Chicago United States

21 Awesome Things To Do In Chicago With Teens

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Things to do in Chicago with teens

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Chicago is a vibrant City famous for its location by beautiful Lake Michigan. With numerous renowned club sports and the birthplace of the famous dish deep pizza. If you are planning a vacation with teenager and Tweens, I am sure that you will find numerous things to do in Chicago with teens to keep them away from their phones.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I am a teen parent who understands how difficult traveling with them can be! Here are more than 21 activities in Chicago that your adolescent or preteen will appreciate and thank you.

21 Awesome Things To Do In Chicago With Teens

Last summer was our first time visiting Chicago, and here are some of the best things we did when we visited with our teen and tween. Even though we’re based in the Golden State, we wholeheartedly agree that Chicago is stunning and has so much to offer, especially for young people. There was a lot of walking and sight-seeing to be done, but it was a relaxing and fun vacation. Here is our favorite Things To Do In Chicago With Teen:

1. Chicago River Architecture Tour

This is what we did on Day one. Since we arrived a little drained after the red-eye trip and the time change, this was a fantastic and simple alternative. There was no need to walk, and we were able to see the layout of the city. You’ll see a lot of the city and find out a lot about its history and architecture.

We all know that teenagers are not always willing to walk per miles. You don’t have to do that when you visit Chicago. There is so much to see, but if you want to take it easy yet still have fun, this is an excellent alternative. We were really fortunate with our tour. The boat has a snack bar and great view. We chose our trip around sunset, and it was an excellent way to begin our vacation. Incredible our tween and teen were off their phone besides from taking pictures!

Cost $45-50

Location: Lake station

Time: 1 hour and half

Chicago River Boat Architecture Tour

2. Try the famous Deep-Dish Pizza 

If you’re visiting Chicago with teenagers, this is an absolute must. My family is open to trying new things, so we ordered this pizza. Keep in mind the typical preparation time for this pizza is 45 minutes. We were served tasty cheese bread and beverages while we waited.

Here are the different Pizzas we tried:

Lou Malnatis it was the number #1 deep dish pizza for us. Location 410 North Michigan Avenue. Cost: medium around $25.89

Menu: https://loumalnatispizzeria.olo.com/menu/michigan-ave/products/60141830

The Malnati is known as the closest place where this pizza style was originated with its Buttery crust. A pizzeria opened by two Italian and Jews immigrants in 1940 in a bar in a Jewish neighborhood. Pizzeria uno that later franchise was sold to Malnati. The origins of this pizza were because the owners wanted to have a pizza more like a pie to be more filling than your average pizza. So, they created a pizza with a thick crust with more cheese, denser and salty pizza so people will drink more beer in the bar.

Pequod pizza is the number 2 deep dish pizza for us.Remember here You have to make reservations and it takes an hour to get ready. Location: 2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614. Cost pizza: medium pizza $18.25

Menu here: https://pequodspizza.com/chicago/table-menu-chicago/

Giordano’s the number 3rd deep dish pizza for us. Location: 223 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60606. Cost: small slide $30 and medium serve 4 per $37

3. 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck 

The 360 Observatory deck and the tilt are located in there. The Observatory’s Tilt and Deck, From Which You Can See 360 Degrees. Teenagers will find it to be an exciting experience. The John Hancock Building, one of the tallest structures in the United States, is home to the Observatory. You’ll need to use the world’s fastest elevator, which can travel 94 storeys in under 40 seconds, to get there.

From here, you have a sweeping vista of the whole city. when I travel I try to get a feel of the city. Getting a bird’s-eye view of the area helps immensely in discovery. The excitement of the tilt experience at the observatory just adds to the fun. Enjoy the thrill of the tilt while taking in a panoramic view of Chicago from the observation deck.

Location: 875 N Michigan Ave. 94th Floor.

Cost: deck $30 and deck and tilt $39

360 CHICAGO Observation Deck Admission (Hancock Center)

4. Thrilled your sense at Color factory

Located near to the Sky deck of the Willis skyscraper. This is a fantastic sensory experience for teenagers and Tweens. This was on of the favorite thing to do in Chicago with teens. If you are in Chicago, this is a must-see; there are only three of them in the United States. Chicago, New York, and Texas are among the cities. It is a must-see if you do not reside in those states.My kids had a fantastic time here and give it a 10 out of 10. Can you see the fun we had?

Each area is designed by an artist, and this will absolutely keep kids out of their phones which is a win for me. Well, they use them to take pictures.

