Wowsers! There’s a wide range of fun to be had in Chicago this weekend. Take a mini vacation at Great Wolf Lodge, kick off autumn with apple picking, invite Shedd’s sea otters into your home and more! Better rest up—you’re going to be busy. Read on for our Editor’s picks for finding smiles.

photo: Great Wolf Lodge 

Race to Wrigley. . . Virtually
This popular race previously scheduled in May is now scheduled to be held virtually. Runners complete a virtual 5K and proceeds with benefit Cubs Charities. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Go Apple Picking!
Apples are the superheroes of the fruit world—they have the power to keep doctors away. Fill your bags with the juicy, ripe fruit at a kid-loved u-pick nearby. More details.

Take a Mini Vacation at Great Wolf Lodge
With a massive waterpark, gaming area and lots of dining options, Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect spot to plan a quick weekend getaway with the family close to home. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Captain Your Own Electric Boat
Chicago has been gifted a gorgeous summer that’s been boating perfection. While there are several tour companies that narrate a memorable trip along our waterways, sometimes you want to steer the course yourself. More details.

Visit Kohl Children’s Museum
Kohl Children’s Museum is open with a brand new series of weekly programs designed to safely provide the Museum’s brand of exploration and education. You can also schedule small group experiences with friends! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Cool Down with Summers Go-To Treat at a Local Ice Cream Parlor
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! The best way to cool off and celebrate the dog days of summer is by scooping up the babes and visiting local old-school ice cream parlors. More details.

Bring Shedd’s Sea Otters Into Your Home
In the new Virtual Sea Otter Encounter, you’ll come face-to-face with the playful, adorable sea otters that call Shedd home. Fri.-Sun. Event details

Explore the City on a Chicago-Themed Scavenger Hunt
Intro your kids to some of Chicago’s hometown coolness and iconic locations using our Chicago-themed scavenger hunt as your guide. More details.

Adventure as Family at The Forge: Lemont Quarries
Hike, bike, paddle and climb your way through this 300-acre adventure park featuring the largest aerial adventure course in North America. Fri.-Sun. More details.

Troll Hunt at Morton Arboretum
Something special emerged from the vast spaces at Morton Arboretum. . . unusual creatures, each made of reclaimed wood and 15- to 20-feet-tall. Guardians of the forest, trying to make sense of the human world. Good luck with that, Trolls! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Last Chance! Walk Amongst the Butterflies & Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden
Fill your days with butterflies and blooms at the temporary exhibit where visitors can immerse themselves in a habitat filled with hundreds of winged beauties. While you’re there, check out the Model Railroad Garden. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Snap Pics of Dinos Everywhere at Brookfield Zoo
Pay a visit to Brookfield Zoo and be treated to the temporary Dinos Everywhere exhibit. Be sure to pre-register and show up masked and ready to explore! Fri.-Sun. More details

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Luck is on your side because we have loads more to-dos on our calendar—even lots of virtual activities to connect with people, museums and businesses all over the country. Check it out!

— Maria Chambers


It’s Not Just an Addictive Netflix Series: Road Trip to the Ozarks

Cure That COVID Cabin Fever with These Wacky Roadside Stops in Chicago

Low-Key Thrill Seek as a Family at The Forge: Lemont Quarries

Outsource Your Lunch Lady Duties to These Meal Delivery Services