Anything neat for Kids in Chicago this weekend?
December 9, 2010 5:19 AM   Subscribe

Taking 3 and 7 year old boys from Madison, WI to downtown Chicago this weekend (Dec 11-12). Anything seasonal that's worth checking out? The obvious destinations (Shedd, Planetarium) are on the menu, but are there any neat Michigan Ave storefronts that shouldn't be missed? Other holiday-season only events aimed at 2 kids?
posted by Steve3 to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (14 answers total)
Winterwonderfest at Navy Pier is fantastic fun. There's giant inflatable slides & moonwalks and such, rock climbing, indoor iceskating, and more. The whole place looks lovely.
posted by Wink Ricketts at 6:05 AM on December 9, 2010

There is a Lego store in the Nordstrom mall, at 520 N. Michigan.
posted by lee at 6:06 AM on December 9, 2010

The Christkindle Market in Daley Plaza is about a block away from the Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's) holiday windows. Also a couple of blocks from Millennium Park.

Here is another site with more attractions.

Have fun and dress warm!
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:07 AM on December 9, 2010

(if you like iceskating and have your own skates, skating is free. There's quite a few ice skating rinks in the downtown area) though they tend to be a bit crowded unless you hit it at JUST the right time.
posted by Wink Ricketts at 6:08 AM on December 9, 2010

Seconding Winter WonderFest. Tons of fun things for kids to do there, from sports to arts-and-crafts.

The "Official" Chicago Christmas Tree is in Daley Plaza, which someone already mentioned, along with Christkindlmarket. It's HUGE.

If you go to the observatory at the top of the Hancock Center, it'll be decked out in holiday finery. And I think there's a BOGO ticket offer for the Museum of Science and Industry going on when you buy a ticket to the observatory. (Disclosure: I used to manage the photo studio at the observatory. Be nice to the photo jockeys, they're just kids trying to make a living.) MSI has a great exhibit on Christmas trees from around the world, it's not to miss, and also an exhibit on Jim Henson.

Polar Adventure Days start that weekend, if you can get up to Northerly Island.
posted by juniperesque at 6:20 AM on December 9, 2010

Your kids may adore the CTA Holiday Train. If you decide to ride it, I'd pick the Brown line over the Orange line. The Brown line is more residential.

Stay warm!
posted by princesspathos at 6:30 AM on December 9, 2010

The Christkindlmarket in the Daley Center is really just that, a market for Christmas ornaments and stuff. There is a 'visit Santa' booth/house in the market, but If you aren't looking for a souvenir pic with Santa your time may be better spent elsewhere.
posted by readery at 7:27 AM on December 9, 2010

It's a bit out of the way from downtown, but the Museum of Science and Industry is a fantastic place for kids, and seems to be having some sort of Jim Henson thing going on right now.

Protip: get the Garfield 55 bus from the Red line, rather than the Green line as recommended by the CTA. Or take the #2 or #6 express buses from the loop.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:55 AM on December 9, 2010

Lincoln park zoo has the zoo lights going on. They're open a little later then usual, and they carol to the animals.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 10:32 AM on December 9, 2010

Many great options... thanks, MetaFilter!
posted by Steve3 at 12:46 PM on December 9, 2010

It's a bit out of the way from downtown, but the Museum of Science and Industry is a fantastic place for kids, and seems to be having some sort of Jim Henson thing going on right now.

NB: the Jim Henson exhibit has a live puppet show! It's also ticketed separately. Definitely get your admission tickets to the museum + separate timed entry tickets to the Henson tickets online ASAP. We went the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it was packed, and they were turning people away from the Henson exhibit because it was already sold out.
posted by kathryn at 4:07 PM on December 9, 2010

Can anyone tell me more about what's going on in the Hancock observatory? Weather looks likely to be low and gray, not much for the view, so I'd have high expectations on the Winter Wonderland thing to justify the price- $53 if the General Admission tickets cover it (2 kids + 2 adults).
posted by Steve3 at 5:03 PM on December 9, 2010

Redmoon Theater has a tremendous winter show aimed at kids; it is one of my favorite things about Chicago. Also, I also enjoy my glasses fogging up at the Garfield Park Conservatory, which is near the expressway on your way to or from downtown, and has free parking and admission.
posted by i_like_olives at 9:34 AM on December 10, 2010

The Hancock Observatory is probably not worth the money this weekend, considering the weather. (And if not for the kids, I'd recommend skipping the observatory in favor of the bar in the Signature Room, one floor above -- same great views for the price of a cocktail.)

The Museum of Contemporary Art's holiday Family Day is Saturday from 11 to 3, and features a special Taiko Drum performance. And the Lill Street Arts Center's holiday family party is Saturday, too, with special workshops for kids.
posted by me3dia at 11:57 AM on December 10, 2010

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