20 Unique Things for Teens to Do in Chicagoland

Outdoor Places to Go

If you are looking for “things for teens to do near me”, you came to the right place! As parents of teens, we need to shift our mindset when it comes to family fun in order to find unique, new experiences that are appealing to them. Thankfully, the Chicagoland area is full of really cool outings to entertain this special breed!. From activities that you can enjoy together as a family to ideas that your teens can do with a handful of friends, we have unique ideas for you.

Unique Experiences for Teens in Chicagoland

Experience Magnificent Art at the Immersive Monet

For the teen who can appreciate beautiful art, the Immersive Monet in Chicago is a truly unique experience. An incredibly innovative way to experience Monet’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! Be sure to also check out our list on New Exhibits and Immersive Experiences for more inspiration!

Take in the Beauty of a Sunflower Field

Many teens can find the benefits of some time in the great outdoors, and Sunflower Fields are a wonderful and popular outing among teens these days! Not only are they insta-worthy backdrops, but that good ol’ fresh air truly lifts the spirits! Pack a picnic and take a drive to one these spots in and around the Chicagoland area.

Fly High with Indoor Skydiving

Fearless and confident teens are the perfect candidates for skydiving indoors. iFLY Indoor Skydiving is a trend for thrill-seeking teens that involves a 1.5-2 hour body flight experience that feels like you are floating on air. Check out one of the many locations around Chicagoland in Naperville, Rosemont or Lincoln Park.

Totally Awesome Treetop Adventures

Looking for an adventurous teen activity with the great outdoors as your backdrop? At Go Ape in Western Springs, you’ll find just that, with long ziplines and giant Tarzan swings along a 2–3 hour treetop adventure through the Bemis Woods Forest Preserve. The perfect bonding activity for families, and teens 16 and older can also do this with friends, no parent supervision required! Read our review about Go Ape to learn more and get great tips!

Incredible Outdoor Adventure Park

The Forge: Lemont Quarries offers an abundance of adventure with rock climbing, ropes courses, ziplines, paddlesports, laser tag, mountain biking and more! We have all the best tips on visiting The Forge; there’s even an outdoor restaurant on site with beautiful views! Your teen is in for a full day of outdoor fun at this neat spot. Get 20% off through September 5, 2022 with the code KIDLIST20.

The Most Excellent Escape Rooms

Escape rooms have become a trendy activity that’s not only loved by teens, but wonderful for families, too! 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. Check out one of the many escape rooms all over the Chicago suburbs.

Outstanding Over-The-Top Treats

Thrills, adventures, and games aren’t up your teen’s alley? Try a sugar-high extravaganza! Spots for the ultimate in over-the-top-treats have been popping up all over Chicagoland. Get your fix of milkshakes, sundaes and other treats, piled high with all the favorite sweet accompaniments! This newer trend is sure to be at the very top of many teens’ lists!

More Sugar Rush Fun

There’s an awesome new museum in town that is sure to please ice cream lovers of all ages – the Museum of Ice Cream! This “museum” is more of a playground centered around all things ice cream – and it is without a doubt the place for teens to get their fix! With an ice cream lab, carnival themed room and even mini-golf sprinkled throughout, there’s so much fun to be had for ice-cream lovin’ teens! Check out our helpful review for the inside scoop!

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. Looking for a rock & roll vibe? Check out the Hard Rock Cafe! Some fab fondue sound more appealing? Try the Melting Pot! There’s really no end to the many cool spots that teens will most definitely enjoy.

Go Biking on Beautiful Trails

The most beautiful bike trails can be found all over Chicagoland making for our next great experience with teens! It’s nice when your kids have finally reached the age where they can truly go the distance and enjoy the lovely scenery that outdoor exercise brings. A perfect family activity – don’t forget to pack a picnic and catch a waterfall or two.

Cool Off at the Beach or Water Park

Carefree beach days in the summer months have always been a teen favorite! Time to chill in the sunshine with friends or family, simply enjoy the water, and maybe play some volleyball/frisbee. For a little more excitement, water parks are a fun destination! Whether it’s beach or waterpark fun, either option can be the perfect activity for teen happiness. Be sure to check out our helpful review on Raging Waves, one of our faves for teens!

Fabulous Cooking Classes for Foodies

Does your teen just love food, has expressed interest in cooking more, or already has a good deal of experience in the kitchen? No matter which way you slice it, there are fabulous cooking/baking classes all around Chicagoland to enhance those culinary skills! Talk about a unique experience for them to have on their own…or with a parent/friend.

Mini-Golf, Game Rooms, Arcades and More

Entertainment centers are plentiful in Chicagoland making for all kinds of choices for teen fun – think go-karting, laser tag, glow mini-golf and the like! Find the places closest to you within our game rooms list, or check out a new location! There’s a brand new mini-golf place, Pixar Putt, that will be in Chicago for a limited time – visit with your teen before it leaves town! And, our extensive list of mini-golf spots can be found here!

Head to Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park is the place to be for rock climbing in the summer and the skating ribbon in the winter. It’s also surrounded by other cool places to visit with teens. The Chicago Athletic Association has snacks and free games (bocce ball and table shuffle board,) Chicago Cultural Center is always free with neat exhibits, and there’s always the ever-popular photos by the bean!

Blue Man Group

Those guys in blue never fail to put on a good show! Your teens will surely enjoy the music, jokes, and always playful nature of the Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre. Another city spot that is in a fun neighborhood near all sorts of stuff! For example, there’s an inventive/insta-worthy restaurant just steps away that would surely appeal to teens called 2D Restaurant – an immersive and interactive place featuring mochi donuts and asian-inspired fare!

Aim for the Bullseye with Archery

Chicago Archery in Wood Dale and BowDoc Archery in Mokena both have open shooting available as well as equipment rental if you’ve been wanting to try a new skill with your teen! Definitely an activity that would be best for older kids – and fun for them to try with a small group or as a family outing. And, if they take a liking to it, they offer lessons!

Get in the Video Game

Electric Gamebox in Oak Brook invites you to experience video games in a different way with touch screen walls and sensors on your head that enable you to control the game by moving around the room. Click here for our full review.

Test Your Strength with Rock Climbing

Have you ever tried to get to the top of one of our local indoor rock climbing walls? It’s a test of endurance and strength, perfect for teens who like a challenge.

Solve Puzzles to Conquer the Room

Mish Mash Adventures is a good place for a group of teens to have some friendly competition and do all types of mental and physical challenges. You can get a preview of the experience from our review of Mish Mash.

Immerse Yourself in Color

Color Factory has gotten rave reviews by everyone on our team! Traipse through installations by local artists, pluck candy-colored macarons from a rotating conveyor belt, toss handfuls of Chicago-flag-colored confetti through the air, slide (or jump or swim) through a giant, monochromatic ball pit filled with 200,000+ serenely mint-green balls, and more.

Are there other favorite activities and destinations that your teens can’t get enough of? Let us know in the comments! For more fun things to do with your family, our outdoor fun page is always a go-to spot for fresh inspiration!

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