Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show

While they might be too young to get behind the wheel, that doesn’t mean that kids can’t have a blast at the Chicago Auto Show. I remember attending with my dad as a kid and my mind was always blown by the sheer amount of cars that they had parked INSIDE a building. Thirty years later, the creators behind the Midwest’s largest auto show have REALLY upped their game. Want to take your minis to McCormick Place this year? Then check out this Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show.

Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show - Jenga


Tickets for the Chicago Auto Show are $13 for adults, $8 for kids, and kids under 6 are free. You can also download the Official Chicago Auto Show app for $3 an adult ticket but keep this Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show handy so you can know which exhibits to look for.

Thanks to specially themed days, attendees can take advantage of discounts on admission. Thursday, February 11th is Women’s Day with women’s tickets at only $8 and if you bring in three canned food items to donate towards The Chicago Auto Show Food Drive between Wednesday, February 12th and Friday, February 14th, you will receive a coupon for $8 admission. Keep in mind that discounts are only available on-site.

Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show - STEAM


Ford has always been leading the way in the automotive industry, from their Built Ford Tough Truck lineup to their state-of-the-art all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV but they are also leading the way when it comes to family-friendly activities and interactive displays at the Chicago Auto Show.

Kids of any age can engage in STEAM learning, experimenting with magnets and learning about physics in the most fun way possible (I’m just really glad I’m not the one who is stuck cleaning up the confetti!) at the STEAM machine.

Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show - Ropes Course

Kids five and older can try their hand at being as tough as Ford trucks by taking on the Super Duty Scramble Net, which overlooks some of the Ford display at the Chicago Auto Show. There is also Hank the Robot, an interactive robot that speaks to the audience. You can find all of the Ford-sponsored family fun in the South Hall, but be prepared to wait in lines for these popular activities.

Other notable family friendly exhibits are available at the Subaru display in the North Hall, with geysers erupting every hour, as well as a chance for visitors to immerse themselves in nature through a partnership with the National Park Foundation.

Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show - Animal Adoption

Animal loving family? Then check out the Adoptable Pet Exhibit, where participants are welcome to play with some adoptable puppies, all from Hopeful Tails, an animal rescue organization out of Joliet.

While in the North Hall, swing by the Chevrolet Family Area to try your hand at driving mini robot cars, experience a 4D driving simulation of your favorite GM vehicle, create and share your own personalized Chevy Trading Card, or create your own adventure story in front of a green-screen to end up with a comic-book style photo.

Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show - Simulators

Lastly, Chicago sports fans can shoot hoops on Chicago Bulls’ themed baskets with Kia, create a winning moment (inspired by the Cubs clinching the World Series title, perhaps?) at the Honda exhibit, and take pictures with SO MANY Chicago sports themed cars and trucks throughout both halls of the Chicago Auto Show.

Just about every exhibit has a driving simulator, too, so you can start those driving lessons early!


Looking for a way to keep kids busy on the President’s Day holiday from school on Monday, February 17th?  Then visit the Chicago Auto Show for their “Family Day.” There are special programs and activities set up to engage and entertain kids of all ages and abilities. Check out this list for an updated schedule of Family Day Events.

For more ways to bust boredom this winter, check out this list of family-friendly activities for Chicagoland families.

Family Guide to the Chicago Auto Show

Enjoy the Auto Show!


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