Skokie - check out the Macaroni Kid Skokie calendar.
5) Cheer on a local sports team - Baseball, Soccer, Hockey, Basketball, and Football. While they may no all be in season during Spring you can certainly find some fun being a fan for a hometown team!
- take in a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field. Tickets often start as low as $7 and on Wednesdays, they have $1 hot dogs! They also have a great kid zone area and a free Kids Club program. They also host one of the best views of the city!
- If soccer is more your style then head out to see the Chicago Fire play at Seatgeek Stadium. On Saturday, April 20th there is a doubleheader where you can not only see the Chicago Fire take on the Colorado Rapids (12:00pm), but you can watch the women's Chicago Reds face the Portland Thorns 2:30. Be sure to get there early enough to check out the pre-game fun in the FIre Fest area. Kids can show off their own soccer skills in several games set up in this area which is accessible 2 hours before kick off!
6) Get Up Close with Chicago's Largest Park - Chicago's Lincoln Park is home to the free Lincoln Park Zoo, & Farm, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. You can spend several hours exploring all the park has to offer and this is a great place for that picnic we mentioned above! Across the street from the main entrance of the zoo is a great playground where on a nice day the kids can burn off whatever energy they have leftover before heading home for the day. If you visit on a Tuesday you could even spend some time checking out the Chicago History Museum for free! Animals, butterflies, a scavenger hunt thru exotic plants and a chance to dress the kids up like hot dogs (Chicago style of course!).
7) Take a Tour - Play the role of a true tourist and hop on one of the many tours around the city. Options range from an architecture tour from the Chicago River, a sight-seeing tour on a trolley or double-decker bus or even a walking tour exploring everything from Chicago's diverse neighborhoods or Chicago's Pedway system to foods like donuts or pizza.
8) Say "Cheese!" - turn the camera over to the kids and see the city from a whole new perspective. When you get back from your exploring download the photos and see what stood out to the youngest (and shortest) family members.
9) Take in a Performance - there is no denying the fact that Chicago has a vibrant theatre scene and many shows are entertaining for the entire family! Some of our personal favorites worthy of seeing are:
- Dein Perry's Tap Dogs at the James M. Nederlander Theatre
- Little Shop of Horrors at the Mercury Theater
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 at the Chicago Children's Theatre
- Djembe The Show at the Apollo Theater
- Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre
10) Hang out with the Easter Bunny - there are so many opportunities to celebrate Easter in Chicago with everything from a lakefront cruise to the city's largest egg hunt. There is even a family friendly 5k at Montrose Harbor that includes an egg hunt for the kids! There are so many I have created a list of some of the top picks here.
Still Looking for More Ideas? Check out our FREE calendar here!