On Memorial Day weekend, you get a bonus day to remember those who served in the military — and also have fun with the fam. Plan ahead with our list of must-do’s. You can be patriotic at the downtown parade, head to a Cubs game, see butterflies flutter at Chicago Botanic Garden and more. Don’t forget a good, old-fashioned barbecue!

memorial-day-paradephoto: City of Chicago

1. Catch the downtown Memorial Day Parade & Wreath Laying Ceremony. Lucky for us, one of the largest Memorial Day Parades in the country is right here in Sweet Home Chicago. You’ll tap your feet to high school marching bands, and drum and bugle corps, watch military vehicles pass by, and keep your eyes peeled for Gold Star Pins worn by family members of those lost while serving in the Armed Forces.

Randolph St. Kidsphoto: Randolph Street Market

2. Browse for hidden treasure at Randolph Street Market. Kick off the summer season with the opening of the outdoor portion of the monthly antiques market. This event is filled with lively activities for all ages. Kids under 12 are always free, but check out the family package to score a drink for you and your partner and snacks for the kiddos.

photo: Navy Pier

3. Start off the season with a bang. Catch the fireworks at Navy Pier for the first time of the summer 2017 season. The dazzling show is the perfect way to end a fun-filled day at the recently updated Pier.

Kline Creek Farmphoto: Kline Creek Farm

4. Go back in time at Kline Creek Farm. Whether your choose to check out the Life on the Farm tours, horse drawn carriage rides, or Memorial Day Remembered Ceremony, you and the kiddos will learn something new while you wander this recreated farm of the 1890s.

5. Watch in awe at the Cirque Italia Water Circus. You might be impressed to learn that this traveling circus includes a stage that holds 35,000 gallons of water…but that’s only the beginning of the amazement you’re in for as you watch this unique show.

6. Pig out at the Red, White and BBQ fest. Nothing screams Memorial Day more than a BBQ, so why not go all out and head to this barbeque fest and competition in Westmont? You can chow down on the food, kids can have a blast at the carnival, and everyone can jam along with the live music.

photo: Chicago White Sox

7. Root, root, root for the home team at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox are in town every day of the long weekend. With giveaways each day and discounted tickets for Family Day on Sunday, it’s a great time to check out the updated ballpark!

butterflies-bloomsphoto: Chicago Botanic Garden

8. Head to the great outdoors. If you need some respite from your hectic day-to-day routine, visit Angelic Organics Learning Center for an overnight family campout. You bring your family and a tent, and they’ll bring animals to care for, a creek and forest to explore and good food around a campfire.

Chicago City Mini Golfphoto: Chicago City Mini Golf

9. Fly through the sky on a zip line. Check out one of these playgrounds and be prepared for your kids to go on an adventure.  With zip lines throughout Chicagoland, your kiddos will be soaring in no time. Once you’re finished feeling the wind in your hair, stop by one of the many mini-golf courses to brush up on your putting skills and tests your luck at getting past the amusing obstacles.  Don’t let your kids beat you!

photo: MSI Brick by Brick

10. Build a memorial of your own at MSI. If you haven’t checked out the Brick by Brick exhibit, be sure to bring the gang down before the end of the season. Little engineers will be impressed by the LEGO sculptures and then have fun constructing  their own.

What are you up to for Memorial Day weekend? Let us know in the Comments below!

— Lisa Snart