20 Exciting Things to Do in Downtown Chicago for Teens

Chicago, also known as the Windy City, has major offerings for both local communities and visitors. The city is well-known for its skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, tall buildings, excellent bridges, fun attractions for teens, and more. Downtown Chicago, called The Loop, also offers fun things to do. With its dynamic architecture and urban vibe, downtown Chicago is a perfect place to have fun activities for teens. 

Whether you savor the signature restaurants, attend outstanding events, take adventurous tours, or enjoy free admission attractions, downtown Chicago welcomes you to get a kick out of every moment. A wide range of exciting things to do is always available. Find out some fascinating and fun things to do in downtown Chicago for teens. 

1. Enjoy Rides & Games at Navy Pier

chicago teens downtown
Source: navy pier

Navy Pier never fails to present fun things to do for teens in the heart of downtown Chicago. It would be best if you tried some iconic attractions, like the Centennial Wheel, Carousel, Drop Tower, and more. Get high on the great Centennial Wheel. Experience 360-degree and unparalleled scenery of the Lake Michigan and Chicago skyline. Let’s soar to the heights of nearly 200 feet. Of course, the attraction brings you miraculous city displays and an unforgettable experience. It is a perfect venue for teens to spend the night.

Enjoy another fun attraction at the Navy Pier, the exclusive Carousel. It offers delightful sophistication with a legendary ride. The Drop Tower should also be in your hand. Challenge yourself to have a thrilling experience of a G-force launch.

2. See Chicago Shakespeare Theater

chicago teens downtown

Located on Chicago’s iconic attraction, Navy Pier, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a world-class theater company. The theater offers productions of family programming, new artwork, and classics to unlock the works of Shakespeare. See and enjoy the theater if you are into his glorious works. 

More than 225,000 attendees have experienced the leading performances. Be a part of them and empower yourself to have the next level of literacy. The theaters are totally beneficial for teens in Chicago since they engage creative minds and cultural champions. Choose from top-notch performers, including The Yard, Thoma Theater Upstairs, Jentes Family Courtyard Theater, and more. You also get an excellent opportunity to meet community members that connect with them. 

3. Relax at the Offshore Rooftop

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Source: navy pier

Navy Pier is a happening venue with tons of attractions for teens in downtown Chicago, including the Offshore Rooftop. Enjoy an exceptional dining experience at the biggest rooftop venue in the United States. While savoring the authentic foods and beverages, you can get unmatched and panoramic views of the city skyline and Lake Michigan. It offers a totally outstanding view like no other. 

The world-class kitchen and luxurious bars are always available to drink in and eat up. The rooftop also comes with lively settings like a gaming area, entertainment lounge, fire pits, and vast meeting spaces for weddings, corporate events, private parties, and more. How about the cuisine? Don’t worry. The leading Executive Chef, Michael Shrader, is on hand to serve the best dining and drinks in downtown Chicago.

4. Devour Sandwhices at Rink Cafe Maggie Daley Park.

chicago teens downtown
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Placed between Millennium Park and the Lakeshore, you can spend your day at Maggie Daley Park. The 20-acre inviting park is perfect for gathering and tasting the city’s most delicious sandwiches. A selection of signature sandwiches is up for grabs. Whether you find a plain hot dog, a chili cheese dog, a cheeseburger, or a hamburger, bite into the upscale sandwiches at Maggie Daley Park.

You can also eat all the other items on the menu, such as popcorn, cookies, and ice cream. Get a taste of the authentic beverages, from ice to hot drinks. Everything you need is well prepared in the cafe. Besides serving the best menus, the park also features a great rock-climbing wall, skating ribbons, and a vast playground. The park is dedicated to all ages, including teens in Chicago, to spend the day without exception.

5. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

chicago teens downtown

The Art Institute of Chicago is the city’s best museum, with versatile artworks located in downtown Chicago. It is one of the most-visited attractions in Chicago teens downtown. Whether you adore impressionist or post-impressionist collections of artwork, devote your time to the beauty and power of art. The legendary paintings by leading artists like van Gogh and Monet are available to explore. 

