Family Guide to Chicago Auto Show

Buckle up! The kids are going to love racing around McCormick Place. Here's our tips for taking the entire family.

If your little ones are obsessed with all things trains, planes and automobiles, then a trip to the annual Chicago Auto Show is a must for your next family outing. The longest running auto exhibition in the country will return to McCormick Place Feb. 11-20 with nearly 1,000 vehicles on display. 

Families can watch experimental car demonstrations, view antique and collector cars, check out the latest electric vehicles and enjoy many other program offerings. Ready to roll? First, buckle up. Then, read our tips and ideas to ensure this fun event is a smooth ride for the entire family. 

Quick details about the Chicago Auto Show

Photo credit: Chicago Auto Show

  • Address: 2301 S. King Drive, Chicago
  • Cost: $15 for adults, $10 for kids 4-12, free kids 3 and under. 
  • Getting there: Several CTA buses, including the 3 and 21, have stops near McCormick Place. The auto show is accessible by the Cermak-Chinatown red line, Cermak-McCormick green line and McCormick Place Metra and South Shore train stations. 
  • Parking: There is on-site parking available from $11-38, depending on the day, time and lot. 

Kid-friendly activities at the Chicago Auto Show:

Photo credit: Chicago Auto Show

  • Almost all of the vehicles on the concourse are unlocked and ready for your little one to hop in the driver’s seat. Your kiddo will love pretending to drive the flashy new cars. 
  • No driver’s license? No problem! Kids of all ages will love the racing simulator areas. 
  • Kids 42 inches or taller can ride along with professional drivers on the Chicago Auto Show indoors and outdoors test tracks.
  • The Chicago White Sox and Wolves will make appearances on Feb. 11, 17, 19 and 20. Swing by for sports-themed games and prizes. 
  • Daily Herald Family Day on Feb. 20 is going to be packed with kid-friendly activities, including a mini golf putt range, crafts, mini game shows, live music and entertainment, giveaways and more. 

Tips for families

  • Feel free to pack snacks — or even an entire meal — if your picky eaters may not like the dining options on site. Guests are allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages, but there’s also Connie’s Pizza, Mimis Churro and other options like burger joints and cafe offerings. If you want a caffeine fix, there are Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks locations in the building. 
  • In the market for a new family vehicle? Check the events schedule to learn when you can take a cruise in your next automobile. Only kids 12 and up are allowed to come along for the test ride. 
  • Family restrooms are located in the Main Concourse.

What to do nearby:

  • Not far from McCormick Place, Chicago’s Chinatown offers delicious food, beautiful artwork, cute shops and unique cultural experiences. Grab a bite to eat at Joy Yee or Kong Dog for kid-friendly cuisine, or dine at Original Triple Crown Restaurant for an authentic experience. Try rolled ice cream at Legend Tasty House or pick out a pastry at Saint Anna Bakery or Tous Les Jours for dessert. 
  • McCormick Place is just a train ride away from Chicago’s downtown. Introduce your little explorer to Chicago landmarks by visiting the Art Institute, the Bean, Millennium Park or the Willis Tower for the first time.

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