Chicago
Family-friendly Activities

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Our most recommended Chicago Family-friendly Activities

Chicago: Navy Pier Centennial Wheel Regular & Express Ticket

1. Chicago: Navy Pier Centennial Wheel Regular & Express Ticket

Located on the Historic Navy Pier, see the Centennial Wheel suspended over Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Chicago River. Enjoy views of the iconic Chicago skyline, the many attractions on Navy Pier, and the famous parks and world-class attractions located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Choose between two options: With the Regular Barcoded ticket, skip the ticket line and enter the line to board the wheel. The Fastpass Express ticket allows you to skip both lines, and gives you VIP access. Both tickets allow you to visit within 7 days of your scheduled ticket date. Enjoy the Centennial Wheel, which was built in 2016 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Navy Pier opening. Featuring 42 gondolas, each holding 8 people, it operates year-round. They also feature LED lighting, padded seats, TV screens, and speakers, as well as panoramic windows on all 4 sides. A ride on the wheel gives you plenty of time to enjoy these panoramic views of Chicago as they unfold around you, and allows you to visit the top three times. Relax and take in the view, or get your camera out to snap pictures of the ever-changing Chicago landscape.

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360 Chicago Observation Deck Admission: Skip the Ticket Desk

2. 360 Chicago Observation Deck Admission: Skip the Ticket Desk

Soaring 1,000 feet over Chicago’s legendary Michigan Avenue, 360 CHICAGO is one of the city’s most unique attractions. Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center, 360 CHICAGO (formerly John Hancock Observatory) offers breathtaking views of Chicago’s lakefront, magnificent skyline and four neighboring states. After only a 40-second ride in North America's fastest elevators to the observation deck, you can experience what Travel & Leisure Magazine voted one of the best views in America. No other tower gets you closer to the heart of Chicago. Located on the Magnificent Mile and close to Navy Pier, 360 Chicago provides easy access to Chicago’s premier shopping and dining districts.   360 CHICAGO is also the only place where locals and visitors alike can enjoy TILT, Chicago’s tallest and most thrilling attraction. The first of its kind in the world, this one-of-a-kind marvel literally tilts you out and over the Magnificent Mile an Chicago’s famous skyline from the 94th floor observation deck. TILT gives you unique, downward facing views from over 1,000 feet up for up to 8 travelers at a time. Upgrade and include TILT and forever change the way you see Chicago!   360 CHICAGO also offers an interactive exhibit on the Ground Floor highlighting Chicago’s rich history and showcasing nine of the city’s culturally unique neighborhoods. Then, on the 94th floor, audio tours in 5 languages allow you to further explore the history and architecture of the magnificent city stretched out before you.  By pre-purchasing your timed ticket today, you get to skip the ticket desk and present your barcoded voucher to security to be scanned - you may have to wait in a short line at security, then head directly into the Ground Floor Exhibits, and then on to Elevator Line.

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Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History Ticket or VIP Tour

3. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History Ticket or VIP Tour

Visit the Field Museum of Natural History, one of Chicago's great museums. With more than 35 world-renowned natural history exhibitions, there's something for everyone. Visit the Field Museum of Natural History, which holds over 35 world-renowned natural history exhibitions. Explore subterranean life in the Underground Adventure exhibit. Admire gemstones in the Hall of Gems and one of the largest collections of Chinese jade in North America in the Hall of Jades. Next, follow the stories of the Ice Age mammoth hunters and the temples of the Inca and Aztecs. Visit the Dinosaur Hall Evolving Planet exhibit to mingle with giant sloths, woolly mammoths, Sue, and Maximo. Upgrade to the All-Access Pass to see a 3-D movie and all 3 ticketed special exhibitions. Choose the Early Access VIP Tour option for a one-hour VIP tour of the museum's dinosaurs before the museum opens to the general public. Take pictures with Sue or Maximo without the crowds. Then explore the rest of the museum with an all-access ticket including a 3D movie titled "Waking the T-Rex."

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Chicago: Willis Tower Skydeck and The Ledge Ticket

4. Chicago: Willis Tower Skydeck and The Ledge Ticket

Enjoy an unrivaled view over the city of Chicago on a trip up the city's Willis Tower. This famous building, once known as the Sears Tower, is not only home to a Skydeck on the 103rd floor, but it also features The Ledge, a series of 4 glass-paneled boxes that extend out from the building's facade to give visitors a view straight down. As you wind through the ground levels of the Willis Tower, you will be surrounded by museum-quality exhibits highlighting the iconic tower. Learn about Chicago's rich history and culture through these informative visuals. Watch a video presentation, "Reaching for the Sky," where you will be briefed on the history of the building and of architecture in Chicago. Then step into your elevator and you will be amazed at how quickly it ascends. As you travel, your multimedia-equipped elevator will inform you about your vertical progress. Upon reaching the 103rd floor, step out onto the Skydeck, which offers views spanning over 50 miles and across 4 states. Then summon your courage to step out onto The Ledge, a glass balcony that hangs over the edge, for vertigo-inducing views 1,353 feet (about 412 meters) straight down to the city below! Download the Skydeck Mobile App for a free viewfinder which points out many of Chicago’s notable landmarks. Learn more about sights like Navy Pier, Wrigley Field, Grant Park, Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum of Natural History.

