Hello there, thrill-seekers and adventurers! If you’re reading this, you’re probably wandering what to do in Chicago as a family that will also be cool to the teens and young adults in your family. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve handpicked seven of the coolest spots in the city that will excite, inspire, and entertain your whole family. From sky-high attractions and beautiful urban landscapes to a rich cultural scene, Chicago has it all. Let’s dive into these city adventures!
Note that if you plan to visit a few other sites like Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium or take the Shoreline Sightseeing Tour, it may be worth it to you to pick up a Chicago CityPass.
Tap into the Chicago Scene
1. Skydeck Chicago: Soaring Heights and Skyline Vibes
Begin your journey with an adrenaline rush at Skydeck Chicago. This view from the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower is the perfect spot for a killer Instagram post. Step onto The Ledge, a glass balcony extending out from the skyscraper, and let your followers experience the thrill of standing 1,353 feet above the city.
Skydeck Chicago isn’t just about the thrill, though. It’s also a cultural and educational dive into the city’s history and architecture through interactive exhibits and video presentations. It’s the perfect mix of excitement and learning.
2. Millennium Park: Urban Art and Music Grooves
Millennium Park is not just a green space; it’s a hub of creativity and expression. Get a unique selfie at Cloud Gate (or “The Bean”), an incredible sculpture that mirrors the city’s skyline, or enjoy a free outdoor concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Don’t forget to check out the Crown Fountain during summer, an interactive public art installation that’s perfect for cooling off. With a calendar filled with events, exhibitions, and performances, Millennium Park is an ever-evolving cultural hotspot.
3. The Second City: Comedy and Creativity
Fancy a laugh? Head over to The Second City, the famous comedy club that has launched the careers of numerous comedians, including Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert. The club offers hilarious improv and sketch comedy shows that will keep you laughing throughout the evening.
The Second City also offers workshops and classes if you’ve got a flair for comedy and want to hone your skills. It’s a must-visit for any comedy enthusiast or aspiring performer.
4. Navy Pier: Lakeside Leisure and Thrills
Navy Pier, set along the beautiful Lake Michigan, is a haven of fun and relaxation. Get a breathtaking view of the city from the Centennial Wheel, or catch a movie at the IMAX theatre. The pier also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year.
Foodies can enjoy Chicago’s iconic deep-dish pizza or sweeten the deal with a rainbow cone, a unique Chicago ice cream treat. Navy Pier perfectly combines leisure, entertainment, and culinary delights.
5. The Art Institute of Chicago: Immerse in Artistic Genius
For the art enthusiasts, The Art Institute of Chicago is a must-visit. This world-renowned museum houses a collection that spans 5,000 years and includes pieces from the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso.
The museum also offers teen workshops and young adult programs to encourage artistic expression. So, not only can you appreciate art, but you can also create your own.
6. Wicker Park: Hipster Haven
Head to Wicker Park for an eclectic mix of vintage shopping, trendy dining, and vibrant nightlife. The neighborhood is known for its hipster vibe, filled with record stores, thrift shops, and chic coffee shops.
Wicker Park is also a hub for music and arts festivals. So, keep an eye on the calendar for events like the Wicker Park Fest, an annual celebration of music, arts, and local businesses.
7. The Chicago Riverwalk: Stroll, Savor, and Socialize
Lastly, unwind at the Chicago Riverwalk. This pedestrian trail along the Chicago River offers stunning city views, public art installations, and plenty of spots to chill.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll, bike ride, or grab a bite at one of the many eateries lining the path. The Riverwalk is a perfect place to relax, people-watch, and soak in the city’s vibe after a day filled with adventures.
Is it safe in the Windy City?
Like any major city, Chicago has safe areas and areas that are less safe. The vast majority of tourist attractions in Chicago are located in safe neighborhoods. These areas, including the Loop, River North, Lincoln Park, and others, are generally very safe and frequently patrolled by police.
However, it’s always important to take standard safety precautions when visiting any large city. This includes staying aware of your surroundings, especially at night, not flashing expensive items, and staying in well-lit, populated areas.
Moreover, it’s a good idea to research the areas you plan to visit and ask locals or hotel staff about any neighborhoods that may be best to avoid. Like any city, Chicago has areas with higher crime rates, but these are generally far removed from tourist areas.
Embrace the Windy City Vibes
Chicago is a city that thrills and inspires, filled with energy, history, and a diverse cultural scene. There’s something here for every teen and young adult, from adrenaline-pumping heights and cultural hotspots to artistic expressions and chillout spaces. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your unforgettable Chicago journey today!