Play inside again at places like Present Place. Photo courtesy of Present Place
Play inside again at places like Present Place. Photo courtesy of Present Place

Chicago’s Best Indoor Play Spaces

Play spaces are opening up again, and you know what that means? Now when the weather's too hot, too cold, or too rainy to play outdoors, you can head to one of our favorite indoor play spaces for kids in Chicago. There’s a climate-controlled play zone for every age, every interest, and every kind of kid. Does your toddler love fire trucks? Head to the kid-sized play town at Little Beans. Got a grade-schooler who won’t stop doing gymnastics on your couch? She’ll love the climbing structures at Present Place. Many play spaces around the city even offer coffee and wi-fi for grateful parents, so you can catch up on email (and caffeine) while your little ones get their sillies out. Here are our favorite places to play when the weather’s cold and gray.

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Most spots on this list are open with limited capacity and will require some planning, as you'll need to make reservations to play. Be sure to check the website or call to confirm hours and safety policies.

Your treehouse awaits at Purple Monkey Playroom. 

Purple Monkey Playroom — Bucktown 
Currently running Private Playtime, in addition to small classes, and Group Playtime by reservation. Check the website for details.
Two words: Free. Coffee. At this adorable space where families can take classes or play, Purple Monkey is a local favorite for good reason. Ride-ons, climbing structures, and lots of toys for imaginative play keep kids up to age 5 happy and busy, while free wi-fi, comfy seating, and lots of light make it easy for parents to enjoy a break while the kids play. Open play hours are currently on hold.

Kids don't mind the traffic at Hello Baby.

Hello Baby — Woodlawn
Monday-Friday 9am-11:30 am, kids must be registered for each Open Play Program date they wish to attend.
A free play space in Woodlawn just for babies up to age 3 (with their caregivers), Hello Baby is a bright, welcoming spot packed with books, educational toys, and space for physical play. Regular storytimes and sing-alongs make this a sweet neighborhood hub for littles.

Bubbles Academy — Bucktown
Currently open for classes, preschool, and birthday parties.
Small explorers up to age 5 are welcome at this early childhood education center for classes that take place in a spacious room painted with colorful landscapes and stocked with toys, climbers, blocks, and balls. It’s a perfect place to spend a rainy or snowy afternoon. Open play hours are currently on hold.

Little Adventures Cafe is great for the littlest of kids. 

Little Adventures Café —Wicker Park
Monday & Wednesday 8:30am-noon; Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 9am-2pm
This cute, compact indoor play zone fits in a playhouse, climbing structure with slide, ride-on toys, and centers for art-making and imaginative play, with room for comfy seating for the grownups. One innovative play feature here is a sensory wall, where kids can explore different textures, colors, sounds, and movements.

Little Beans Café — Evanston
Reserved play is available on weekends and select times on weekdays. Check the website for availability and to make reservations.
Featuring an entire kid-sized town designed for imaginative play, plus a jam-packed calendar of events, workshops, classes, and family parties, Little Beans might be one of the best indoor play space membership deals in town. Their café serves up Intelligentsia brew and a decently-priced menu of sandwiches and soups, and even boasts an obstacle course and karaoke for older kids.

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There's no time like the present for a little playtime at Present Place.

Present Place — Lakeview and River North
Currently open for private playdates only. Check the website for availability and to make reservations.
This play space in North Center and River North, launched by a local mom, has quickly become an award-winning favorite, thanks to its uncluttered-yet-action-packed layout, eye-pleasing art exhibits, engaging climbing structures, and play areas, and free coffee and wi-fi for adults. It’s popular enough, in fact, that weekend open play hours need to be reserved in advance—which is easy enough to do on their website.

Edgewater Playhouse — Edgewater 
Currently open for private playdates only. Check the website for availability and to make reservations.
Kids crawling age through five years can burn off their energy at Edgewater Playhouse's Open Gym, where they can explore the gymnastics studio. There is no scheduled instruction during open play, so kids can run wild and use their imaginations. Local parents love the clean facility and reasonable pricing.

Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo — Lincoln Park Zoo
Opening March 5, reservations are now required. Free general admission reservations to Lincoln Park Zoo are released every Sunday and Thursday at 4:30pm.
Hitting the Lincoln Park Zoo might not be your first thought during the colder months, but the Treetop Canopy Adventure climbing structure in the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo building is irresistible fun—plus, it’s free! Once your kids have had their fill of the ropes, tunnels, and walkways, visit the North American animals and learn about their habitats.

Jump into the giant ball pit at Kids Wonderland. This photos was taken prior to the pandemic.

Kids Wonderland — South Loop  
Still closed as of March 3, 2021. Babies through 6-year-olds will love this mini amusement park, with its slides, obstacle course, candy-themed snack counter, and a giant ball pit. Parents love the long weekend hours and friendly, helpful staff. 

Razzmatazz — McKinley Park
Still closed as of March 3, 2021. Kids as old as 14 can scramble and bounce around the Inflatable Playland, go bowling, or play arcade games for redeemable tickets at this giant fun zone. An on-site grill serves up kid-friendly classics like pizza, hot dogs, and burgers. (And, ahem, there’s also a bar.)

Photo courtesy of the play spaces/cafes

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