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Chicago River: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture Cruise

5. Chicago River: 45-Minute Family-Friendly Architecture Cruise

Admire Chicago’s impressive architecture from a unique perspective aboard a 45-minute cruise sailing down the Chicago River, which features a full-service cash bar and live commentary tailored to entertain the whole family. Experience the best of the Chicago River from Lakeshore Drive to the Willis Tower, navigating along the South branch of the river, before heading back past the Chicago Riverwalk towards Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. Be entertained by the fun and experienced tour guides as they explain the history behind Chicago’s buildings along the river and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing skyline. Enjoy the most relaxing way to sightsee in Chicago- a perfect way to explore the city free of traffic noise and congestion. Make sure to visit the full-service cash bar featuring authentic Chicago products, including local beer and spirits. Explore the open-air decks that allow you to feel the cooling river breeze and see the city from many vantage points that provide perfect photo opportunities.

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Chicago CityPASS®: Save 50% on 5 Top Attractions

6. Chicago CityPASS®: Save 50% on 5 Top Attractions

Take in incredible views, fascinating science, world-class art, and more with Chicago CityPASS® tickets that include premium admission to Chicago’s top attractions and save travelers 50% off the price of the same tickets purchased separately. The CityPASS system is simple. Simply present your mobile (or printed) ticket to be scanned at any 2 of the 5 attractions for entry. What exactly can you experience with the CityPASS ticket? One-stop is the Shedd Aquarium, where you can see otters, lizards, whales, and dolphins – and much, much more. Shedd Aquarium is home to more than 32,000 animals, housed under one octagonal dome. You can also take in breathtaking views at Skydeck, which stands 1,353 feet above the city. The Field Museum is on the list too, home of “Sue” the world’s largest T. Rex. This pass includes prepaid admission to 5 must-see attractions: 1. Shedd Aquarium From angelfish to zebra sharks, meet 32,000 animals from aquatic habitats around the world at Chicago’s “must-sea” destination! See penguins fly through chilly waters, dolphins leap high in the air, monkeys scamper through rainforest trees, and stingrays swim below your feet.  You’ll have all-access priority admission including permanent exhibits, animal presentations, special exhibit, and Stingray Touch (seasonal), plus a 4-D Experience. 2. Field Museum See the world’s wonders! Visit an ancient Egyptian tomb with 23 mummies, explore over 10,000 years of Chinese history and culture, and “Sue” the world’s largest T. Rex dinosaur. You’ll get an All-Access Pass (admission to all permanent and regularly-priced ticketed exhibitions, and your choice of one digital 3D film). Film selection subject to availability. Additional charges may apply for specially ticketed exhibitions outside of the All-Access Pass. 3. Skydeck Chicago (Reopening Spring 2021) Atop the Willis Tower, Skydeck, invites intrepid visitors to step onto The Ledge, four glass boxes jutting out from the observatory. Situated at 1,353 feet (412 meters), the boxes provide a jaw-dropping view of 103 stories above the city. Includes expedited Entry to Willis Tower’s 103rd floor. Your ticket includes expedited entrance to the Skydeck as well as to The Ledge. 4. Your choice of 2 from the following attractions: 4.1 Art Institute of Chicago Travel the globe through galleries featuring the art of ancient Greece, Japan, Africa, and the Americas. The museum also has one of the largest Impressionist collections outside France and features classic artists like Van Gough and Georges Seurat.  You’ll get Fast Pass Admission to the permanent collection and non-ticketed special exhibitions; including an audio tour. 4.2 Museum of Science and Industry Learn about the science of storms, tour a real World War II German submarine, and run on a human-sized hamster wheel. Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is the largest in the Western hemisphere. Includes museum entry, plus one timed-entry experience. 4.3 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck Experience magnificent views of Chicago’s skyline, beaches, and historic waterfront from 1000 feet up. Includes express entry admission.

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Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

7. Chicago: Hop-on Hop-off Open Top Bus Tour

From your vantage point on the double-decker sightseeing bus you'll enjoy panoramic views of Chicago’s finest skyscrapers, including the 875 N Michigan, the Willis Tower and the Wrigley Building. Take in the city's impressive landmarks as your tour guide provides entertaining commentary and insight into Chicago's history. Enjoy exploring this dynamic city with the freedom to hop-on and hop-off as many times as you wish to visit attractions such as the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. You’ll travel down the famous Magnificent Mile, considered one of the great avenues of the world, and continue across the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River. The bridge connects the north and south sides of the city. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Chicago makes it easy for you to explore the city's sights at your own pace. There are 13 stops, where you can hop-off to visit attractions and explore places of interest. The stops are conveniently located to make navigating your way around the city easy, and with a choice of Classic, Premium or Deluxe tickets, you can take your time discovering Chicago. Be sure to take advantage of admission to the Chicago Architecture Center, included with the Premium and Deluxe tickets, to dive deeper into the city that invented the skyscraper. So don't wait, just hop-on an exciting journey through Chicago.

