Vacationing in Chicago? 4 Ideas for Family Fun

If you’re heading to Chicago for a quick weekend trip, to visit family over the holidays or a specific event, you might wonder what other options are available to fill your time.

You’ll especially want to have a back up plan if you’re traveling for the holidays. Spending time with family is great, but after days in the same house, you might want a little fresh air. Check out these tips for what to do in Chicago, with a special focus on winter fun!

  1. Shedd Aquarium: For exciting, educational and affordable winter fun, the Shedd Aquarium has a lot to offer. With exhibits including A Holiday Fantasea, Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef and the Polar Play Zone you’ll have plenty to keep the whole family busy for a good portion of the day. Be sure to budget for parking, which is usually between $20 and $25. Don’t go on a Bears game day to avoid paying outrageous parking prices, which sometimes creep as high as $50.
  2. Theater: The theater buffs in your family might enjoy seeing a play at one of the local theaters. With plenty to choose from in terms of size, audience, type of play and price range, you’ll be able to find something to please your whole crowd. Book early for more popular theaters, like Chicago’s Broadway or the Chicago Theater to be sure you’ll have enough tickets. Also be sure to find a play that’s appropriate for the whole family by reading reviews, or checking ratings when available.
  3. Ice Skating: Winter in Chicago means that you’ll have your pick of a wide range of ice skating venues. Many of Chicago’s famous parks like Millennium, Grant, Warren and Midway Park near the University of Chicago have outdoor skating arenas set up. Ice-skating is great family activity and the perfect way to enjoy some the crisp winter air. Admission is free and you can save money by bringing your own skates. Affordable and fun? What could beat that?
  4. Food: What’s a trip to The Windy City without checking out the best eateries? The Holidays are the perfect time to indulge in delicious treats, and Chicago bakeries might have just what you’re looking for. Weber’s Bakery in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood and D’amato’s Bakery in the West Loop are both affordable and tasty. They serve classic items like cookies, pies, pastries and cakes. The Pleasant House Bakery in the Bridgeport has more adventurous choices like mushroom and kale pie, or steak and ale pie. Though served at a higher price point, these unique items are worth your time and money!

Make the most of your Chicago vacation by planning early and looking for discounts. Sign up for Chicago’s Groupon list and buy ahead of time so you can have plenty of deals waiting for you when the time arrives!

[Guest post from Nan Gibbons]

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