The Best Indoor Activities In Chicago
Not sure what to do in Chicago on a rainy day? Here are my favorite indoor activities in Chicago. This list has saved my butt on more than one visit to the Windy City!
Chicago was my favorite city as a kid. Having grown up in Indianapolis, my family took trips to the Windy City at least once a year, often for a quick weekend getaway during the spring or summer. On each visit, wed make the usual rounds: shopping along the Magnificent Mile, a walk down Navy Pier, and a stop at one of the citys many family-friendly museums before piling back into the car to head home. Now, my cousins have started taking their kids up to Chicago over long weekends, and I feel like my life has come full-circle.
So as much as I love Chicago and given the numbers of times Ive visited, youd think Id have written more about it! I think its one of those things where trips to Chicago have become so commonplace for my family that I forgot that its a unique city many people havent had the chance to visit yet. My friends on the East Coast were fascinated by the idea of Chicago and have it at the top of their US bucket list. But so many of them wanted to visit Chicago during the fall or winter since they prefer taking longer vacations during the summer.
Below are some of my favorite indoor things to do in Chicago when it rains , in no particular order.
Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo
Need a break from learning? The Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo gives kids a chance to climb around on its tree-like play structure, while also viewing some fun animals like toads, turtles, and newts. Outside of the Children’s Zoo’s main building, kids can view North American animals that they might find in wilderness areas outside of the city, including black bears and red wolves. River otters and beavers are also fan favorites as kids often enjoy seemingly playful creatures that may live in their own backyard. The Children’s Zoo, along with the adjacent Lionel train rides, are two parts of the zoo that are not free, so if you think your kids will get FOMO from not visiting those areas, plan a small extra amount into your zoo budget.
Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Robie House Tours
If you know anything about Chicagos cultural scene,then you know that its a city famed for its extensive, diverse, and striking architecture. Among the great names who have built the citys most iconic buildings is one of the most iconic architects Frank Lloyd Wright.
Learn more about this creative giant with a visit to his home and studio. This is where he designed the Robie House, the Larkin Building, and the Unity Temple. Architecture buffs will also enjoy a visit to the Robie House itself, one of Wrights most beautiful private home designs.
You May Like: A Taste Of Chicago 2021
Catch A Band At The Intimate Winters Jazz Club
Music clubs are back and working hard to stay open with careful COVID policies. The wee jazz club Winters Jazz Club downtown manages to keep the beats going with a respectful audience screened for vaccination. This is the place to see a lot of Chicago talents, including vocalists Spider Saloff and Typhanie Monique, vibraharpist Thaddeus Tukes, and the trio Soul Message Band.
+ Things To Do In Chicago When It Rains
Chicago is known as the Windy City, but like much of the Midwest, it sometimes becomes the rainy city too. Although it won’t necessarily rain on your trip, it is important to make sure that you have some indoor activity ideas in mind. Just in case you find yourself in Chicago on a rainy day.
If youre searching for indoor activities in Chicago, check out a few of our favorite suggestions for rainy day trip ideas. Some of our must-see spots include…
- Shedd Aquarium
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Adler Planetarium
- And more!
Recommended Reading: Ultrasound Technician Programs Illinois
Ice Skate At Millennium Park
In winter, the free area under the Bean is transformed into the McCormick. Tribune Rink.
Locals, as well as visitors, love to ice skate at the rink while listening to holiday music.
While ice skating you also have gorgeous views of the city and can wrap it up with a cup of warm coffee from Starbucks just opposite to Millennium Park.
The rink also has skate rentals in case you dont own a pair.
While in Millennium Park, dont forget to see its many attractions including the famous Bean, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Lurie Garden, etc.
The Bean looks fabulous when partly covered by snow and creates some stunning photo opportunities.
Also, just across the Millennium Park is the free Chicago Cultural Center which has beautiful Tiffany glass domes and is a great place to spend time indoors.
Tour The Chicago River By Kayak
In either a solo or tandem kayak, soak in the famous skyline views with a peaceful paddle along the Chicago River.
All the equipment is included with the tour, likewise the knowledgable guide wholl spill architectural, cultural, and historical tidbits throughout the journey.