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Feel free to delve into more than 300,000 artworks from around the world, including the arts of the Americas, Africa, Japan, Ancient Greece, and more. The museum offers a wide range of contemporary masterpieces from the Byzantine period to the modern era. The museum represents all different continents and cultures in one venue. Get a membership to get discounted admission, parking, and store items, including unlimited visitation and special events.

6. Explore Masterpieces at Field Museum

chicago teens downtown

Another exciting thing to do in downtown Chicago for teens is exploring the collections at the Field Museum. Located on the city’s recognizable attraction, Lake Michigan shore, let’s have a natural history journey across time by exploring the masterpieces at the Field Museum. It is a perfect place to allocate your time with significant excitement.

Top-notch exhibitions are ready to explore. Whether you scrutinize ancient artifacts or delve into the extraordinary history, the museum allows you to look into the engaging collections. Get ready to meet with an enormous T-Rex skeleton, Egyptian mummies, and other masterpieces. Call your family to enrich the unforgettable experience of the Field Museum.

7. Enjoy live music at Jay Pritzker Pavilion

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Get close to Millennium Park to have a good time. One of its iconic venues, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, always offers various significant events for teens throughout the year. The venue comes with more than 11,000 seating areas. Whether you enjoy the live music in front of the stage or the Great Lawn, enjoy the venue to make your day. 

With its vast park area, unique stage, and bright sound system, you will get the best live music show in the country. Some leading annual festivals, like Gospel Fest, Grant Park Music Festival, and more, occur at the venue. Best of all, the music performances are totally free to enjoy. Get comfortable seating and bring your appetites before and during the performance.

8. Take your best selfie at Millennium Park

chicago teens downtown

When you stay in downtown Chicago, don’t miss seeing the exceptional venues at Millennium Park. It is a perfect time to keep your moments by taking the best selfie. Most locals recommend the Cloud Gate as the most beautiful spot to capture a selfie. If you are crazy about unique photography, head to the remarkable venue at Millenium Park. 

The venue comes with a polished sculpture that reflects the surrounding green space, skyline, the Michigan Avenue lights, and the people around the park. That is why The Beans is the most chosen spot to take a picture by locals or most visitors. Don’t miss capturing your beautiful moment under the largest and unique sculpture in the city.

9. Ice skate at Millennium Park

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The Millennium Park never stops providing the best attractions for teens throughout the year. During the winter, Millennium Park is accessible for anyone who wants to ice skate. Glide along on the ice skating in the shadow of The Bean and the illumination of Michigan Avenue. The two primary ice rinks are always available to the public, McCormick Tribune and Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

Surrounded by pine trees and inviting snow, you can spend your wintertime having fun. Admission is free. However, you are encouraged to have reservations before. What if I don’t have skates? Don’t worry! The skate rentals are always on deck. Invite your friend to experience the sophistication of ice skating.

10. Have fun at the Escape Room

chicago teens downtown

Elevate your moods by playing the Escape Room game. It is a fantastic game for teens, offering enigmatic scenes. Let’s experience a live 60-minute play with splendid themes. Begin the game by choosing your preferred theme, from prison escape to Mars Mission. Feel free to pick the best theme with your peers. All you need is to work together to discover the clues, solve the puzzles, and finish the missions.

If you are looking for a memorable activity for teens, the Escape Room game is the answer. Call your friends to enjoy the game altogether. All themes serve up to 8 players. It is a superb opportunity to experience an uncommon live mini-adventure in one breath. It not only finishes the mission but also levels up friendships.

11. Go to Grant Park Music Festival

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Source: choosechicago

If you are into all genres of music, let’s head to the Grant Park Music Festival. Held at Millennium Park, you are free to enjoy the great lineup of outdoor classical music performances. It is a perfect venue for teens in downtown Chicago. Whether you love listening to beautiful symphonies or watching the chorus and choir performances, the festival brings you an engaging opportunity in downtown Chicago. Be sure to tune in to the world-class classical arrangements by Mozart, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Hayd, and more.