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Chicago: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ Attractions

8. Chicago: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 25+ Attractions

The Chicago All-Inclusive Pass by Go City provides free admission to the city’s top activities, attractions, and tours, offering the ultimate in convenience, savings, and flexibility. Choose durations of 1, 2, 3 or 5 days at a low, pre-paid price. Save up to 45 percent compared to buying individual attraction tickets. The more you see, the more you save! Take a trip up to SkyDeck Chicago, visit the Field Museum, have fun at Navy Pier, and enjoy a cruise. All these and more are included in the cost of your Chicago All-Inclusive Pass. See the complete list below. The Chicago All-Inclusive Pass comes with a digital guide including useful attraction information. Use it to help you decide what to do, where to go and how to get there. Activities, attractions, and tours included with the Chicago All-Inclusive Pass: • Shedd Aquarium • SkyDeck Chicago • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Chicago: 1-Day Classic Tour • 360 CHICAGO • Adler Planetarium • Museum of Science and Industry • Field Museum • Navy Pier Centennial Wheel and Rides • Shoreline Architecture River Cruise • Shoreline Classic Lake Tour • Chicago Children's Museum • LEGOLAND Discovery Center • Bike Chicago: 4 Hour Bike Rental • Tall Ship WINDY • Chicago History Museum • Lincoln Park Zoo Rides • Museum of Contemporary Art • The Escape Game Chicago • Robie House • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour • Panoramic and Scenic North Side Tour • Historic Chicago South Shore Tour • Grand Tour • Chicago Theatre Tour • Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home • 10pin Bowling Lounge • American Writers Museum

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Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

9. Chicago: Gangsters and Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

See a different side of Chicago on a family-friendly guided tour and hear the tales of the ghosts that haunt the city. Explore the famous Chicago Loop district with interesting stories hidden behind each turn. Embark along the Chicago Loop, known as the vice district during the 1920s and 30s. See the places where gangsters such as Al Capone used to party, make deals, and carry out business. Visit haunted locations and old crime scenes led by historians. Stop at the Congress Hotel, Death Alley, and the Palmer House. Enjoy a refreshment along with way, with frequent stops and a restroom break.

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Chicago: Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise

10. Chicago: Lake Michigan Gourmet Brunch/Lunch/Dinner Cruise

Cruise for 2 or 3 hours on Lake Michigan and see the sights of Chicago from a luxury boat, The Odyssey. Board the boat at Navy Pier and enjoy a personal greeting. Smile for the ship's photographer to capture the memory, then embark on an elegant dining cruise along the Chicago shoreline. After being seated at your private table, tuck into your gourmet brunch buffet or 3-course lunch or dinner consisting of creative meals prepared fresh daily by the on-board executive chef. After your meal, dance to the live music or relax on any of the 3 climate-controlled decks as you watch the skyscrapers of Chicago's distinctive skyline glide by. SAMPLE LUNCH AND DINNER MENU Starters (choice of one): Caesar Salad Lobster Bisque (dinner only) Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (dinner only, available for additional price) Seafood Tower (dinner only, available for additional price) 2.5oz 1/2 Lobster Tail (dinner only, available for additional price) Main Course (choice of one): Jumbo Forest Mushroom Ravioli Oven-Baked Atlantic Salmon Filet Oven Roasted Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary and Thyme Braised Beef Short Rib Pan-Seared Fresh Pacific Cod (dinner only) 8 oz USDA Choice Filet Mignon (dinner only, available for additional price) 18 oz USDA Prime Striploin (dinner only, available for additional price) Two 5 oz Broiled Maine Lobster Tails (dinner only, available for additional price) Choice of Dessert:(choice of one): Eli's New York Style Cheesecake Duo of Sorbet Freshly Cut Fruit and Fresh Strawberries Triple Chocolate Mud Pie (dinner only) Odyssey Signature Warm Butter Cake (dinner only) French Macarons (dinner only, available for additional price) Champagne Chocolate Truffles (dinner only, available for additional price) SAMPLE BRUNCH BUFFET MENU Early Risers: Seasonal Fruit Breakfast Pastries Scottish Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Meats Breakfast Potatoes Build Your Own Belgian Waffle Station Late Risers: Caesar Salad Shrimp and Farfalle Pasta Salad Potato Salad Roasted Cedar Plank Oregano Salmon Maple & Mustard Glazed Chicken Hand Carved Strip Loin, USDA Choice Desserts: Odyssey Signature Dessert Station Chocolate Fondue Menu items are subject to change.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Chicago

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What people are saying about Chicago

We ended up going at dusk and enjoyed amazing views as the lighting changed the three times the wheel spun before we exited. My family had a gondola too ourselves so we were more comfortable with covid.

Awesome we bought tickets online so we skipped the ticket both. We went right before dark & got beautiful pictures. The car is heated & you get beautiful pictures out it.

A great way to figure out where you want to spend additional time. Canopy on the roof keeps you warm, even when chilly.

Views is amazing it’s worth to see anytime of the year

Very short ride for the amount of money. Nice view.