For something a little more spooky, glide down the river by moonlight on a ghost-themed outing.
Recommended Reading: Missed A Toll In Chicago
Make Sightseeing Competitive With A Scavenger Hunt
With limitless attractions scattered across the city, walking around from A to B can get a little repetitive. Why not spice it up a bit with a little extra adventure?
The professionally-orchestrated Scavenger Hunt games combine sightseeing with interactivity, sending players all over the city to solve puzzles and complete tasks, Amazing Race-style.
Sign up for a city-wide adventure, or get specific with a hunt centralized to the Magnificent Mile or the Chicago Zoo.
Uncover The Mexican Culture Of Chicago
Just a 15 minute train ride from central Chicago is Pilsen. With its murals popping with colour, Spanish signs and plentiful Mexican cuisine on offer, it honestly feels more like youre in Mexico than in the city limits of Chicago. Youll even find the National Museum of Mexican Art here.
So if youre looking for off the beaten track things to do in Chicago, then we would highly recommend a trip to Pilsen. Forbes recently named it as one of the coolest Mexican neighbourhoods in the world. Seriously though, it really is cool here.
Read Also: First Chicago Claims Phone Number
Admire The Vast Collections At The Field Museum Of Natural History
Regularly spoken of as one of the worlds greatest natural history museums thanks to its collection of over 40 million artifacts, this Chicago icon welcomes millions of tourists year after year.
The enormous museum features immersive exhibits that explore over 4.6 billion years of natural history, including dedicated sections to ancient Egypt, the Chinese Qing Dynasty, the dinosaur era, and beyond.
Youngsters are sure to love digging up the dinosaur bones at the Crown Family PlayLab.
Free Things To Do In Chicago This December
You dont need to reach for your wallet to get your fill of fun things to do in Chicago. Here are 10 of our favorite free events and activities this month, including holiday celebrations, ice skating, outdoor light displays, free museum days, and so much more. Start planning your budget-friendly Chicago adventures now.
Read Also: Sonography Schools In Illinois
Visit The Spectacular Dinosaur & Mummy Exhibits At The Field Museum
Most of you have probably heard about Chicagos famous Field Museum. Reading about this museum is much different than actually seeing the incredible dinosaur fossils in person. Home to Sue, the most complete fossil, The Field Museum is tops on my list of must-dos in the city. Take a break from shopping in the cold, brisk Chicago air to tour this incredible museum! If you plan on visiting The Field & the Shedd, along with other Chicago museums and attractions, you should definitely look into a combined attraction discount from CityPass.
Address: 1400 S. Lakeshore Drive Chicago, IL 60605
Indoor Winter Activities In Chicago That Kids Will Love: Museums
Image by Solstice Hannan on Unsplash.
Have a lot of fun, while making it a learning experience.
And few cities can boast of having museums like we do!
I suggest starting with the Chicago Childrens Museum and the Kohl Childrens Museum
And then gradually building up interest towards the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Adler Planetarium.
Also Check: Chicago Toll Booth Payment
Indoor Winter Activities In Chicago That Kids Will Love: Your Verdict
Wed love to know which indoor winter activities in Chicago your children loved the most.
Instagram it and tag us !
Have a very happy new year 2022!
Banner image by Patricia Lacolla from Pixabay.
I suspect a lot of parents in Chicago are frantically typing in phrases like
Indoor winter activities in Chicago that kids will LOVE,
Things to do with kids during winter break in Chicago, and
Kid/family-friendly things to do in Chicago during winter
Into the search bar, and hitting Enter.
Which is why Im publishing this blog post. As a parent, and as a small business owner with deep roots in Chicago.
Fly In The Michigan Lake With Speed
Thrill to the speed of sound as you soar above Lake Michigan on this thrilling ride. Full-throttle action and sharp twists and turns are promised by Seadog Cruises as you zip over the water. Music, views of the skyline, and a lighthearted narrative about Chicago are all included in your cruise experience. Note that you will be splashing around.