Location: Willis Tower, Lower level 2, 320 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Il 60606

Cost: $39 week days and $43 weekends

5. Take a Chicago Food and walking tour.

This one is a favorite of our entire family, even our teenager and preteen. This is a walkable tour of Chicago’s famed food. It’s all comfort food: deep dish pizza, hot dogs, and brownies, yay! We also went to the location where brownies were invented. yes, it was in Chicago and it is delicious. I warned you that you would most likely miss supper.

We took Bobby’s Bike Hike tour and had a great time with our guide, James! They not only take us through the food, but also through the history of Chicago, which was fantastic for the kids to learn while having fun.

Cost: $80

Chicago Favorites Ultimate Food & Walking Tour

6. Ride the Centennial Wheel in Navy Pier

This is definitely a fun thing to do it teens and tween in Chicago. It is actually a very nice Wheel and conformable that takes you up to 200 feet with amazing views of Chicago. Specially in beautiful June days.

Location: 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Cost ride is about $12

Chicago: Navy Pier Centennial Wheel Regular & Express Ticket

7. Grab lunch at Sugar Factory

Hear me out: your kid would like that spot. The company is available in large cities;   the food and drinks are not only visually appealing but also tasty. A must-stop for exciting cuisine and trademark beverages from prominent celebs that your teenager is likely to recognize. Thins was certainly another huge hit in our list of Things to do in Chicago with teens. They love it!

Location: E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

8. Go shopping at the Magnificent Mile

Shopping is something that teenagers enjoy, thus the Magnificent Mile is the place to go. This is one among the world’s most well-known retail districts. However, It is only around a half mile and 13 blocks. Even if you are not interested in purchasing window shopping is enjoyable since there are numerous pieces of art embellishing the sidewalk, garden, and business along the route.
The garden beds are decorated with bikes and other items. Also, The Magnificent Mile is home to the largest Starbucks in the United States.

Location:  Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Walking Tour: The Magnificent Mile

9. Watch the white sox Baseball game at Guaranteed Rate field.   

This will be a lot of fun if you happen to be with sports lovers.Despite the early morning rain, we did it and had a fantastic day. Thank God, we secured seat covers. Even if the weather turns out to be less than ideal, you can count on having a good time. If your kid like the sport you must add it to your list of Things to do in Chicago with teens.

Almost 6,000 MLB games and four World Series have been played at Guaranteed Rate field. 

There’s never been a better moment to be a White Sox fan, since the team has won three World Series victories in its history (1906, 1917, and 2005).

We went on a Sunday, when the stadium hosts its popular “kids run the bases” event, and the boys had a blast running the bases after the game. We all had a great time here. If you find yourself in Chicago, be sure to check this out.

Location: 333 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616

Chicago White Sox Baseball Game Ticket at Guaranteed Rate Field

10. Visit the Field Museum

The Field Museum is known also as the Field Museum of natural history. It is one of the most important museums in USA not only because is big also because the important pieces it exhibits. One of them is SUE the T. Rex. SUE is believed to be the largest in-tact T. Rex fossil in the world, and World-renowned items on display include Egyptian mummies among others exhibits. It is a popular museum so best days to go are weekdays. This is another great places in our list of Things to do in Chicago with teens.

Location: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Cost: 18$ -29$

Field Museum of Natural History Admission Tickets

11. Do a tour at Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs)

Wrigley Field is one of baseball’s oldest parks, and we took a tour there as well. The trip gives us a great deal of knowledge on the area’s background. The oldest baseball park in the National League, built in 1914, it features an unusual design and is a great destination for baseball lovers interested in the sport’s past. The atmosphere, cuisine, and scenery at Cubs Park in Chicago are second to none. 

When there are no scheduled games, guides tours are schedule. This is another great places in our list of Things to do in Chicago with teens.

Location: 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613

Chicago Cubs Baseball Game Ticket at Wrigley Field

12. Ride Bikes at Lake front trail 

Lake front trail is the scenic trail that runs for about 18 miles in the Lake Michigan. Cross the Chicago’s navy Pier. You can go for a stroll and looks at scenic or you can ride a bike that are for rent. We walk long part of this.

It is completely saved, and the best part of this Lake is in 875 North Michigan Avenue. A free and great thing to do in Chicago.

Chicago Lakefront Electric Bike Tour

13. Sky deck experience at Willis Tower

Teenagers and people of all ages will enjoy the excitement of soaring to the top of one of the highest buildings in the city on the Sky Deck. The ideal times to go are right when they open to avoid the crowds, or at sunset to take in the scenery. Not many cities can boast as breathtaking scenery as Chicago.

Location: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Sky deck Chicago Admission Ticket

14. Ride a speed Boat.

Teenagers might also get their thrills from riding in a speed boat. Several alternatives may be found along the lakeshore and Pier Navy. An unforgettable experience is possible.