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Come and see the nation’s outstanding classical live concert. Of course, it will rejuvenate your mood during and after the show. Accessible seats are available on the Great Lawn or beyond the stage. All the classical concerts are free with admission. Feel free to revel in the Grant Park Music Festival.

12. Join Big Bus Tour

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Source: bigbustour

Are you looking for fun things to do in downtown Chicago for teens? Let’s explore the Windy City by taking Chicago Bug Tours. You are free to hop on and hop off at the city’s iconic landmarks and famous buildings as you please. The tour is a perfect way to delve deep into the introduction of Chicago from the top deck. Whether you take night bus tours or join day tours, you get an opportunity to adore the cityscape as well as the skyscrapers surrounding the city.

Interactive commentary is also available to give the participants clear information about the history and culture of Chicago. The tour starts from the bus stops near the landmarks and attractions of Chicago, including the Wilis Tower, Grant Park, Adler Planetarium, Navy Pier, the Mag Mile, and more. Get your tickets and enjoy sightseeing in Chicago.

13. Dine in Girl and the Goat Chicago 

chicago teens downtown
Source: girlandthegoat

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, get a taste of the dining experience at Girl and the Goat. It is a well-known restaurant serving global flavors, fresh cocktails, and more. The eatery is available for any purpose, especially for teens celebrating special occasions. Whether you gather with your peers or hold an unforgettable birthday party, the Girl and the Goat is a perfect place to eat up. 

Let’s start your dining journey by tasting the signature menus. You can savor the goat empanadas, offering the smoked goat mixed with pippara and idiazabal cheese. An array of irresistible menus are on hand to taste. Authentic drinks, including ciders, cocktails, beer, wines, and more, are also available. You can get to the restaurant without making any reservations. However, it is better to reverse the tables before. 

14. Eat at SoJu BBQ

chicago teens downtown
Source: SoJuBBQ

Soju BBQ is Chicago’s leading Korean restaurant for teens located in downtown Chicago, offering signature foods and authentic drinks. Whether you find spicy appetizers or taste a delicious selection of BBQ, the Korean eatery is so welcoming. It is also a splendid venue to gather or celebrate special occasions. Hold personal events at the restaurant. With its strategic location, lively settings, and warm atmosphere, you will get a more enjoyable dining experience by tasting the great BBQ in Chicago. 

Don’t miss the authentic Korean sauces, bringing you to the next level of Korean food. You can purchase Sweet Joy Ginger Sauce or Gochujang Spicy Sauce to flavor your handmade foods. Invite your family or peers to have a special dining sophistication at the SoJu BBQ.

15. Lunch at the Signature Room

chicago teens downtown
Source: signatureroom

Get a dining experience in downtown Chicago by having lunch at the Signature Room. It is the nation’s most fabulous panoramic restaurant, offering shoreline views and a panoramic skyline with authentic menus. Located at the John Hancock Center, the eatery provides the best dining experience for teens from more than 1,000 feet above the ground. Savor signature menus while overlooking the cityscape and skyline from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Of course, it is a fantastic thing to do in Chicago teens downtown.

Don’t sleep on tasting the raw bar menus, including the seafood tower, jumbo shrimp cocktail, raw bar for two, and more. You can also savor its main course selections, from roasted chicken to spiced braised short ribs. The best drinks are also available to accompany your chance at the Signature Room.

16. Revel in Chicago Cycleboat

chicago teens downtown
Source: chicagocycleboat

Have you ever tried the newest Chicago offering? Let’s experience Chicago’s first Cycleboat bringing you to the next level of adventure. The Chicago cycleboat is one of the outstanding destinations for teens in Chicago to visit. The venue provides economic, recreational, and ecological benefits to the city. Spend your time enjoying the perfect attraction in the summer.

The Cycleboat is available for up to 26 participants. Of course, it will be the extraordinary things to do in Chicago teens downtown. Feel free to invite your peers to have unforgettable moments. The boat departs from the Riverwalk. Get panoramic views of the city, including historical bridges, glorious skyscrapers, and a lively atmosphere. Book the seat and call your friends to take a joyride by pedaling the boat in one breath.

