40 Things To Do with Chicago Kids over Spring Break 2022

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 April 11-April 15 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, over a dozen ideas for ways to get outside and explore the (slowly warming) outdoors, and a whole bunch of favorite indoor spots.

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...


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. Check out our kid-friendly neighborhood guides here

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
Use spring break in Chicago to 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. Bring your gamers to the latest exhibit 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

Mary Bartelme Park, photo courtesy of landscapeperformance.org

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

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

13. Immerse yourself in all things LEGO! The Museum of Science and Industry is featuring some of the largest LEGO displays in the world at its latest exhibit.

14.  Be surrounded by the magic of Frida Kahlo at the Immersive Frida Kahlo experience in Old Town.

15. Catch a fly ball or play in a life-size hot dog at the sensory exhibit at the Chicago History Museum

16. Support Northwestern University's theater program and catch a show at the amazing children's theater Imagine U.

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 at Timber Ride Lodge or Great Wolf Lodge or just enjoy some pool time with a private afternoon rental. Guaranteed to be warmer than Lake Michigan in March!

18. Explore ancient Egypt or the new Cezanne exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago.

19. Treat the kids to a show at the Chicago Theater's Presentation of Rapunzel

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

Visit the Brookfield Zoo this spring break. Photo by Maureen Wilkey

21. Head to Brookfield Zoo to see the dolphins back in action and more. 

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 LawnKidsWork Children’s MuseumKohl Children’s Museum in GlenviewDuPage Children’s Museum.

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. 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

Check out Chicago's public art this spring break. 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 a great place to spend spring break in Chicago. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

40. Enjoy a shark feeding or must-see tour at the Shedd Aquarium, or visit the sea life museum.

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
Museum of Science and Industry - 9:30 AM Pick
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo - 4:00 PM Pick
Let It Shine Light Show
Northbrook Court - various times Pick
Let It Shine Light Show
Wintrust Field - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
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