Chicago, IL

Best Family Fun Activities in Chicago for Spring and Summer You Won’t See on Every List

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Have tons of fun in Chicago with these great and lesser known family friendly activities as the temperatures warm up.

Source: WillieHenrietta (CC BY 3.0)

Despite the continued recommended precautions regarding COVID, there are still plenty of family friendly activities you can do this spring and summer in Chicago. Many entertainment establishments are reopening with measures in place for safety and a risk-free experience for your family. The activities on this list are not the usual ones you usually see in every article so if you live in Chicago or are visiting, try some of these activities for some exciting family time together.

The Escape Game 42 East Ontario Street, Chicago IL

If your family is feeling heroic, The Escape Game, is for you. The goal is to complete your mission and escape in an hour by quick thinking and team work as you try to solve the unexpected. There are several different game possibilities on different days.

Your family can recover a priceless painting, make a daring prison escape, travel to Mars, work together to save everyone on a Special Ops mysterious mission, or find the gold during Gold Rush.

The age recommended for these adventures is 13 and up due to the difficulty level. However, younger children can participate as well. Even though some of the activities may be too hard for them older members of the group can carry those out. Children age four and under are admitted free of charge.

COVID precautions are observed at all times. All games are now private, meaning only those in your party participate together. They no longer put different parties together in the same game. All areas including the lobby and other public areas are sanitized between each game and small changes to the games have been made to minimize possible contact between players. They also have contactless check-in.

Chicago Underground Donut Tour Starts at Doughnut Vault (401 N Franklin St) and ends at Do-Rite Donuts (233 E Erie St)

Combine a walking tour of Chicago with a knowledgeable guide who will tell you all about the sights you’re seeing, stopping at four of the best donut shops in the city to sample their wares. Wear your walking shoes because you’ll walk about two miles with four stops, going through the center of downtown Chicago, parts of River North and ending the tour near Michigan Avenue along the Magnificent Mile. This is one of the top-rated food tours in Chicago.

Try the Glass Bottom Gondolas at the Centennial Wheel 600 E. Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60611

You can rise to heights of close to 200 feet on Navy Pier’s iconic Centennial Wheel. Navy Pier’s Centennial Wheel has been a part of the Chicago skyline and a treasured piece of Chicago cultural history for many years. Rising to almost 200 feet, the Centennial Wheel offers visitors an unequaled, 360-degree view of Chicago and Lake Michigan. The enclosed gondolas will let you have a comfortable ride and astounding city views.

There is also a premium option that includes admission for up to four people and features special plush seats and a glass bottom to expand your views as you ride. It also includes other premium perks.

Here’s a look at the iconic Ferris Wheel:

Bronzeville Children’s Museum 9301 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago IL 60617

The Bronzeville Children’s Museum is the first African American children’s museum in the country. It’s geared towards children age 3 to 9 with age-appropriate exhibits for and a special tour format that guarantees children get the most out of each exhibit.

iFLY Indoor skydiving 800 West Scott Street Chicago, IL 60610

It’s just like real skydiving, only without the sky — or the dive. Or like body surfing without the surf. iFLY boasts the most technologically advanced flying tunnels in the world. It’s the most incredibly body-lift experience available and there’s no experience necessary to try it out. They advertise that this experience is safe for all ages from 3 year olds to grandparents. There’s no jumping or falling involved. You simply step into a wind tunnel and are lifted off you feet while an instructor helps you maintain control.

Urban Adventure Quest 320 N. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60654

Experience the city in an exciting way by competing in a family-friendly Urban Adventure Quest scavenger hunt. These scavenger hunts incorporate elements of the Amazing Race and involves solving clues and completing challenges, while you learn about local history. Able to be played with any smart phone, teams wind their way through the city and among both well-known and hidden gems of the city.

Urban Kayaks 435 E. Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago IL 60601

Take a kayak class then head out on the Chicago River or into Lake Michigan. They offer classes and tours for all skills levels and rentals for more advanced levels. They also offer classes on paddle boarding. Some of their most popular experiences include the Historic Chicago Tour, Sunset Tour, and Fireworks Tour.

Playmakers Laboratory 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60640

Playmakers Laboratory provides arts programs that focus on storytelling, theatre, and social-emotional skills. Their acting troop performs plays which incorporate material written by Chicago Public School students, providing a unique outlet for their creativity and allow productions to be developed that connect with other children.

Ultimate Ninjas 2915 W Montrose Ave. Chicago, IL 60618

Here kids and adults can take classes led by American Ninja Warriors who train to overcome the same obstacles seen on the NBC hit, American Ninja Warrior. There are also free play sessions where kids can try out some of these obstacles and activities on their own. For children six and up. They also have a camp and a youth league for kids who are more serious about becoming a Ninja Warrior!

SafeHouse Spy Restaurant 60 E. Ontario St. Chicago, Illinois 60611

When you get hungry during you play day in Chicago, leave the cooking for another night and head for SafeHouse (reopening in Spring 2021). Chicago’s super-secret, spy-themed restaurant has incredible ambiance and James Bond-like fun, food, mission assignments and even a “spycial” menu for younger spies. Of course, before you can enjoy any of this you'll first have to get in by locating the red door and whispering the secret password to Ms. Money Penny! If you don't know the password, you'll have to prove you are funloving enough to enter. The SafeHouse is family friendly before 8:00pm. After 8:00pm it is 21+.

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