Top 5 Chicago Summer Bucket List Items (Kid-Friendly)

This week, Leyla of the Second City Mom blog is sharing her top 5 Summer Bucket List items for families. In this feature, we’re focusing on Chicago both because it’s where Mac & Mia is headquartered and because it’s a city ultra-worthy of a summer bucket list – after many months of hibernation, Chicagoans are notorious for trying to pack us much warm-weather fun into their summers. This kid-friendly list will help you get started:

1. Go to the beach

Although Chicago is a big urban city, it also has some of the best beaches along Lake Michigan. Our favorite beach is Ohio Street Beach, which is near Navy Pier and Olive Park. The beach offers great city views with the high rises in the background and provides great amenities with a restaurant onsite. It’s also a great place to watch the planes fly by during the practice session for the Air & Water Show.

Photo by Leyla, @secondcitymom.

2. Hang out at Kidzapalooza at Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza isn’t just for teens and adults. It’s for everyone and the whole family. It’s our family tradition to go to Lollapalooza just so we can hang out at Kidzapalooza (kids under 12 enter for free with paid adult ticket). The Kidzapalooza area has a stage with fun bands geared towards kids and the area surrounding the stage offers tons of kids activities. If you can snag up a ticket to Lollapalooza, I highly recommend bringing your kids to Kidzapalooza during the day.

3. Splash at Crown Fountain and other fountains in Chicago

There’s something about Crown Fountain that we love. Maybe it’s the changing of the faces on the screens or when water periodically come out of the mouths of the faces but it’s been a fun place for us to hang out and cool off.

4. Go to a museum

Chicago has some of the best museums in the country! We have memberships at a few of them but we always try to make it to a different museum just to mix it up. Our favorites are the Children’s Museum and the Art Institute. This year, the Adler Planetarium is on our summer bucket list.

5. Mommy and me day date

During the summer time, I try to have at least one mommy and me date a month. I plan my work schedule so that I can take a day off during the week so that we can hang out together for the day, sometimes with no plans or schedules. But those dates normally start out at a coffee shop or bakery where I drink coffee and Luke drinks chocolate milk and talk about what we want to do. Most of the time, we hop on a bus or EL train and see where it takes us or where we want to get off.

More Chicago Summer Bucket List Items:

  • Eat Italian ice at Mario’s Italian Lemonade
  • Find new public art and murals for fun photos
  • Ride our bikes along the lakefront
  • Ride the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier
  • Stay up late to watch the fireworks at Navy Pier on a Saturday night
  • Share an ice cream jumbo creation at Margie’s Candies
  • Take an architecture river cruise
  • Watch a movie at Millennium Park or any Chicago Park District parks
  • Eat brunch at a restaurant with a fun patio
  • Go to a street fest, any street fest
  • Ride the El around the loop
  • Go to Green City Market in Lincoln Park and then have a picnic afterwards
  • Go on a doughnut date at the Doughnut Vault
  • Slide down the huge slides at Maggie Daley Park
  • Play at a new playground
  • Eat ice cream and walk along the riverwalk
  • Find some treasures at the Randolph Street Market
  • See the butterflies at the Peggy Notebaart Museum
  • Take the water taxi to Chinatown
  • Find a new book to read at the Printers Row Lit Fest
  • Take an art class
  • Celebrate Radio Flyer’s 100th anniversary in Pioneer Court
  • Check out a local toy store
  • Go cheer at the Chicago Dragon Boat Race at Ping Tom Memorial Park
  • Watch the Rubber Duck Derby race down the Chicago River
  • Plant a flower garden in our patio
  • Watch Disney’s Cars 3
  • Do a staycation at a hotel downtown
  • Eat at the Nutella Cafe at Eataly Chicago
  • Take a day trip to Starved Rock State Park
  • Find the dragons and dinosaurs at Brookfield Zoo

So much to do this summer in Chicago. Did we miss something? Let us know what’s on your summer bucket list in the comments below.