The Northwest Suburbs in Chicagoland offer plenty of family fun for kids of all ages. From attractions to parks and restaurants, you can plan out an exciting day with plenty of things to do.
Our complete list below includes fun ideas for your entire family including towns like Glenview, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Park Ridge and more. Enjoy exploring!
Looking for more fun things to do with kids? Take a look at our Weekend Picks filled with kid-friendly events and activities in Chicagoland.
- Beat the heat at a beach. Crystal Lake Park District offers three options and Lake Arlington offers sandy fun on a sunny (or not so sunny) day!
- Splish splash at a water park like Rainbow Falls Waterpark in Elk Grove Village or Atcher Island in Schaumburg.
- Get friendly with farm animals at Randall Oaks Zoo or take a private tour at Hephzibah Farms in Hebron
- Visit Funtopia Glenview, an interactive play place where you can climb your heart out, conquer the ropes course, or explore their cave system.
- Take me out to a ballgame. A Cubs or White Sox game out of reach? Take it easy with a minor league baseball game at Schaumburg Boomers
- Watch a flick at Pickwick Theatre, an art deco movie palace in Park Ridge.
- Tumble around at an open gym like Hot Ground Gym in Arlington Heights
- Go fish! Catch and release fishing is available at Twin Lakes in Palatine.
- Explore a new trail on foot or bike. One of our favorites is the Fox River Bike Trail.
- Train fan? Ride on a restored trolley at the Fox River Trolley Museum or the awesome Illinois Railway Museum.
- See what farming was like in the 1900s at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg.
- Apple picking! Get a head start in mid-August at Royal Oaks Farm and make your way through their apple maze.
- Spend the day at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, where there is plenty of things to do with kids other than shop.
- Ride on a carousel at Jumps n Jiggles in Elk Grove Village.
- Read a little at a library. Bonus points if they offer more than just books such as an awesome play area like Barrington Area Library, Wauconda Area Public Library or Algonquin Area Public Library.
- Explore a new downtown area. Arlington Heights and Crystal Lake offers plenty of dining and shopping options while East Dundee, Long Grove and Woodstock is simply charming.
- Meet and feed alpacas on your own private tour at SafeHouse Farm Alpacas in Barrington or Magic Meadows Alpacas in McHenry.
- Cruise Crystal Lake in style on a purple dragon boat at Main Beach.
- Find fresh fruit and veggies at a farmers market like the Crystal Lake Farmers Market. Woodstock Farmers Market also offers storytime and yoga.
- Looking for a manageable theme park? Pirates’ Cove and Santa’s Village AZoosment Park offer fun for the pint-sized members of your family.
- Bowling is always fun for the family. Pinstripes South Barrington offers Tot Bowling too.
Parks and playgrounds
- Cool off at a splash pad. Fountain Square in Elk Grove Village, South Ridge Park in Hoffman Estates, and Woodscreek and Veteran Acres in Crystal Lake are all free
- For the ultimate toddler park that’s totally fenced in Deicke Park in Huntley never disappoints.
- Wooden playgrounds are so much fun. Let the kids go wild at the super cool Fort McHenry in McHenry or Towne Park in Algonquin.
- Looking for unique and amazing playgrounds? Commissioners’ Park (Streamwood), Burning Bush (Mount Prospect), Free 2 Be Me (Bartlett) and Heritage Park (Wheeling) are all family favorites!
- Ninja parks are a blast! Head to Meinecke Park in Schaumburg, South Ridge Park in Hoffman Estates, or Commissioners’ Park in Streamwood.
Food and restaurants
- Your kiddo will love eating pancakes and watching trains chug around at Windhill Pancake Parlor in McHenry or 2 Toots Train Whistle Grill in Bartlett.
- Find a new ice cream joint. (As if I needed to twist your arm.) One of our favorites is Julie Ann’s Frozen Custard in Crystal Lake. If you’re looking for foodie flights, the ones at Mozzafiato and Milk House Ice Cream are great options.
- Buy penny candy at an old-time candy shop like Around the Corner Candy (East Dundee)
- Cookies are leveled up at Sweet Peas Emporium or Crumbl Cookies (Schaumburg).
- Try mochi donuts at Mochidou in Hoffman Estates. If you’re so inclined they also have unique corn dogs and bubble tea.
- You can still enjoy a slightly different version of Chocotacos at Capanarri’s in Mount Prospect.
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