Best places to escape to around Chicago

Maybe it’s the freezing winter, the scorching summer, or you’ve just got the urge to get back to nature. You helped us pick the best spots to escape with your family. From day trips to museum sleepovers, you’re sure to find a nice place to weather, whatever season Chicago is in.

When it seems like all of Chicagoland has gone into hibernation,head to this indoor gem. Kids will adore the treehouse, water playarea and lots and lots of live animals. Plus, the Butterfly Havenis a welcome reminder that spring is just around the corner …eventually.

Best place to warm up during Chicago’s winter: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum


  • Garfield Park Conservatory
  • Goldfish Swim School
  • KeyLime Cove
  • Santa’s Candy Castle in Santa Claus, Ind.

Best place to warm up during Chicago’s winter: Finalists


When you’re 95 stories up in the John Hancock Center, the cityliterally is at your feet. On a clear day, be sure to snag a windowtable to enjoy your upscale meal. It’s worth waiting for abird’s-eye view of the Mag Mile or Lake Michigan.

Best view of Chicago for parents to enjoy: The Signature Room


  • The Walnut Room
  • The Drake Hotel
  • Willis Tower
  • Navy Pier

Best view of Chicago for parents to enjoy: Finalists


For a change of pace from Lake Michigan, head just 80 miles fromdowntown Chicago to our charming northern neighbor. But afterrelaxing at the beach, cruising the lake, browsing quaint shops andenjoying yummy ice cream, don’t be surprised if your day trip turnsinto a long weekend away.

Best day trip for Chicago families: Lake Geneva, Wis.


  • Kenosha, Wis.
  • Taltree Arboretum & Gardens
  • KeyLime Cove
  • Starved Rock State Park

Best day trip for Chicago families: Finalists


You can’t actually swim with the exotic fish, but putting yoursleeping bag next to one of the tanks for an overnight is the nextbest thing. Families with kids 5 and older bunk in for fish-filledfun, including animal encounters, dinner and dancing, and anaquatic show.

Best museum sleepover in Chicago: Shedd Aquarium


  • Adler Planetarium
  • The Field Museum
  • The Museum of Science and Industry
  • Kenosha Public Museum

Best museum sleepover in Chicago: Finalists


It happens to the best of us: summertime whines of, “Mom, I’mbored!” When you hear it, head to Lincoln Park Zoo. With more than200 species of animals, plenty of space to run around, awesomeviews of Chicago’s skyline and free admission (!), it’s a win-winfor the entire family.

Best place for your family to enjoy Chicago’s summer: Lincoln Park Zoo


  • Biking on the lakefront
  • Any of Chicago’s beaches
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • The Morton Arboretum

Best place for your family to enjoy Chicago’s summer: Finalists


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