Celebrate the sweetest holiday of the year, family-style, with craft workshops, meals and parties bursting with creativity across town. Read on to find the events and special offerings we’re totally crushing on this Valentine’s Day.
EXPLORE OUR CITY
Peek at Fanciful Fish in Greektown
Take the family to stroll along Halsted Street in Greektown to view the Fanciful Fish outdoor sculpture exhibit. Through April, you'll find 21 artworks created by a diverse group of Chicago artists celebrating Greek culture: from mythological gods and seaside vistas to the Green language.
Check Out Chicago Children's Theatre's Walkie Talkies
Chicago Children's Theatre got creative during COVID shutdowns! They commissioned fun, totally original audio experiences that facilitate families exploring Chicago neighborhoods. Using Walkie Talkies, take a self-guided tour through South Shore, Little Village and around the North Pond Nature Sanctuary in Lincoln Park. Even on a chilly February weekend, you can be outside learning about the beautiful city we call home.
Have a Scavenger-Hunting Adventure
Show your kids the coolness of their hometown with a scavenger hunt. You'll spy on Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel and stroll along the Chicago River to see its moveable bridges. Best part? You can do all this in a totally safe, socially distanced way that’ll keep Covid-19 far, far away. Mask up and hop in the car to seek out these Insta-worthy Chicago landmarks. You can download our Chicago-themed scavenger hunt for kids here.
Put Your Heads in the Clouds at 360 CHICAGO & Tilt
Visit the newly reopened 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck for expansive views of the city and surrounding states.
Visit a Museum
Chicago has some of the best children’s museums in the world where interactive play, with a focus on engaging youth development, is the modus operandi. All have been closed for months, but with new COVID-19 protocols in place, some have expanded their offerings to slowly allow in-person visits.
TAKE A FAMILY STROLL
Bundle Up for a Wintry Hike
Sure, a Chicago winter is brutal. But, COVID has made us realize we're willing to battle the elements and eat our dinner outside if we have to. So, we know you're up for a hike. Get a dose of fresh air, unforgettable scenery and a chance to visit animals in their natural habitats. There are beautiful trails all around the city that'll have you lacing up your boots, strapping an infant to your back and setting out for an adventure.
See Eagles at Starved Rock State Park
Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is haul your crew to Starved Rock State Park for hiking with a stellar view. Starting in mid-January, thousands of eagles migrate to Starved Rock State Park and stay through March. They’re easy to spot as they soar through the sky or perch on the treetops. Take binoculars!
Walk the Grounds at Chicago Botanic Garden
Even when it's cold outside, there is plenty to see, do, touch, taste, hear and explore at Chicago Botanic Garden. The peaceful allure of nature in winter reminds us to appreciate the simple pleasures of the season. Unwind on a walk through the quiet solitude and reap fresh air benefits. Bring binoculars to catch a glimpse of feathered friends and don't forget your camera to capture unexpected beauty.
GO ICE SKATING
Take a Spin at Maggie Daley Park
The Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon is one of the best spots in the city to skate a figure eight. The railing that lines the loop is the perfect pick-me-up for wobbly skaters.
Lace Up & Head to The Forge
It wouldn't be a midwest winter without ice skating on the to-do menu. Lace-up your skates—or rent a pair—and glide across The Forge's Ice Skating Shelf. Teleport yourself to childhood memories and create new moments to cherish.
STAY & PLAY AT HOME
Borrow Some Fun from DuPage Children’s Museum
No reopening date has been announced for DuPage Children's Museum, but you can bring the museum to you! If you're missing DCM, turn your home into a hands-on museum by having portable exhibits delivered right to your doorstep.
Bake & Cook with The Kids' Table
Work side-by-side with your kids in virtual classes to make delicious heart-shaped cookies, a flourless chocolate cake or a Valentine's dinner with the help of The Kids' Table. It's the perfect fun-filled family activity with hands-on instruction and recipes you can recreate later.
SHOP & EAT LOCAL & SMALL
Find a New Favorite Neighborhood Toy Store
Valentine's Day is the perfect reason to get your kids a just-because gift. Make your kid's toy-filled dreams come true at a locally owned toy store.
Hunt for Chicago's Best Cup of Hot Cocoa
Make this winter weekend a little easier to swallow with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. When Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose, it’s time to go sipping. If your kids love cocoa—or need a good introduction to it—check out local restaurants or cafes that make their own from scratch.
Intro Your Kids to a Chicago Hot Dog
Love ’em or leave ’em, hot dogs are big in Chicago, and if your kids haven’t begged for one yet, they will soon. We love the on-the-go ease (no silverware!) and colorful condiments (kids get a pass where the sacrilege of using ketchup is concerned). Grab one at a legendary local hot dog spot and turn eating into an adventure.
Fill Your Bellies with a Hearty Bowl of Soup
Slurp it. Stir it. Make waves. Blow on it. Nibble the good stuff and use a straw for the rest. No wonder kids love soup; it’s so fun to eat. And it keeps us warm and cozy, which right now is a very good thing. From a Jewish deli with great Matzah balls to an Argyle Street pho haven, we'll help you get your fix by sharing our favorite Chicago restaurants for soup.
TAKE A ROAD TRIP
Hit the Slopes in Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin
Pack your snow gear and head about an hour north of Chicago to Wilmot Mountain for snowboarding, skiing and tubing. Wilmot has been in operation since 1938, but with their recent facelift, skiers and boarders can now enjoy updated towers and chairs, rope tows, an expanded terrain park, beginner area conveyor lifts, new decor in the base lodge and improved dining options.
Find a Cozy Cabin
For a change of scenery or maybe even a quick getaway without the kids, escape to a sweet cabin in the woods. Within a short drive, you'll find cozy cabins, sweet cottages and even a converted grain bin to unplug and schedule time amongst the trees and alongside lakes. Relax, unwind and say hey to Mother Nature. Find your retreat here.
— Maria Chambers & Amy Bizzarri