Get artsy! Go outdoors! Get lost in your thoughts as fireworks explode overhead! The options for family time are endless — especially this weekend, which is packed with kid-approved events. Start out by going green in Bucktown, check out an arts fest on Southport and finish things off by spending a day with Thomas the Tank. There’s more where that came from. Read on!

photo: courtesy of Katie Thomas via flickr 



14th Annual Bucktown Garden Walk
Garden walkers are invited to view urban gardens as residents open their personal green spaces and exclusive gardens to showcase the beautiful and unique neighborhood. Explore Bucktown’s hidden gems, enjoy live music, entertain the kids at the Children’s Fest, take a trolley tour and see what makes Bucktown special. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Hyde Park

The Science Behind Pixar at MSI
We all have a favorite Pixar movie. Whether it be Toy Story, Inside Out or A Bug’s Life, Museum of Science and Industry is giving you an in-depth, immersive look at the Pixar process of creating these instantly classic films. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Southport Art Festival
A favorite of many families, Southport Art Festival brings old-fashioned fun to the Southport Corridor. Throughout the day, kids can enjoy interactive games and activities that make for an unforgettable time. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Lincoln Square

Family Fun @ Square Roots Fest
This fest gives you lots of reasons to twist and shout. From singing along with Wiggleworms to a drum circle, it’s perfect for families that love tunes. The instrument petting zoo is always a hit with curious kids and parents love checking out some of the best craft beers in the area. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Mag Mile

Sunday Funday at 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
Sure, sleeping ’til noon on a Sunday is swell, but what’s even better is 360 CHICAGO’s Sunday Funday. Infuse a little excitement into your life by taking the family to the 94th floor for a little magic, a little music and a whole lot of amazing Chicago views. Sun. Event details.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park Family Fun Fest
Millennium Park’s Family Fun Festival is back with a summer of interactive activities, sing-a-longs, delightful story times, and arts and crafts. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Navy Pier

Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier
Keep the kids up a tad later to experience the fireworks display synchronized to music at Navy Pier. Sat. Event details.

West Loop

Bastille Day at Chicago French Market
Experience French culture with live music, specials from various food and beverage vendors and take a French Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine class. Good news! This event is family-friendly, with a mime on-hand to entertain the kids. Sun. Event details.



Enjoy Your Day and Summer Nights at the Zoo
See Brookfield Zoo in a new light with cooler evening weather at Summer Nights.  Families are treated to roaming entertainers, live music on the kid’s stage, close-up animal encounters and a laser light show, all surrounded by the intrigues of the zoo. Fri & Sat. Event details.


Nature Nights: Ready, Set, Garden!
Pack a picnic dinner and spend an evening in the garden. Along with enjoying a tram ride, planting project and s’mores around the campfire, kids will learn what plants need in order to grow and gardening basics in Chicago Botanic Garden’s Grunsfield Children’s Growing Garden. Fri. & Sat. Event details.


Troll Takeover at Morton Arboretum
Something special is emerging from the vast open spaces at the Arboretum . . . Trolls with an environmental message, each made of reclaimed wood and measuring 15- to 20-feet-tall. Take a stroll and see if you can seek them hiding in the trees. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


All Aboard for a Day Out with Thomas
Little engineers are invited to spend a day with Thomas and his bestie Percy when they roll into Illinois Railway Museum. Besides a ride with their train pals, kids get to meet Sir Topham Hatt and enjoy a day of themed activities including arts and crafts, storytelling and more. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

— Maria Chambers

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. . . and check out our Events calendar for even more suggestions.