40 Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break

Timber Ridge Lodge and Water Park offers day passes to its water park for a spring break daycation! Photo courtesy of Timber Ridge Lodge
Timber Ridge Lodge and Water Park offers day passes to its water park for a spring break daycation! Photo courtesy of Timber Ridge Lodge

The week of March 29 through April 2 is spring break for Chicago public schools that follow the CPS calendar. There’s plenty to do around town for Chicago families, even if they're not ready to take a day trip out of town yet—though if you are, we've got some great suggestions! Our list of the best things to do with kids over spring break includes special events and exhibitions (cough, Marvel, cough), over a dozen ideas for ways to get outside and explore the (slowly warming) outdoors, and a whole bunch of favorite indoor spots that are now (finally) open.

Best of all: Most of these activities are FREE or very low-cost! So go out there and enjoy spring break. We're always here if you need even more ideas for things to do each day...

While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining an appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do.

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Lincoln Park Zoo

As soon as it's sunny out, all mamas and babies like to go for a stroll. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo

1. See the animals waking up from winter at the Lincoln Park Zoo. FREE

2. Visit a new neighborhood and listen to a story that goes along with it with Chicago Children's Theater's Walkie Talkies.

3. Take in the spring flower show at the Garfield Park Conservatory. FREE

4. Visit the indoor farmers market in Logan Square.

5. Walk through the beautiful and historic Graceland Cemetery and Arboretum.

6. The spring migration season is one of the very best times of year to visit the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary. FREE

7. Learn how to make maple syrup, and maybe eat some, at Kline Creek Farm.

RELATED: 100 Things to Do With Chicago Kids Before They Grow Up

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond
Stroll the lovely grounds around the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Park Conservancy

8. See what's blooming around the Lincoln Park Conservancy's serene hidden gem the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. FREE

9. Be sure to eat before heading out to the new exhibit Nom Nom: 40 Years of PacMan Design and History at Chicago GameSpace.

10. Get out for a bike ride or a scooter run on the 606 and stop to play at the climbing structures at Julia De Burgos Park. FREE

11. Play at one of Chicago's many newly reopened playgrounds. FREE

12. Walk or bike the Lakefront Trail and stop for a picnic in the grass. FREE

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Spidey is in town at The Museum of Science and Industry

Is your Spidey sense tingling? It will at the Museum of Science and Industry. Photo courtesy of the museum

13. Fly or teleport to the Museum of Science and Industry to see its Marvel: Universe of Superheroes exhibit.

14.  Be surrounded by flowers and starry nights at the Immersive Van Gogh experience in Old Town.

15. Little shutterbugs can check out photography from the Chicago Sun-Times on display at the Chicago History Museum's new exhibit Millions of Moments: The Chicago Sun-Times Photo Collection.

16. Support Northwestern University's theater program with a virtual show of Tomas and the Library Lady.

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Stay and Play at Great Wolf Lodge

Enjoy a break from winter with a mini-vacation at Great Wolf Lodge.

17. Go on a staycation or just enjoy some pool time with a private afternoon rental. Guaranteed to be warmer than Lake Michigan in March!

18. See the Monet & Chicago and Bisa Butler: Portraits exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago.

19. Reel in a big fish, or look at a giant statue of one at Greektown's new public art installation featuring Fanciful Fish Sculptures. FREE

20. Book a private movie showing just for family and friends at AMC Theaters, Marcus Theatres, or Hollywood Boulevard.

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Meet dinos at Brookfield Zoo

Say hello to the dinos at Brookfield Zoo. Photo by Maureen Wilkey

21. Go back in time to visit Dinos Everywhere! at Brookfield Zoo. The exhibit has been extended through Labor Day.

22. Tuesdays are free days at the Museum of Contemporary Art. (And here's when kids get in free to other Chicago museums, zoos, and cultural institutions.)

23. Visit Water Tower Place to check out what's new at the LEGO store and American Girl. (Maybe stock up on a few goodies for those Easter baskets when they're not looking...)

24. Don't forget the library... The children's room at the Harold Washington Library downtown is always worth a visit on a rainy spring afternoon.

25. Spend the day at one of the top-notch children's museums in Chicago: Children's Museum of Oak Lawn and the KidsWork Children’s Museum in Frankfort are taking reservations for playtime, while the Kohl Children’s Museum in Glenview and the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville are booking private play sessions. Heads up: The Bronzeville Children’s Museum, Wonder Works in Oak Park, Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, and the Exploritorium in Skokie remain closed.

26. Explore a slightly off-the-beaten-path museum like the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst, full of unusual treasures—and FREE on Wednesdays.

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Take a hike!

Cantigny Park has paved or gravel trails that are easy on strollers. Photo by Maureen Wilkey

27. Take a hike! We've recommended more than a dozen routes in and around the city.

28. Settle in for a good read at one of Chicago’s independent bookstores. Volumes Book Cafe is open in Bucktown and Book Cellar in Lincoln Square has browsing appointments available. FREE

29. Play tourist in your hometown with a visit to the Willis Tower Skydeck or the Chicago 360 observation deck in the John Hancock Center.

30. If you've managed to live in Chicago without doing an architecture river cruise, you're missing out!

31. Try for a turkey at Pinstripes bowling locations in the city, Oak Brook, South Barrington, or Northbrook.

32. Stay out after dark to catch Art at the Mart, a dazzling display on the front of the Merchandise Mart building that plays for two hours after sundown Wednesday through Sunday. FREE

33. Snap some Instagram-worthy shots in front of the Pilsen murals. FREE

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Photo ops under the Cloud Gate

Art is everywhere in the city, even if some of the museums are still closed. Photo by rmlowe/CC by 2.0

34. Do a public art walk downtown: Within a few city blocks, you can see the iconic Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, the Daley Plaza Picasso and Miró's Chicago sculpture, Agora in Grant Park, the Sounding Sculpture at the Aon Center, the Flamingo at the Federal Center Plaza, and Chagall's Four Seasons mural at Chase Tower. FREE

35. Visit an underground art gallery in the Chicago Pedway, Space p11.

36. Climb, slide, dress up, make-believe, or play at one of the city’s best indoor play spaces.

37.  Break out of a family-friendly escape room at Fox in a Box, Escape Factor Chicago, or Noggin Builders Kid Escape Room.

38. Overcome obstacles together at Funtopia family night on Friday in Naperville.

39. Pick up a free craft kit for kids to make a spring-themed craft at the libraries in Portage-Cragin, Humboldt Park, South Chicago, or Sherman Park.

Things To Do with Chicago Kids Over Spring Break: Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is now open. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

40. Enjoy a virtual shark feeding or sea lion encounter at the Shedd Aquarium, or visit the newly reopened sea life museum in person.

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