The Windy City is a fantastic family destination regardless of the time of year and the age of the traveler. Warmer weather means sun and sailing on Lake Michigan, and bike rides through the easily traversable city. The cold of winter brings with it plenty of shopping, Christmas markets and the charm of a snowy Chicago. Whatever the season, though, here are a few things you’ll find fun for the whole family, all year-round.
Chicago is filled with educational and entertaining museums. The Field Museum is capable of capturing the curiosity of anyone, starting with the giant T-rex, Sue, as soon as you walk in. More than 30 exhibits display the wonders of the natural world combined with fascinating historic artifacts. Nearby, the Adler Planetarium is a great spot to take your budding young astronaut, with the Sky Theater featuring VR journeys through the known universe. The Art Institute of Chicago is equally pleasing, combining recognizable works with modern art.
The Local Wildlife
While you can’t expect to come across too many animals while your family is running around Chicago, you can pay a visit to two beloved spots across the city to get your taste of worldwide wildlife. The John G. Shedd Aquarium features exotic fish from all over, but the real showstopper is the Oceanarium, with gorgeous views of Lake Michigan setting the stage for the dolphin displays. Across town, the Lincoln Park Zoo provides free entertainment all year, and recent expansions mean even more animals to catch your eye as you walk the well-maintained grounds.
Chicago always has some sort of festival occurring, whether you prefer food, music, theater, shopping or a mix of it all. With Chicago Ale Fest and Chicago Restaurant Week in January; Theatre Week in February; the Chicago Beer Festival in March; and Baconfest Chicago in April, there’s plenty to do coming up in the next several months.
Major Fun at the Major Leagues
Baseball, basketball, hockey, football, soccer — take your pick. Chicago has the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears and more, most just a short cab ride away from downtown, making it easy to catch a game in between shopping, museum visits and dining.
Great Views, Above and Below
If it’s the top views you’re after, you’re in luck. Chicago knows it’s pretty, and gives you several great vantage points for snapping photos. Try Navy Pier for a few hours, where you can walk up and down the pier, snacking your way through the many new restaurants added following its recent restoration. The choices are far from few, and you’ll even find a beer garden or two. Don’t forget to look behind you, though — that’s where you can see a large portion of the Chicago skyline, laid out in all its glory. Take a ride on the pier’s Ferris wheel for shots of both the skyline and the lake.
Want to get a little higher? Take a ride on one of the world’s fastest elevators to the top of Hancock Tower, where you can get a glimpse from the observatory. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can step out onto the glass overlook and watch the world pass by below your feet.
Family travels don’t necessarily need to be in theme parks or resorts with massive kids’ clubs. In fact, more upscale properties across the world cater to both adults and kids, and wellbeing brand Sensei joins the growing trend of family wellness travel. Sensei’s Wellness Science team, led by Dr. Vishal Patel, emphasizes the importance of family travels and exposing young travelers to wellness pursuits. Developing healthy habits at a young age can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s life, and bonding via family trips alleviates some of the main drivers of loneliness and isolation.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
While the United States offers a plethora of bike-friendly destinations, a recent study by personal injury law firm Bader Scott found some counties across the country are far more dangerous than others. Family travelers might be surprised to find many lie in popular vacation states.
Ever dreamed of being a mermaid? Well, your dreams could come true on your next family trip. With March 29 National Mermaid Day, these two resorts offer experiences for guests of all ages to enjoy.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Make Best Western your hotel of choice during spring family travels for a sweet reward. This spring, BWH Hotels offers members of its Best Western Rewards loyalty program the opportunity to earn a free night stay.