17. Get wet at Urban Kayak

chicago teens downtown
Source: Chicago.gov

It would be best if you didn’t miss a challenging opportunity to kayak on the Chicago River. With the first-rate services, fresh open air, and panoramic backgrounds, you can spend an engaging and fun time. Get the scenic cityscape from spectacular angles. Kayaking on the Chicago River not only promotes your health but also releases your stress. It is a perfect way to have a fun activity for teens in Chicago after busy school days.

You are free to take the Historic Chicago Tour or the Sunset Tour. By choosing the Historic Chicago Tour, you will have access to unique urban environments in Chicago. When the sun goes down, it is also the best time for kayaking. The sunset kayak tour brings you a different atmosphere. See the golden glow of the sunset while kayaking on the river.

18. Delight in Art on theMart

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Source: artonthemart

Let’s enjoy the nightlife in Chicago by enjoying Art on theMart. It is the world’s largest digital art projection. The contemporary artwork is easy to see. Whether you view from Franklin Street, Wells Street, Wacker Drive, or the section of Chicago Riverwalk, feel free to adore the contemporary artwork.

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The projections run from 9:00 PM to 9.30 PM. An array of projected artworks presents exceptional shows. Explore the projection art by top-notch artists, including Jonas Denzel, Nick Cave, and more. Plan your visit and invite your peers to spend the night at the Chicago Riverwalk.

19. Admire contemporary exhibits at the Chicago Public Art 

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Source: secretchicago

Located on the Chicago Riverwalk, the Chicago Public Art collections are accessible to all. You can admire more than 500 artworks along the public pedestrian path. With the beautiful scenery of architectural skyscrapers, explore the permanent outdoor public art. Some glorious exhibits like Allium, Echo Hecho Fresco, Vietnam Veteran Memorial, and more are on deck to be probed.

Don’t miss stopping by the Radiance of Being exhibit. It is an excellent spot if you are into murals. Designed by the lead artist, Kate Lynn Lewis, the exhibit offers incredible murals with its illustrative style and unique motive scene. Delve into the other shows for a thrilling experience of the contemporary outdoor arts.

20. Be a captain at Chicago Electric Boat company

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Located on the Chicago Riverwalk, get an experience of the city’s best river tour. The Chicago Electric Boat Company belongs to the world-premiere tour, delivering full enjoyment on board. Take the opportunity to be a captain of the boat. By owning a valid driver’s license and watching short tutorials, you are free to rent an electric boat. 

Free up your cruise plan by choosing your preferred docks on the Chicago Riverwalk, boat size, cruise length, date, and time. Personalize your cruise based on your own needs and preferences. You have a chance to cruise along the Chicago Rivers and enjoy the architectural skyscrapers and buildings on your own river tour. Call your family to have the monumental river tour like no other for more sophistication.

Latest Posts:

What is downtown Chicago known for?

Downtown Chicago is a well-known central area with popular offerings, including skyscrapers, iconic landmarks, tall buildings, excellent bridges, fun attractions, and more. It is a perfect area for teens to delve deep into history and Chicago in a fun way.

Is Chicago downtown safe?

Downtown Chicago is safe for travel, especially during the day, as the city has more population across the streets. It has impacted safety. However, some crimes, mostly pickpocketing, are undeniable. It would help if you were careful during your trip. 

Is it safe to walk downtown Chicago at night?

Downtown Chicago is entirely safe to walk around at night. Nevertheless, you should avoid walking around solo. Invite your peers or family to accompany you, enjoying the inviting attractions at night. Don’t hesitate to ask the locals or police officers if you get confused.

What makes Chicago so cool?

Chicago comes with outstanding offerings for visitors of all ages, including excellent architecture, fantastic food, lively music scenes, vigorous attractions, and iconic landmarks. Don’t miss visiting Windy City with its wide range of offerings. 

Suzy Prichard

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