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Traveling With Kids: Chicago

Updated on February 19, 2008

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When you think of Chicago, you may not immediately think family vacation. But before you pack the bags for Florida, consider all the windy city has to offer. There's an amazing mix of arts and attractions to satisfy everyone in the family.

Taking It All In

Families who stay in one of the fabulous downtown hotels have easy access to shopping, amusement parks, and museums. Simply walking around Chicago is a scrapbook worthy experience all by itself. Just walking around the Loop you get up close and personal with sculptures by Picasso, Miro, and Chagall.

The architecture is breathtaking and the views of the city and Lake Michigan from the top of the 110-story Sears Tower are inspiring. Kids will love the impromptu street performances by various group of bucket drummers.

Navy Pier Entertains the Whole Family

Head out to Navy Pier for a full day of kid sized fun. This former naval facility has been turned into an amusement park of sorts complete with a funhouse maze, IMAX theater, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which introduces kids to the bard on with Short Shakespeare, mini-versions of plays adapted especially for short-attention-span kids.

The Chicago Children's Museum has interactive exhibits where kids get to reconstruct dinosaur bones, sail a schooner, and play mad scientist with a variety of experiment. After all that, ride the ferris wheel and pick up a funnel cake.

But wait, there's more! provides more detail on all the top Chicago attractions. Find phone numbers and website links to everything mentioned in this article and more.

Arts & Science Come Alive

At the Field Museum, the whole family meets a full size T-Rex. The Museum of Science and Industry has an exhibit where you walk through a huge, working model of a human heart. On Fridays, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum hosts special programs for kids of all ages.

If you like fish, you want to observe the sea life at the John G. Shedd Aquarium and Oceanarium. It's the world's largest indoor aquarium and includes a simulated Amazon. Don't forget the land animals. Child magazine has named Chicago's Brookfield Zoo as one of the top ten family-friendly zoos.

The Pizza

A Chicago vacation offers a lot of things, but pizza is the best of all. Do not leave the city without sampling the deep-dish pizza. In fact, I suggest at least one meal every day be Chicago style pizza. You may even get kids to eat their spinach when it's piled atop (or hidden inside!) a familiar favorite.

10 Best is a review site that publishes opinions of the pizza at various Chicago restaurants. You also get price, location, and dress code information.


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