Megy Karydes
girl sitting on dad's shoulder

Chicago families appreciate the city's vast offerings of family-friendly activities and free year-round events to entertain their loved ones. From free admission to the Lincoln Park Zoo to weekly music, art and other types of entertainment festivals throughout the year, it's easy to find something fun to do in Chicago.

Some neighborhoods attract the stroller set and families of all ages because of their proximity to good public schools, as well as easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment options that don't require a trek into The Loop.

The Parks

Rogers Park chicago
Rogers Park

Thanks to nearby universities, Rogers Park and Hyde Park attract a multi-cultural set who appreciates diversity in their communities.

Indie coffee shops and bookstores serve up everything from live music to lively debates alongside gourmet coffee orders and baked goods meant to feed the mind and body.

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The north side neighborhoods

Lincoln Park Zoo chicago
Lincoln Park

The Andersonville, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village and Old Town neighborhoods are among a handful that boast tons of great local dining establishments, cute boutiques and beautiful tree-lined streets.

Andersonville's Swedish American Museum and Lincoln Park's Zoo are popular among children and adults alike but each of these neighborhood's close proximity to Lake Michigan also makes them attractive to families who enjoy beaches and bike trails.

The south side neighborhoods

Bridgeport chicago
Bridgeport
Photo courtesy of https://www.apartmentguide.com/apartments/Illinois/Chicago/3828-S-Emerald-Ave/LV143023669/

Bridgeport and Beverly are among some of the most family-friendly south side neighborhoods, thanks to their walkability to shops and dining establishments, as well as inventory of single-family homes. It's not unusual for locals to find their favorite local bakery or flower shop where the owner greets them by name.

The Loops

West Loop chicago
West Loop

The South Loop and West Loop neighborhoods have exploded with high rises and townhouses with extra bedrooms to accommodate the burgeoning number of families moving closer to The Loop.

What were once favored among individuals attending universities or working downtown has expanded to families with children thanks to development of bigger units with more livable space. Access to family-friendly amenities, including more grocery stores, workout facilities, new schools and a variety of dining options makes these neighborhoods appealing to those who want easy access to The Loop and not needing to rely on a car.

The best of the rest

Edgewater chicago
Edgewater

Plenty of neighborhoods throughout Chicago – like Sauganash, Garfield Ridge and Edgewater – offer families sizable backyards, garages and communities, which make it easy to get to know their neighbors thanks to summer block parties and tree-lined streets.

The opening of breweries and more dining options in these neighborhoods have made it easier to enjoy dining within walking distance as of late, too.

No matter where families live in Chicago, family-friendly options are vast and many are free to local residents. A Chicago address provides families free admission to world-class museums on special days throughout the year, a library card that can be used at any library throughout the city, free beach access and free entertainment almost every week of the year in and near downtown, as well as almost every corner of the city.

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About The Author

Megy Karydes

As a Chicago-based freelance writer, Megy Karydes has covered everything from space-aged tomato seeds grown in a Chicago Public School to Chicago Blues musician Lurrie Bell. Her work has been featured in USA Today, Travel + Leisure, Midwest Living magazine and other national and regional media outlets. When she's not out exploring the city with her two children and husband, she's perfecting her air hockey technique.

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