This has been a different kind of summer for all of us, but that does not mean we cannot make it special! Though many of the summer activities we typically enjoy are not available this year, there are still plenty of things to do in Chicago with kids right now, even in the midst of the closures and restrictions that are necessary to keep ourselves and our communities safe. The warmer weather makes outside activities especially appealing, so we’ve gathered our favorite ideas for local fun outdoors to help inspire your Summer 2020 Family Bucket List!
Walk (or Bike) in Nature
Most of us have been enjoying family walks and bike rides a lot more often these days, and if you are looking for a change of scenery, there are dozens of nature preserves and walking paths for easy, kid-friendly hikes around Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Summer is the perfect time to explore one or more of them! Pack a picnic lunch and head out to any of these trails for a day of family fun close to nature. Many of these sites also have paths for biking, so if you prefer to explore nature on two wheels, look through our map of Chicagoland bike trails for families to find the best option for you and your crew.
Go Berry Picking
There’s something about picking your own fruit fresh from the plant that makes it taste extra delicious – and is a fun seasonal activity for all ages! Fortunately for Chicagoland families, many of the u-pick berry farms around the city are open this summer with social distancing guidelines in place. If you’ve been missing some of your regular summer activities, this is a great way to keep up (or begin) a fun family tradition while still keeping a safe distance from others. Plus, any extra berries that you don’t eat fresh will provide a great excuse for making tasty treats at home, too!
(Re)Discover the Drive-In Movie Theatre
Some of us might remember drive-in movie theatres with nostalgia, or at the very least, remember seeing these featured in beloved movies growing up. Now is the perfect time to introduce your children to this blast from the past! Drive-in theatres are starting to open up all over Chicagoland, as are temporary “pop-up” drive-ins put on by local communities looking to provide safe and socially distant entertainment for their residents. Check out our map of drive-in theatres near Chicago to find one near you, and don’t forget the popcorn and snacks!
Visit a State Park
Many of us are missing the family vacations that are usually the highlight of our summer holidays. However, you do not need to look too far from home to find opportunities to explore new places and take in new sights. This might be the perfect time to visit a local state park, or even consider visiting one of the many national parks around the United States that are especially great for kids. The Indiana Dunes is one of our newest national parks, and just over the border in northern Indiana. Similarly, Starved Rock State Park is a gorgeous natural escape from the city, with miles of hiking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, and beautiful views just a drive away for most Chicago families.
Play Mini Golf
Mini golf has long been a favorite family activity for a reason! It’s a fun way to get the whole family outside and playing together, and even introduce a little friendly competition to see who can get the first hole-in-one! Most of Chicago’s outdoor mini golf courses are open for the season, and have implemented social distancing guidelines for the safety of their guests. Look through our list of the best mini golf courses for Chicagoland families to find one near you, and be sure to confirm any course-specific rules and restrictions before heading out!
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