Your family guide to Water Tower Place

When you think of Water Tower Place, you probably think about another upscale mall along the Magnificent Mile (or a place to duck inside when you unexpectedly get caught in the rain). And while that’s certainly true, the seven-story shopping center makes an effort to appeal to kids of all types. Next time you’re on Michigan Avenue, here are some spots to check out.


American Girl Place

This huge store is every little one’s dream. The downstairs is devoted to the company’s historical characters and Bitty Baby dolls, while the second floor displays the popular Girl of the Year dolls and personalized My American Girl collection. Be sure to check out Avenue AG, which features specialty shops, a doll hospital and hair salon, plus the American Girl Café. 

Lola + The Boys

What we love about Chicago-based store, Lola + The Boys, is that it encourages all kids to dress to the nines. That means your fashionable kiddos will be head over heels as soon as they step into this colorful store. Think: graphic tees, sequins, unicorn accessories and so much more. 


How can you resist a trip to a candy store? This retro candy store has all your kid’s favorites and plenty of nostalgia candy for you. Good luck trying to leave this store without a bag of candy in hand. It has something for everyone … those with a sweet tooth, you’ve been warned! 

The Lego Store

Your kiddos will be able to get their Lego fix on and if it was up to them, they can spend hours in this store. Find plenty of building sets as well as look at cool Lego displays or play on one of the building tables. 



Food halls are all the rage now, but Foodlife was Chicago’s original food hall. It’s been around for ages and still offers a great variety of food options. Plus, after shopping all day, it feels good to find a quick place to eat. 

Mity Nice

If you’re looking for a sit-down restaurant, Mity Nice will keep you satisfied. You can find it behind Foodlife on the Mezzanine floor. The menu has a good amount of comfort food (burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.) to satisfy your picky eaters. 

Do-Rite Donuts

If you’re in the mood for something sweet, Do-Rite Donuts has an array of delicious doughnuts to tempt you on taking a whole box home. The menu constantly changes, so you can always go back and see seasonal options. 

Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe

Okay, technically, this isn’t in the mall, but it’s still part of Water Tower Place. At the corner of Pearson and Miles Van Der Rohe Way, head to Wildberry and order a stack of one of the best pancakes in the city. There are so many flavors to choose from: Oreo S’mores and Cinnamon Roll to the Signature Berry Bliss. Tip: The wait time can get crazy, so get in line through the Yelp app before arriving at the restaurant. 


Chicago Sports Museum

Ever dreamed of testing your jump shot against Jordan’s or blocking a slap shot by Patrick Kane? Check out the Chicago Sports Museum, which highlights the Chicago teams and personalities we hold dear. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids, but the fee is waived if you spend at least that much per person at the adjoining Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch restaurant

Broadway Playhouse

Most malls aren’t also home to a Broadway-caliber theater, but Water Tower Place isn’t most malls. The Broadway Playhouse stages shows throughout the year, including some that are kid-friendly. Check out any upcoming shows playing there in our monthly round-up of family-friendly shows.

Painted Penguin

If you’re looking for a quick reward for kiddos who went shopping with you, stop at Painted Penguin. Painting projects begin at $6.95, and the best part is kids can take their masterpiece home the same day. 

Helpful tips

  • The elevators can get crowded here, so use the ones inside Macy’s instead.
  • Family restrooms are located on Levels 3 and 6. 

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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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