An A to Z Spring Break Staycation for Chicago Kids

Don't let FOMO keep you and the kids from having a blast right here at home.

Can’t get away for the spring break? Well, have no fear, because we all know Chicagoland offers plenty of fun for families. Here are some amazing ideas that are easy, creative, budget-friendly, and best of all, FUN!


Immerse yourself in art at WNDR Museum with more than 20 interactive and multisensory installations. Or visit an art museum you’ve never been to. Elmhurst Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art (free on Family Days the first Saturday of the month) are both great options.


Watch butterflies flutter all around you at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, then stop by the museum’s new playspace.


Go camping. Camp in your own backyard or find a camping (or cabin) site if weather allows (or even if it doesn’t).


Drive over the border. Short trips to Kenosha, Janesville, Lake Geneva, Milwaukee, Indiana Dunes and New Buffalo can all be done in a day.


Explore a new-to-you downtown area. Lemont, Naperville, Geneva, St. Charles, Woodstock and Long Grove are all great options.


Try a foodie flight when you can’t decide what you want or you just want it all!


Try Geocaching. It’s a great way to hit the trails and look for treasures!


Stay at a hotel. Even if you can’t stay the entire time, sometimes staying at a hotel with a pool for a night or two is all you need to escape from reality.


Take advantage of Chicago’s melting pot and visit the different international neighborhoods, including Chinatown, Greek Town, Pilsen and Little Italy just to name a few. Don’t leave without trying new food or treats.


Become a Junior Ranger. Indiana Dunes National Park, Starved Rock and Pullman National Monument all have Junior Ranger programs.


Get your kicks on Route 66. Did you know that Route 66 started in Chicago? Highlights include roadside attractions and nostalgic food spots. Kids will love a stop at the Route 66 themed playground at Harvester Park in Burr Ridge.


Head to the lake. The water may be too cold for a swim but playing or picnicking in the sand is just as fun.


Go on a mural hunt. Downtown Elgin, Skokie and Aurora all have Insta-worthy pieces. Surprisingly, murals can also be found at shopping centers like Mellody Farm in Vernon Hills and Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie.


Try something new. New museum, new food, new experience. The options are endless.


Challenge the family at an obstacle course park. South Ridge Park (Hoffman Estates), Meineke Park (Schaumburg) and Commissioners Park (Streamwood) are just a few options.


Spend the day park hopping, then end the day with ice cream.


Spend quality time during the break together doing something each family member loves.


Retro fun. How about roller-skating or slot car racing? Both are fun options nearby. 


Go on a sculpture walk. Some notable favorites include Chicago Athenaeum International Sculpture Park, Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park and Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park.


Ditch the car and hop on the train. Choose a color on the L for an day out adventure or pick a destination and jump on the Metra to explore.


Unplug and visit a new library. Most offer spring break programs. Tip: Many libraries also offer play areas that kids will love!


Volunteer as a family at places like Feed My Starving Children or Bernie’s Book Bank.


DO go chasing waterfalls. Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, Lake Katherine, Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Park are all magnificent in the spring.


Indulge in eXtreme desserts. Jojo’s Shake Bar and Dawg Park are a couple fun ones!


Have a YES Day!


Head to a smaller zoo you’ve never visited like Cosley Zoo or Randall Oaks Zoo or re-visit everyone’s favorite, Lincoln Park Zoo, which has a new baby lion.

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