Chicago Family Vacations

Photo Courtesy of a TripAdvisor Traveler/4Corners

Families Will Love

  • A down-to-earth, family-friendly city
  • Museum Row and Navy Pier
  • Lakefront beaches and 500+ parks to enjoy

Chicago Family Vacations Overview

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For families, Chicago's charm is obvious. The mix of lush parks, Lake Michigan, slick skyscrapers and world-class cultural offerings makes it an all-ages playground for just about any demographic. Rabid sports fans are just as comfortable here as arty types, who would rather be at the opera or a gallery opening than a ball field. Italian beef and hot dogs make for fast, no-fuss meals; but if your family prefers you can also splurge on multi-course offerings made by some of the best-known chefs in the world. You can take the wee ones to grassroots children's theater productions, or treat your teen to a matinee performance of the latest blockbuster musical bound for Broadway. You can pull out the plastic at swank stores or haggle for bargains in the city’s many ethnic shopping enclaves. Chicago is a proudly down-to-earth, Midwestern city that still easily rivals the global greats when it comes to culture and sophistication. That said, a trip here will cost you: Expect hotel prices akin to other big U.S. cities, and a sales tax that's even worse, at a whopping 10.75 percent.

... Read More
For families, Chicago's charm is obvious. The mix of lush parks, Lake Michigan, slick skyscrapers and world-class cultural offerings makes it an all-ages playground for just about any demographic. Rabid sports fans are just as comfortable here as arty types, who would rather be at the opera or a gallery opening than a ball field. Italian beef and hot dogs make for fast, no-fuss meals; but if your family prefers you can also splurge on multi-course offerings made by some of the best-known chefs in the world. You can take the wee ones to grassroots children's theater productions, or treat your teen to a matinee performance of the latest blockbuster musical bound for Broadway. You can pull out the plastic at swank stores or haggle for bargains in the city’s many ethnic shopping enclaves. Chicago is a proudly down-to-earth, Midwestern city that still easily rivals the global greats when it comes to culture and sophistication. That said, a trip here will cost you: Expect hotel prices akin to other big U.S. cities, and a sales tax that's even worse, at a whopping 10.75 percent.

Chicago wasn't always this cosmopolitan - its name comes from a Potawatomi Indian word meaning "wild onion" or "skunk." When Indians first arrived, the future home of America's third-largest city was a patch of rotting marshland onions. The nickname "Windy City" was given to Chicago by New York Sun editor Charles Dana in 1893. He was tired of listening to long-winded local politicians.

Of course, Chicago's schizoid weather can be a factor in deciding what to do with the little darlings. Summertime is a cinch: You can head for the lakefront where they can build sandcastles, take a dip in the water or pedal down the bike path. You can visit the city's newest gem, Millennium Park to let the kids splash around in the fountains and climb around the sculpture locals affectionately call "The Bean." And there's Navy Pier with fun for all ages with a Ferris wheel, the Chicago Children's Museum, an IMAX movie theater, and boats offering lake cruises. The city also boasts more than 500 parks, with pools and batting cages and all manner of playgrounds. Read Less

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Latest Chicago Family Vacation Reviews

luv2trvlmom

06/07/2013

Sweet Home Chicago!

My family and I recently drove from Atlanta, surprising my mother for her 68th Birthday. This is the first time I enjoyed the city as a tourist. Embassy Suites on Columbus Drive near Navy Pier is a great hotel to stay in offering 2 rm suites, free cooked to order breakfast, nightly Managers' recep ... My family and I recently drove from Atlanta, surprising my mother for her 68th Birthday. This is the first time I enjoyed the city as a tourist. Embassy Suites on Columbus Drive near Navy Pier is a great hotel to stay in offering 2 rm suites, free cooked to order breakfast, nightly Managers' reception and an indoor pool. Families will love everything from the Museum Campus (Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Planetarium)to the food in Greektown: Mr. Greek (absolutely best Gyro!), Little Italy (Al's Italian Beef) to Jim's Original Maxwell Street Polish. The best way to get around this great city is to use CTA (the city's main source of transportation) or Metra (to go outside the downtown City area). During the summer you can also enjoy the FREE Navy Pier Trolleys taking you to one of the best views of Lake Michigan. If you feel like not spending any money at all, you can still enjoy Chicago by visiting Lincoln Park Zoo, walking the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave)& Grant Parks Buckingham Fountain(it has a light/music show at night) all for FREE! And before you end your vacation, you must not leave without a taste of Garrett's Popcorn (Chicago Mix of course!, Geno's Deep Dish Pizza or an Italian Ice.) Although I'm now a Georgia Peach, Chicago will always be "Sweet Home Chicago." Read More Read Less

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