Tween and teens are awesome, and it’s often easier to recognize that when you have some one-on-one time with them outside of a group. Taking the time to connect with and enjoy your adolescents is not only good for both of you, but it can strengthen your bond and make the not-so-fun times it a bit easier, too. The good news is that there are many wonderful places around Chicagoland to have fun together. Here are some of our favorites places to play with tweens and teens.
If you’re a family of foodies, take your taste buds to Eataly
While going for ice cream is fun at any age, up the cool factor for your tweens and teens with a visit to the gelato bar at Eataly. Definitely take time to wander around the multiple floors of edibles from Italy. Even non-foodies will marvel over the ginormous wheels of parmesan and the Nutella Bar.
If you have a gamer, check out Level 257 in Schaumburg
Level up your parenting with a trip to Level 257. Don’t tell your kids, but it appeals to both generations and adults will love the craft cocktails and the nods to their younger days (Pac-Man!) There’s half price gaming on Mondays, and bowling is available, too.
If your kid loves the outdoors, go kayaking on the Chicago River
This adventure “ticks all the boxes,” as they say on House Hunters. You get a unique view of the city, as well as a good workout, fresh air and unplugged time. There are numerous options for renting kayaks and many companies offer guided tours, too. Check out Kayak Chicago, Urban Kayaks, and Chicago River Canoe and Kayak.
If your kids are active, experience Windy City Ninja Family Fun Night
A chance to let your kid live out their fantasy of crossing the unstable bridge, conquering cannonball alley and then eating pizza? That’s a win! There’s no age limit on Family Fun Night, and the first one is quickly approaching on May 13 and includes two hours of access to the entire gym as well as pizza for $20 per person.
If your kids are performers, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Chicago Theatre
Kids who are all about the performing arts will love seeing the autographed backstage wall and getting to stand on the stage of the iconic Chicago Theatre. You can do so on the Marquee Tour, which takes guests behind the scenes. Tours are typically offered a few times each month. Tours are $15 for those over 12, and $10 for kids 12 and under.
If your adolescent has a huge sweet tooth, check out Sugar Factory
This spot, with locations in both River North and Rosemont, is a huge hit with tweens and teens. It’s a restaurant, a candy shop and an Instagram haven all in one spot. Candy-themed mocktails are particularly popular and feature treats like gummy bears, lollipops and pop rocks.
If you have a Shark Week fan, feed the sharks at Shedd Aquarium
Many tweens and teens love doing something that’s different from their normal routine, and it seems safe to say that they aren’t feeding sharks on a regular basis, so this experience at the Shedd should capture their attention. An added benefit is that you’ll feel a little better about your grocery bill after seeing how much sharks eat. Tours are offered on weekend mornings and kids must be age 10 or older.
If your kids love to create, take a class at Lill Street Art Studio
Lill Street, on the city’s North side, offers all kinds of classes, and many of the adult classes permit teens, although the age permitted varies depending on the class. Trying something new together can be a fun bonding experience, so give making your own blown glass ornament a shot, or try 3D printing your own cookie cutters. Also, remember that the Art Institute of Chicago is free for kids under 14.