Don’t Miss: Il Pay Toll
Dare To Explore The Medieval Torture Museum
Want to take a lighter look at the Medieval torture process? Chicago has a museum dedicated to just this.
Explore over a hundred gruesome tools and devices from the darkest times of human history. Witness multiple executions and pain-inducing techniques demonstrated with historic torture mechanism, if you dare.
The museum is not recommended under 18. No one will be admitted without an adult!
Visitors can download a ghost hunting app to detect spirits of the tortured victims which haunt the museum.
Hoofed Animals And Kangaroos
Along the south end of the zoo, you’ll find a series of habitats for zebras, camels, kangaroos, and Sichuan Takin, an Asian goat-antelope. My son loves zebras and enjoyed watching them graze, even if the movement at that time of day was limited. The kangaroos, however, were very active and elicited a lot of laughs from my kids. We also liked reading more about the camels and how they are able to survive in Chicago’s climate, even though it’s different from where they usually live. This end of the zoo is quiet on less crowded days, and can be fun area to watch animals for kids who have a little more patience and don’t need to move quickly from exhibit to exhibit.
Read Also: Uic Admission Decision
Enjoy Dinner And A Show At Tommy Guns Garage
So long as you recall the entry password, a night of glamour, history, laughs, and intrigue awaits at Tommy Guns Garage.
As soon as you step through that front door, youll be transported back to the roaring 20s, a time when gangsters, flappers, and jazz ruled the streets.
While the dinner is delicious, the selling point is undoubtedly the entertainment. Song, dance, comedy, and even audience participation ring through the evening.
Thrills Of Indoor Skydive
With iFLY Chicago, you can experience skydiving in a safe and controlled environment without having to jump out of a plane yourself. Enjoy the rush of gliding through the air at Chicago-Lincoln Park without having to deal with the nerves that come with other high-adrenaline activities. It’s a great introduction to skydiving at a fraction of the price of regular skydiving.
Also Check: Taste Of Chicago 2021 Schedule
Eat Drink And Be Merry
Chicago is known for food! There are a lot of options for every budget. But if you are spending the day avoiding the rain, why not pick a place where you can really indulge and make the food an experience. There are many James Beard Award winning restaurants in Chicago . Fun tip: venture outside of the loop to discover a lot of the restaurants that locals enjoy that have a Bring Your Own Booze or BYOB policy. You might also want to check out our tips on Where to go out in Chicago.
Venture Out Amid The Twinkling Lights
If your block hasnt stepped up its holiday decor game this year, fret not. Through January 2, the celebrated Lincoln Park Zoo Lights will drench its lush landscape in a multicolored light bath, Morton Arboretums Illuminate features 50 acres of illuminated trees inside their serene, snow-dusted paradise, the Botanic Gardens Lightscape guides guests through glittering trails, Amaze Light Festival Festival in Rosemont boasts a lively light show, and dont forget the majestic Magnificent Mile, where you can marvel at decorated glowing downtown Chicago.
Recommended Reading: Chicago First Time Home Buyer Programs
Barrack For The Bears At A Soldier Field Nfl Game
If hockey, basketball, baseball, or soccer dont spark much of an interest, theres one more sport on offer which the locals take religiously: football.
The Chicago Bears, who line up at Soldier Field during the season , foster a wild atmosphere and the only way to really experience it is to join in on the action!
Spend The Day At The Library
The Harold Washington Library is the largest public library in the world! You can spend your day reading. Head to the top of the building where the skylines will show all of the rain that isnt falling on your head. The music section has personal practice rooms that you can play the piano or sing to with your choice of sheet music! The library often holds special events and exhibits as well. Explore the many floors to find history relics and art.
Also Check: It’s Just Wings Lawrence Ks
Play Brain Games At Lumosity
Another excellent indoor activity to try in the Chicago area when youre snowed in is Lumosity brain games. You can join a global community of 85 million brain trainers, all committed to challenging their brains with cognitive games designed by in-house scientists. Lumosity will have you diving right in with a Fit Test: three games that each challenge different abilities. Thatll give you your baseline scores, so you can watch how your scores change over time, one of the best things to do indoors.