Sanity Saving Tips for Visiting Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is spectacular.  Seriously, it has just about everything on such a grand and creative scale it makes me wish I was a kid again.  Because as a parent, it slightly terrifies me.  The crowds, the tall structures…it’s all a bit…MUCH.  So here are my tips on maintaining your sanity while visiting the magnificent Maggie Daley Park and having the time of your life!


Since street parking in the city is always a challenge, I highly recommend using the Park Whiz app.  You can reserve your spot in advance and choose from multiple garages to find the best location for you.  Even better?  I have a discount code for you to use right here.  You’re welcome.


Visit at “off times.” Avoid busy weekend times and instead opt for early mornings (I’m thinking around 8 am after you pick up some coffee and donuts), late afternoons, and weekdays especially. When Maggie Daley Park is less crowded, not only can you explore more but you won’t be so nervous about losing your kiddos in the crowd.


Use our parenting style of “man to man” coverage, because this is not a place where you want to lose sight of your kiddos, even for a second. And be sure to have a very clear and easily accessible meeting spot if you do manage to get separated—I think the red and white striped slide is easy for you to see wherever you are in the park because it towers over the trees.


Explore the vastness. Maggie Daley Park isn’t solely about the playground or splash pad (even though those are our favorites).  During the summer you can walk on the skating ribbon to take a tour of the grounds, watch the rock climbers, and pick out a great place to either kick a ball around or stop and have a relaxed picnic. If you want to take it all in, I would put aside at least two hours to explore all of the park grounds.


Follow the age restriction signs. They will save you a ton of trouble and will help you steer clear of things that aren’t appropriate for your kids (and will hopefully spare you some meltdowns).


Be a kid again too. Since a ton of the climbing structures and slides can be a bit intimidating for kids, accompany them.  Not only will your child have more confidence, but you will have a blast too.  And the views of the city and lake are absolutely STUNNING from a tall playground perch.


Lastly, my tip for whenever you travel anywhere crowded is to dress your kids in a “bright uniform.” That means putting them in a shirt that is easy to pick out in a crowd, such as red, bright yellow, neon green…you get the point.  And if your kids are young enough to allow it, you can put them in matching colors so you are zeroed in on one detail while scanning the crowd.

Looking for other free family fun?  Here is our growing list.

Now go and have some fun using these sanity saving tips for Maggie Daley Park!
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  1. Marina Gallovitch says

    These are great tips Amanda! I haven’t been up there yet, but friends keep telling me it’s a nightmare if you have more than 2 kids. I love the idea of having them wear a brightly colored shirt.

    • amandasimkin says

      I must admit I was nervous about visiting as well but I think people just overexaggerate. It is such a gem for us!

  2. Jeanine says

    Since the closest restrooms seemed to be on the other side of the Pritzker Pavilion. Make sure to do a potty break before visiting the park. I wondered why they didn’t include more convenient restrooms in such a family friendly attraction.

    • amandasimkin says

      Very good tip! I always think they should have parents on their design team to think of small yet important details like that!!

  3. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says

    My kids would love it there. They love splash pads! Looks like a fun family place to hang out.

    • amandasimkin says

      Park Whiz makes traveling and parking so much easier (and so less stressful for worriers like me!).

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