Rainy Day Fun in Chicagoland

It’s raining, it’s pouring…but that doesn’t mean that your day has to be boring!  Check out our top picks for places for rainy day fun in Chicagoland!

If you are up for a little bit of splashing in puddles, watching nature react to water, and taking a break in a dry and fun place to play, then the River Trails Nature Center, Friendship Park Conservatory, and the Hamill Family Play Zoo at Brookfield Zoo are for you.  Pull on your galoshes, put on your raincoats, and bust out the umbrellas.  Getting wet is tons of fun, right?  Well, as long as you avoid all of the mud, of course.

Want some quiet time on this rainy day?

Then get lost in some great books.  If your schedule allows, catch a performance by The Storybook Mom or if you need something at a more independent pace, go on a Chicagoland Library crawl.  You can also visit one of our favorite bookstores and spend an hour or two playing, reading, and learning.

Have lots of energy to burn off? 

Then work up a sweet at some of these suburban gems for kids with TONS of energy. Many even offer discounted play times, too! And don’t forget about the “promise to get your kids to bed early” gem, Brooklyn Boulders

Feeling creative?

Then head over to Gather and let your imagination take over as you create a piece of artwork, engage in songs, and much more.  You can also get handy for free the first Saturday of the month at the Home Depot!

Looking for a free way to spend the day?

Then visit two of our favorite ways to enjoy water…and fish at either ABT Electronics or Petland Adventure Aquarium.  

Is a museum calling your name?

Then head to a great off the radar spot…hot dog lovers will love the interactive nature of the Chicago History Museum and butterfly and bug lovers will LOVE the mix of tranquility and adventure at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Kids of all ages will love the DuPage Children’s Museum or the Kohl’s Children’s Museum.

Want to stay at home and have a great time?

Then peruse our popular suggestions for screen free activities, sensory play, and of course, the Ultimate Book List!

Oh, and don’t forget to make a delicious heartwarming meal to survive the gloomy day!

Enjoy the rainy day!


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  1. Donna Ward says

    Hi Amanda, Rainy days can be fun – you sure have reminded us! Great things to do and what a little cutie to do them with – You have given so many various ideas my favorite would be the…well, each one! 🙂

  2. CourtneyLynne says

    Looks like you know all the right things to do when it rains!!!! I miss living in bigger areas because museums use to be my favorite past time for a rainy or cold day! Always something new to learn.

    • amandasimkin says

      I’m sure you can find some off the radar things in your area, too. We spend lots of gross days at our favorite pet shop. SO fun!

  3. Jeanine says

    How fun! Looks like you know what to do in the rain. We don’t really get out much when it rains. But a museum would be a superb idea. I wish we had a vehicle to go out in the rain but we take transit so we try to avoid going out! Looks like you will be having a blast even on rainy days!

  4. Melissa says

    This looks like so much fun! I love splashing through puddles like this, even though I’m not a kid anymore. Right now I’m searching for the perfect pair of rainbows to splash in.

  5. Amanda Young says

    I wish I could go to Chicago! Seem like you guys found some fun things to do when it rains. It rained all day here today and we just stayed inside, I will have to look into what we can do here in OKC on rainy days too! THanks!

  6. michele d says

    It’s here in Florida right now. My kids think that the world is ending when it rains here. haha I always enjoy the change from the heat.

  7. Kori Tomelden says

    I love going to museums on rainy days, especially if there’s a good children’s museum in the area. And when it’s not raining too heavily, staying outdoors really isn’t that bad. Plus, there’s less of a crowd depending on where you’re going.

  8. Rosey says

    We have a new aquarium close to us that I’d love to go check out. My son hasn’t seen one since he was too little to remember, so I think it would be a fun day out.

  9. Melissa says

    I love all of these ideas, sadly when we lived there we only visited a few of these. If we make it back for a visit I will have to bookmark this page to refer back to for activities while we are there, sounds fun!

  10. Erin Kennedy says

    I love Chicago, It has been about 8 years since I have been, and I never saw any of the places you talked about. I have been meaning to get back there and I will have to bring your list with me. Love raining days like this.

  11. Yona Williams says

    There are certainly a lot of things for the kiddies to do in Chicago. I haven’t fully explored the area, but I think my nephew and I would love to check out the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum if we ever visit together.

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