Anyone have this new creature living in their house called a teenager?! Me too!! I have two of them, actually! And I’ve found that entertaining them requires a whole new level of thinking and creativity. Thankfully, Chicagoland is filled with unique experiences for teens. Whether you’re looking for an activity that you can enjoy together as a family, or just for them and a few friends, we have all sorts of inspiration for you.
Unique Experiences for Teens in Chicagoland
Fly High with Indoor Skydiving
Teens are pretty darn fearless with an added snippet of overconfidence, making them the perfect candidates for skydiving indoors. iFLY Indoor Skydiving is a newer trend for thrill-seeking teens that involves a 1.5-2 hour body flight experience that feels like you are floating on air. There are locations in Naperville, Rosemont and Chicago (Lincoln Park).
Totally Awesome Treetop Adventures
An adventurous activity set in the great outdoors. Go Ape in Western Springs has From long ziplines, giant Tarzan swings, and more on a 2–3 hour treetop adventure through the Bemis Woods Forest Preserve. A great bonding activity for families, and teens 16 and older can also do this with friends, no parent supervision required. Annie wrote a super helpful review about Go Ape that provides additional details/tips!
Incredible Outdoor Adventure Park
The Forge: Lemont Quarries offers rock climbing, ropes courses, ziplines, paddlesports, laser tag, mountain biking and more for teens who thrive on physical activity. We’ve got the inside scoop with all the best tips on visiting The Forge! There’s even an outdoor restaurant on site with picturesque views to wind down after your teen’s day of fun at The Forge.
The Most Excellent Escape Rooms
Another trendy activity that is not only loved by teens, but great for families, too, are escape rooms! If you’re not familiar, escape rooms require keen problem solving skills combined with incredible teamwork, as small groups work together to solve interactive scenario-based games within a given time limit. Teens who loves a good puzzle will especially like this activity, and there are loads of escape rooms all over the Chicago suburbs.
Outstanding Over-The-Top Treats
Maybe thrills, adventures, and games aren’t up your teen’s alley . . . how about a sugar-high extravaganza? I know mine would wholeheartedly answer with a yes, please! Think milkshakes, sundaes and other treats, piled high with all the favorite sweet accompaniments! This is a newer trend, and boy, do we have an awesome list for these over-the-top treats!
The Coolest Destination Restaurants
Eating out at a fun place never goes out of style, even for teens! Great food and ambiance can go a long way in the eyes of a teen, so have fun exploring one of the many destination restaurants in Chicagoland together. From a rock & roll vibe at the Hard Rock Cafe to fabulous fondue at The Melting Pot, there are so many cool spots that teens will most certainly enjoy.
The Incredible Immersive Van Gogh
For the teen art enthusiast, or the teen who at least has an appreciation for art, the Immersive Van Gogh Chicago is a unique experience. An incredibly innovative way to experience Vincent Van Gogh’s art, as his work is projected in animation with captivating music and lighting as the backdrop. Such a wonderful exhibition to take advantage of with the family while it’s here in Chicago!
Go Biking on Beautiful Trails
There are some really beautiful bike trails all over the area that are great for long bike rides with teens! Some lovely scenery and outdoor exercise. What a great way to spend time in nature as a family or for teens to explore with friends! Pack a picnic, do some fishing, maybe even catch a waterfall or two.
Cool Off at the Beach or Water Park
As a family or with friends, having a carefree beach day is always a teen favorite! Soak up the sun, swim, play some frisbee/volleyball, and just chill. Water parks can add a little more excitement to the mix! Either option, for beach/waterpark fun, can be just the perfect activity for teen happiness.
Fabulous Cooking Classes for Foodies
Whether your teen just loves food and has some interest in cooking more, or already has a good deal of experience in the kitchen, there are fabulous cooking classes all around Chicagoland to enhance those culinary skills! What a unique experience for them to have on their own, with a parent or a friend.
Accelerate in a Go-Kart or Play Some Games
Entertainment centers have all kinds of games, go-karting, laser tag, and more! Head to our article about game rooms to get all kinds of ideas for locations to try.
Head to Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park has rock climbing in the summer, the skating ribbon in the winter, and is surrounded by other places to visit. Chicago Athletic Association has snacks and free games, such as bocce ball and table shuffle board, Chicago Cultural Center is always free and has exhibits to see, and who doesn’t enjoy taking a photo at the bean!
Blue Man Group
The famous guys in blue put on a good show! Your teens will enjoy the music, jokes, and antics of the Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre.
Mini Golf at an Art Museum
Elmhurst Art Museum commissioned artists to create a 9-hole miniature golf course inside the museum. Each hole is unique and thought-provoking. Click here to read Annie’s review.
Bend Your Mind at the Museum of Illusions
Test the ways you think with puzzles and illusions at the Museum of Illusions in Chicago! There are plenty of cool photo ops and all around interesting conversation starters.
Aim for the Bullseye and Try Archery
Have some favorite activities and destinations that your teens love? Let us know in the comments! And for more fun things to do with your family, check out our outdoor fun page.