Gift Experiences for Chicago Kids

Prefer to have a Christmas that celebrates moments instead of things? Then check out this massive list of gift experiences for Chicago kids. This list of activities will fit just about any budget and will undoubtedly entice the jocks, the artists, and every kid in between.

Play All Day

Getting a play space punch pass is just as much a gift for the child as it is for the weary parent. Be sure to check out our favorite Chicagoland play spaces here.

Put Your Pinkies Up

A quintessential Christmas in Chicago experience, no matter your age? Tea time at the Drake hotel. With a beautiful setting and a delicious menu—even one that specifically caters to kids—you can’t go wrong. You can also try the new Table at Crate in Oakbrook for a Crate and Barrel inspired tea time.

Make a Splash

Swim lessons make a great gift because it teaches a life saving skill and keeps kids active no matter the weather. And when the water is 90 degrees, there’s no excuse to skip the swim lesson options at Big Blue Swim School.

Climb the Walls

Kids climbing the walls? Then head to Brooklyn Boulders where it is actually ENCOURAGED. Read our review of Brooklyn Boulders’ kids’ classes here.

Find a Furry Friend

Have an animal lover in your life? Then get him or her a membership to either Brookfield or Lincoln Park Zoo. Members get parking perks as well as invites to special events. I prefer a Brookfield Zoo membership because it includes free admission to my absolute FAVORITE indoor play gem—the Hamill Family Play Zoo.

Believe in Magic

Nowadays it is difficult to believe in magic, but after spending a Sunday afternoon at the Chicago Magic Lounge I guarantee your tune will change. Oh, and be sure to order some delicious snacks when you marvel at all of the mind-blowing magic.

Fall Asleep with the Fishes

Hands down my FAVORITE Chicago experience, the Asleep with the Fishes program at the Shedd Aquarium is such a unique and special event. I mean, chatting with the beluga whales while in your pajamas and sleeping with the sea turtle is a surreal experience.

Enjoy Dinner and a Show

The Marriott Lincolnshire is the perfect family-friendly spot for dinner at a show. The Marriott Theatre has high-quality, interactive children’s productions and the next door is the delicious, farm-to-table Three Embers restaurant. It is the ultimate perfect Mommy and Me date!

Get Loud—and Blue

Blue Man group is a fun and unique alternative to traditional theatre experiences. Just be sure to use the noise cancelling headphones if your little one is sensitive to noise.

Create Together

There are tons of hands-on art classes throughout Chicagoland, from schools such as Easel Art to “drop in” Paint-Your-Own-Pottery. Check out all the artistic options here.

Get Learning

Chicago is known for its world class museums, and Chicago kids are lucky because so many of these museums, such as the Museum of Science and Industry and Field Museum cater to them. Unsure which museum membership is right for you? Check out this article to help with your decision.

Which Gift Experiences for Chicago kids is YOUR favorite? Let me know in the comments! And I didn’t forget adults, either– find the perfect gift experiences for them here.

Happy Gifting!


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