12 Best Things to Do in Chicago with Kids in October

As Chicagoland begins to reopen, we are looking for safe and fun local activities for families to do. We’ve picked events and attractions in Chicago not to miss this month. Check out our calendar to find more local and virtual events happening in October. Also, find the best things to do in the North/Northwest Suburbs, Western Suburbs and South Suburbs.

Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on safety precautions and any last-minute cancellations. Stay safe!


Photo Credit: Chicago Children’s Theatre Drive-In

Drive In Theatre: Beatrix Potter and Friends

Oct. 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-Nov. 1

Where: Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine Ave, Chicago

Cost: $45 per car (up to 6 people)

Four classic Beatrix Potter stories, including the family favorite The Tale of Peter Rabbit, have been recreated as high-quality, made-for-film puppet performances and will be projected upon a giant screen in CCT’s parking lot. Families are invited to drive up, or reserve a socially distanced “pod” to view the show. Puppeteers and musicians will lead interactive activities, perform kid-friendly classical music and reveal puppet surprises.

Blaktober – Virtual Food Festival

Oct. 1-31

Where: Various virtual events (see website)

Cost: $0-$35

Learn from some of the top Black chefs in the Chicago area and enjoy cooking demonstrations all month long. Free general admission gives access to virtual demonstrations on Thursdays and live workouts on Saturdays. A VIP package includes virtual game night, virtual dance class and a virtual cookie decorating party. You can also enjoy restaurant specials every weekend in October.

Zoo Nights

Oct. 3, 10, 17, 23, 31

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

Cost: $5 per guest (online registration required)

During this new series of extended evening hours at Lincoln Park Zoo, enjoy fall décor, food and beverage and a family-friendly outdoor experience on crisp, clear, Chicago autumn nights. Standard safety guidelines apply, including limited capacity and group size, required face coverings, and social distancing.

Open House Chicago

When: Oct. 16-25

Where: Various locations in Chicagoland (see website)

Cost: Free, advance registration required.

With virtual and small-group, in-person tours, explore the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.

Attractions + More Things to Do with Kids

Lincoln Park Zoo, Photo Credit: Julia Fuller

Pumpkin Walk

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

Looking for a pumpkin patch experience without leaving the city? Check out Lincoln Park Zoo’s pumpkin patch, located outside of the Gift Shop. For more fall activities, take a stroll through their new path through Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo with carved pumpkins. Entry costs $3 per person and it’s encouraged to purchase those tickets online when reserving your spot for general admission.

XO Marshmallow

Where: 6977 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a one-of-a-kind dessert. XO Marshmallow has already impressed us with unique marshmallow flavors, but they also had edible cookie dough. The Dat Cone Dough includes an ice cream cone filled with edible cookie dough and topped with vanilla marshmallow dipped in chocolate.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Where: 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago

The conservatory has reopened the outdoor gardens to the public. Be sure to book your visit in advance before your visit. The indoor gardens will remain closed until further notice. Check out the newest exhibit, The Flowers of Monet, featuring key examples of the plant life that captured the imagination and inspired the vision and technique of the French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

International Museum of Surgical Science

Where: 1524 N Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

If you’re looking for haunted things to do, the International Museum of Surgical Sciences will be a cool spot for tweens and teens. Explore through a historic Gold Coast mansion as you learn about centuries of surgical and medical sciences. The museum recommends that its collections are appropriate for Grades 5 and up.

The Friends Experience

Where: 540. N Michigan Ave., Chicago

Got any big Friends fans at home? Then you’ve got to take them to a new pop-up in Downtown Chicago. Take photos of iconic recreations from the ’90s sitcom like the Central Perk couch or Joey and Chandler’s apartment. Tickets cost $35 per person and the pop-up opens on Oct. 1.

Jackson Park

Where: 6401 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago

Behind the Museum of Science and Industry, you’ll find this South Side park that once was the site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. For families with dogs, you can’t miss a trip to Jackson Bark.

Kido Chicago

Where: 1137 S Delano Court, Chicago

There a plenty of clothing options at Kido to dress up your stylish kids. What we also love is that the South Loop shop carries an array of children’s books focused on diversity and race.

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This article is updated regularly.

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