Chicago may be one of the very best places to enjoy a bit of QT with your family this fall. Whether you live in or near the city or plan to drive a few hours for a weekend getaway, Chicago is bursting with interesting things to entertain and inspire people of all ages.
If you plan to enjoy the comforts of a Chicago hotel, make sure you explore package deals and special perks before you book. Also try to find a hotel near public transit stops or within walking distance to the attractions you most want to enjoy during your stay so you can spend less time traveling and more time exploring the destinations you want to enjoy.
Here are ideas for building a fun family-time itinerary in Chicago this fall.
If you’re in Wrigleyville seeing a Cubs game or just soaking in the great American ambiance, enjoy a casual kid- and adult-friendly lunch at the Salt & Pepper Diner. With tater tots, patty melts and sloppy Joe’s (along with salad and plenty of other great options) on the menu, you cannot go wrong here. Plus the prices are so affordable that you might think the server comped half your meal when you see the bill.
If someone suggested that you take a hike recently, consider it a suggestion! Especially in the fall months, walking around Chicago’s outdoor spaces is a treat. Check out:
- Chinatown: Browse grocery stores in the neighborhood and stop to see the Chinatown mural, where 100,000 individually cut pieces of hand-painted glass depict the history of Chinese immigrants in the U.S., as well as Chinese philosophies and social hierarchy.
- Navy Pier: Ride the Ferris wheel and then grab some popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shop — try the Cashew CaramelCrisp or CheeseCorn — before taking a boat tour to see a different view of the famous Chicago skyline.
Don’t miss seeing the dinosaurs at the Brookfield Zoo (through Oct. 27, 2013). From popular favorites such as the Triceratops to less-known beasts like the Shantungosaurus (the largest dinosaur to walk on two legs), 24 full-size prehistoric creatures are on display throughout the zoo’s wooded trail. During your visit, unleash your kiddos to the Dino Dig Station. And find out how changes in the environment may have contributed to the extinction of dinosaurs.
The Museum of Science and Industry can keep you and your family fascinated for an entire weekend. However, if you’re short on time and need to focus on the best stuff in a single afternoon, check out the interactive Coal Mine exhibit for a truly special day. (Note that the Coal Mine exhibition is not accessible to strollers, Segways or wheelchairs.)
If you have a bit more time, participate in one or two Live Science Experiences and explore “YOU! The Experience,” an interactive experience that allows you to explore how your voice, vision and brain will change as you grow. This museum also has an OMNIMAX theater and several special exhibits.
If you plan to visit more than a few of Chicago’s most popular attractions, consider purchasing a discount card:
- Go Chicago Card: The 5-day card — $170 for an adult and $120 for kids (3-12 years old) — provides unlimited free admission to more than 30 attractions and tours.
- Chicago CityPass — $94 for adults and $79 for kids (3-11 years old) — offers admission to five of Chicago’s most popular attractions for up to nine days.