30 Minute Lake Michigan Speedboat Ride

15. Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago offers a wide range of exhibits and experiences that are both educational and engaging. However the main attraction for us was the U-505 Submarine. We explore the “only German submarine captured by the U.S. Navy during World War II”. It has a super interesting history and getting aboard the U-505 was such a experience. You get to see how was life like on a submarine.

 Things to do in Chicago with teens. Museum of science and Industry

This submarine can’t go anyway since the museum wall exhibit was built after submarine was transported there.

The museum has other attraction as the Coal Mine: a replica of a coal mine to learn about the process of coal mining and the challenges faced by miners. Experience the sights, sounds, and even the temperature of a working coal mine. They has also an area dedicated to genetic and my son who is interested on it enjoyed very much.

Other areas are the Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, the Science Storms exhibit, the Apollo 8, The Great Train Story and the Numbers in Nature.

We used the Chicago City Pass to book this experience you can get yours here Go City: Chicago Explorer Pass!

16. Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium in Chicago, you’ll find a variety of fascinating exhibits and experiences focused on astronomy and space exploration. Some of the highlights are the Grainger Sky Theater, the Telescopes, the Mission Moon and the Solar System. It also has a Community Design Lab and for littles the Planet Explorers. The Historic Atwood Sphere and some other Temporary Exhibits. The Adler Planetarium features educational programs, interactive demonstrations, and special events throughout the year.

Free Things To Do In Chicago With Teens

17. Visit the Millennium Park

Things to do in Chicago with teens. Millenium park

It is a beautiful Public Park in the heart of Chicago. Famous for the bean rock sculpture known as Cloud Gate. It is an impressive sculpture and deftly fun for the kids and teen that like to take pictures. Here you find free activities all year long. When we visited, they had a jazz festival. many public art and outdoor spaces to stroll and get pictures. Millennium Park has other artistic areas: the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Crown Fountain, and the Lurie Garden.

This iconic park is home to the famous Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as “The Bean.” It’s a great spot for taking photos, exploring outdoor art installations, and enjoying free concerts and events during the summer.

Location: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Cost: Free

18. Visit Maggie Daley Park and Grant Park

 Things to do in Chicago with teens: visit maggie Daley and Grant Park

Located close to Lake Michigan. It has great playgrounds for littles. But also has rock-climbing wall, an 18-hole mini-golf course. In addition, tennis courts and A-line skating track called the Skating Ribbon. It is connected to Millennium Park via the pedestrian Bridge. 

You can keep walking by the lake Front and check the Buckingham Fountain in Grant park. A real piece of art. While you may think you teen wont be interested take him or her there, is a beautiful stroll and the fountain is impressive and there is plenty of room for the kids run around. My kids started playing pretending baseball

19. Visit the Cub store and Starbuck Reserve at the The Magnificent Mile

Take a stroll down the Magnificent Mile and, if you or someone in your family is a baseball enthusiast, stop by the Cubs’ team store.  Keep in mind that there is a 5 story Starbuck’s reserve along the amazing Mile.

20. Stroll at Chicago River Walk

This is a path of 1.25-mile long where you can enjoy an stroll. Here you find the boat tours, bar and restaurants. The path goes along Lake front drive. It Has a great vie and it is a vibrant area that everyone will enjoy specially teens.

21. Walk around the Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of the top attractions in Chicago. Build by Lake Michigan. A fun and vibrant place to stroll, grab drinks, coffee, ice cream or meal you name it. You can find any type of food here even the Children Museum with an impressive tree house that even a teenager will enjoy. It is huge and not something you see on the daily bases.

Things to do in Chicago with teens. Navyt Pier

Here you find the Centennial Wheel and free events during the year. Including free fireworks in special occasions. Also in Navy Pier find also different boat tours. This popular destination offers a variety of attractions, including amusement rides, boat tours, restaurants, shops, and a Ferris wheel. Teens can enjoy the lively atmosphere, take a ride on the Centennial Wheel, or catch a fireworks show.

Visiting Chicago and Things to do in Chicago with teens.: FAQs

There are few things you should keep in mind when visiting Chicago with teens. One is that the center it is very walkable and great place for families all year long.

Is Chicago a fun place for teens?

Yes, Chicago can be a fun place for teens. The city offers a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to different interests.

Teenagers may find some enjoyment in Chicago. The city has many options for entertainment, so it’s perfect for people of all tastes. In particular, “The Bean” of Millennium Park. 

The Millennium Park it’s a fantastic location for summertime free concerts and activities, as well as for shooting photographs and exploring outdoor art works. The museums in Chicago’s and  Navy Pier and around the city are among the best in the world. That might be entertaining for your youngster if he or she is interested in the topic. 

