Staying in Chicago for spring break? Good plan! Make the most of it by signing the kids up for a Spring Break Camp or really digging into what the city has to offer together as a family. Discover new exhibits, go for hikes, race slot cars. . . the list goes on. Here are ideas for being a tourist in your own city and filling the days in amazing ways.

photo: Museum of Science & Industry

Marvel Exhibit at Museum of Science & Industry

MSI's Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes celebrates Marvel history with more than 300 artifacts, including original comic book pages, sculptures, interactive displays and costumes and props from Marvel's blockbuster films. Visitors to the Museum can learn about the origin of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk and Captain Marvel and see how they have evolved alongside society over the past 80 years. 

Race Slot Cars

Resurrect 1960s thrills at an old-school wonderland, Dads Slot Cars in Des Plaines. Armed with hand controls (and a rush of high-speed adrenaline) you power miniature cars on a slotted track. Once you’re done owning the track, top off the afternoon with a cone from the onsite ice cream parlor.

photo: Great Wolf Lodge

Pretend it's Summer at an Indoor Waterpark

Lazy rivers. Wave pools. Slides that go so fast you’ll forget to breathe. No matter your water park speed, or the age of your kids, you’ll find an indoor water park near you that will make you forget you're still in Chicago's chill. 

photo: Morton Arboretum via Maria Chambers

Take a Hike

Spring is fantastic. . . but add fresh air, unforgettable blooming scenery and a chance to spy on animals in their natural habitat and you're guaranteed a memorable family day. Lace up your hiking boots, strap an infant to your back and hit one of Chicago's many low-key hiking trails

Be Old-School Cool and Go Roller Skating

Get your glide at a retro-fun spot that has stood the test of time. Impress the family with your 8-wheeled dance moves at Aurora Skate Center. 

photo: WNDR Museum

Immersive Art Experience at WNDR Museum

WNDR Museum, the ever-evolving, immersive art and technology experience has reopened with new interactive art, touchless experiences and enhanced safety measures. The reimagined experience features one-of-a-kind installations from artists, collectives and studios locally and globally. Leaning into cutting-edge technologies, WNDR Museum prioritizes joy, curiosity and creativity while ensuring safety through thought-provoking, interactive technologies and stunning installations that do not require touch. 

photo: Maria Chambers

Visit Chicago History Museum's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Exhibit

Chicago History Museum's temporoary exhibit celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Remembering Dr. King, is a collection of 25 photographs depicting key moments in Dr. King's work during the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit places a special emphasis on his time in Chicago shedding light on the existence of discrimination and segregation. the abysmal state of housing and the realities of poverty in the north.

photo: Art on theMART

Watch Astrographics at Art on theMART

Beginning Apr. 1, Art on theMART is presenting Astrographics in collaboration with the Adler Planetarium. Astrographics will explore ways in which humans conceptualize their universe and how that has changed over time. It will consist of four movements (Earth, Other Worlds, Stars and Beyond) which will transport the viewer from Earth to other planets and stars, then out to deeper and more speculative realms. 

Visit the Animals at Lincoln Park Zoo

No matter the time of year, a visit to the always-free-admission Lincoln Park Zoo is a no-brainer.

photo: iFly

Make Your Kid's Dream of Flying a Reality

If your kid has a need for speed, take them indoor skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel at iFLY. You’ll love the insta-worthy photos of your kids making super silly faces in wind suits and helmets and it’s an adventure that’s thrilling for the whole family.

Practice Your Swing at Topgolf

Sun, rain, snow . . . whatever the weather brings you can still practice your swing at Topgolf, a perfect intro to the game of golf for kids that are newbies to the sport.

photo: 360 Chicago

Tilt Over the City for an Unforgettable View

Cruise 94-floors high in the building formally known as John Hancock and lean (squeal and maybe cry a little) 30-degrees over the city with 360 CHICAGO and TILT. Visitors can also check out Apart, Together, a retrospective exhibit that spotlights the work of eight Chicago photographers whose images captured resilence, the challenge and experiences millions faced in 2020.

photo: Chicago Botanic Garden

Walk in Beauty at Chicago Botanic Garden

Smell flowers, walk the greenhouses, breathe fresh air, and run around outside at the Chicago Botanic Garden

photo: Brooklyn Boulders

Climb the Walls at Brooklyn Boulders

Practice your bouldering and climbing skills at Brooklyn Boulders. Your kids will feel so proud of themselves when they master climbing techniques and make it to the top of a pitch.

photo: Maggie Daley Park

Visit a Park with Lake and City Views

Maggie Daley Park is arguably the best park in Chicago. Kids can climb, swing and crawl on a massive playground, with panoramic views of the city in the background.

Good luck planning your Chicago Spring Break! If you’re looking to book a hotel, we have some ideas for you in our story Staycation Spotlight: Chicago Hotels with Amazing Kid Amenities.

— Maria Chambers & Wendy Altschuler

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