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January in Chicago with a 5 year old??

I am attending a conference in Chicago the end of January 2016.  I will be taking my 5 year old grandson and his mom with me for the weekend.  This will be his first plane trip, etc., so I am looking for fun activities that can be done mostly indoors--we are from Alabama and the cold freaks us out!!  Any suggestions of places, restaurants, tours, etc are welcome.  Is the Blue Man Group appropriate for a five year old??  I saw them years ago and can't really remember!!  Thank you so much!!

1 Answer

answered first by
Crystal from Anchorage

Hello Katya,

Chicago is one of my favorite cities in the world, I have lived there on and off over the past decade. I think the absolute best activity for children is the Museum of Science and Industry. It's great for adults too, set in a beautiful huge building constructed for the 1983 World's Fair. It has tons of world class interactive exhibits that are just jaw dropping. Another easy recommendation is the Shedd Aquarium. It is also an architectural beauty built in the 30's and held the title of largest indoor aquarium in the world until 2009(ish). Their coral reef exhibit is amazing + there are beluga whales. Of course there is also the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier too.

If you do decide to brave the cold, ice skating at Millenium Park or new Maggie Daley Park would be quite a treat. The parks are beautiful on their own too.

Another classic on the Chicago bucket list is the Skydeck Chicago at the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). On a clear day, you can see four states.

Eating is the best thing to do in Chicago, and if you haven't had Chicago style deep dish pizzas from one of the famous joints it is practically a must. My personal favorite in this category is Lou Malnati's Pizzeria. They have several locations to choose some and their buttery crust is delicious. I also recommend getting an awesome brunch somewhere at some point. For some reason I can't explain Chicago has a ton of great brunch places, but I'm not complaining. Yolk is a great choice and also has a few locations so you can choose the one most convenient for you. If you're in the Loop and want a smaller breakfast or snack, definitely check out Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee They are literally a hole in the wall and their donut selection changes daily, but they are the best! They are open until they sell out, usually before 2PM. If you want something to warm you up, go to Argo Tea Cafe. I feel a little bit bad about recommending this as they are a chain, but as far as I know they are only in New York and Chicago. I am addicted to them. They have a huge and creative tea menu including hot teas of every variety, tea lattes, bubble teas, and some kid friendly options too.

I haven't seen Blue Man group, so I can't say first had if it is five year old friendly, but according to the website it is great for "all ages." If you do see the show it is at Briar Street Theater, which is an awesome neighborhood and you should definitely take in a meal while you're in the area. You could do it casual at Clark Street Dog, a long standing Chicago style hot dog institution with other fast food fare. You could also go slightly more sophisticated and check out Fish Bar. Seriously, if you like seafood check out their menu. It has a pub like atmosphere.

If you decide against Blue Man Group, the Lion King musical is in town and all of would love it! It might be worth searching around, there are always good shows in town.

Well, I think that's enough to get you started. I hope this was helpful!

Happy Travels.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chicago (city)
  2. Museum of Science and Industry (attraction)
  3. Shedd Aquarium (attraction)
  4. Chicago Children's Museum (attraction)
  5. Millenium Park (attraction)
  6. Maggie Daley Park (attraction)
  7. Skydeck Chicago (attraction)
  8. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria (restaurant)
  9. Yolk (restaurant)
  10. Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee (restaurant)
  11. Argo Tea Cafe (restaurant)
  12. Briar Street Theater (attraction)
  13. Clark Street Dog (restaurant)
  14. Fish Bar (restaurant)

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