In addition, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, and Shedd Aquarium. They provide a wide variety of exhibitions, displays, and interactive activities that might pique the interest of teens.

And lets don’t forget the city of Chicago is home to professional sports clubs in several different leagues. Teens with an interest in sports will love trips to Wrigley Field to see the Chicago Cubs play and the United Center to see the Chicago Bulls play.

In addition, Chicago offers wonderful opportunities for shopping and dining in. The Magnificent Mile is a popular retail area in the heart of Chicago, and the city has a number of festivals and events throughout the year that young people may enjoy.

How many days do you need in Chicago?

The number of days you need to fully experience Chicago depends on your interests, the activities you want to do, and your pace of exploration. However, to get a well-rounded experience of the city, I would recommend spending at least 3 to 4 days in Chicago. This duration allows you to visit major attractions, explore different neighborhoods, try local cuisine, and participate in some popular activities.

Itinerary for a 3-4 day trip to Chicago:

Day 1

To Explore downtown Chicago:

In the morning you can Visit Millennium Park and see “The Bean” (Cloud Gate). Then Walk along the Magnificent Mile and do some shopping and grab lunch. Then head to the Art Institute of Chicago. Later during the day you can Enjoy an evening stroll along the Chicago Riverwalk and grab dinner around there

Day 2

Museum and Lakefront Exploration:

Spend the morning at the Museum of Science and Industry or the Field Museum. Then Head to Navy Pier and enjoy the rides, attractions, and lakefront views. Finally, Take a boat tour on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan.

Day 3

Neighborhoods and Cultural Experiences

Visit Lincoln Park Zoo in the morning. Then explore the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, Logan Square, or Andersonville. Sample local cuisine and try deep-dish pizza or Chicago-style hot dogs. Catch a comedy show at Second City or enjoy live music at a local venue.

Day 4

Sports and Outdoor Activities. Attend a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field (if the season allows) or take a tour of the stadium. Explore Grant Park and visit the Buckingham Fountain. Rent bikes and ride along the Lakefront Trail. Enjoy the nightlife in one of Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods.

With the additional time, you can consider adding the following to the suggested itinerary:

Day 5

Additional Options: If you have an extra day, you can consider visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden or taking a day trip to Brookfield Zoo, both of which provide a different experience from the city center.

Are kids allowed in bars in Chicago?

In Chicago, the regulations regarding children in bars can vary depending on the establishment and the time of day. Always use common sense. For example obviously kids can seat or stay in an establish where only specifically sells alcohol any place where spirituous or intoxicating liquor, wine or beer, or any beverage. While some bars may have age restrictions and only allow entry to individuals who are 21 years old and above, there are also bars and breweries in the city that are family-friendly and welcome children.

To enter establishments such as bars and restaurants, under certain conditions. Minors are generally permitted to enter these establishments if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

However, it’s important to note that even if minors are allowed inside bars or restaurants that serve alcohol, they are not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. Minors must strictly adhere to the legal drinking age of 21 and are not permitted to consume or possess alcoholic beverages in any setting. Check with the specific establishment beforehand to understand their policies regarding minors.

What is the curfew for children under 18 in Chicago?

There is no nightly curfew for 17 year old’s in Illinois.

Where to Stay in Chicago with teen

I will recommend you the place we stay during our visit. the reason it is because how well located it was and the view we got.

The Swisshotel was our choice. We wanted to impress our kid with the view and have good location. In addition we took advantage of the gym service. perfect for our active teenager.

We choose a family room with two full beds and was perfect for us. However we know the hotel has family suites. This was out of our budget but if you can afford you should since provide more space.

Book the Swissotel Chicago here

Conclusion: Things To Do In Chicago With Teens

Chicago is a great place for families and teenagers. There are many of low-cost or even free activities that might help teenagers forget about their phones and focus on having fun on a trip. 

They may also enjoy a wide variety of paid activities, ranging from shopping to speedboat trips. Don’t think twice about taking your teen to Chicago if the idea has crossed your mind. This is an excellent place to visit. The city has a lot to offer in terms of culture, diversity, and nightlife, making it a great destination for people of all backgrounds and interests.

I hope this guide is helpful. We all had a great time in Chicago!

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I am Rocio

Hello there! Thank you for stopping by. My name is Rocio, and I’m a Latina mother with a wanderlust. I believe that family trips are important in forming well-rounded kids. Even when you have kids, you can still travel, so I help busy parents figure out how. Through my blog, Real world Mami, I want to give you tips that will help you plan epic trips to both well-known and less-known places around the world. Happy Travels!

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