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Shelley from Tulsa asked

Non-touristy family-friendly things in Chicago

My kids, 9, 12 & 15, and I are driving from Tulsa to Chicago in August. We're road warriors, so we won't be stopping much along the way. Interested in interesting, off the beaten path things to do in and around Chicago. 


2 Answers
answered by

Logan Arcade is pretty awesome.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Logan Arcade (restaurant)
answered first by
Emily from Chicago

Hi Shelley-

Chicago is an awesome place to visit, especially in the summer! Every weekend there are multiple street festivals going on, an activity in which locals definitely take part. Here is the schedule for August:

Here are a few other thoughts:

Neighborhoods: One of Chicago's greatest assets are it's neighborhoods. Here are a few worth checking out:

  •  Chinatown Chicago - South of downtown and accessible by the Red Line  
  • Wicker Park,Bucktown,Logan Square - All located northwest of downtown and accessible on the Blue Line. All contain great restaurants and a fairly young/hipster artist vibe. Also home to Flatiron Arts Building which often has open exhibits and the soon to be open (coming in June) Bloomingdale Trail - an elevated parkway built on old railway tracks
  • Pilsen Slightly southwest of the Loop with awesome (and cheap!) Mexican food and a great art gallery collection.
  • Hyde Park - South of the city on the water and the home of The University of Chicago (which has a beautiful campus).

Another great aspect of Chicago is it's right on the lake and has a lot of great beaches! Here are a few: 

  • Oak Street Beach - Immediately downtown which means it also gets pretty busy but has 
  • North Beach - This beach gets packed and is where the 20 somethings of Chicago hang out, also have TONS of volleyball nets
  • Montrose Beach - The furthest north of the beaches but also the biggest. The beach is deeper here than in other areas along the lake and it doesn't tend to get as crowded

Finally, some of the attractions that may be deemed on the touristy side, but are worth checking out:

  • Millenium Park which contains The Bean (affectionately known as "The Bean") as well as huge screens that project images of people's faces and spit out water that creates a splash pool, might be worth a stop if it's particularly hot.  
  • Immediately behind (to the east of) Millenium Park is the brand new Maggie Daley Park. It has an awesome new playscape (probably of most interest to your 9 year old but maybe even your 12 year old's pretty great!) as well as climbing walls.
  • Chicago has great museums, depending on your kids' interests, The Art Institute of ChicagoMuseum of Contemporary ArtField Museum of Natural History and Museum of Science and Industry are all worth checking out and also might be a nice reprieve from the heat. 
  • Beyond the immediate downtown area, the Garfield Park Conservatory has beautiful plant life an often has different activities going on

I could go on and on but will leave you with that for now. Hope this is helpful!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chinatown Chicago (attraction)
  2. Wicker Park (neighborhood)
  3. Bucktown (neighborhood)
  4. Logan Square (attraction)
  5. Flatiron Arts Building (attraction)
  6. Bloomingdale Trail (attraction)
  7. Pilsen (attraction)
  8. Hyde Park (neighborhood)
  9. The University of Chicago (attraction)
  10. Oak Street Beach (attraction)
  11. North Beach (attraction)
  12. Montrose Beach (attraction)
  13. Millenium Park (attraction)
  14. The Bean (attraction)
  15. Maggie Daley Park (attraction)
  16. The Art Institute of Chicago (attraction)
  17. Museum of Contemporary Art (attraction)
  18. Field Museum of Natural History (attraction)
  19. Museum of Science and Industry (attraction)

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