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. So if you’re looking for “things for teens to do near me,” you’ve come to the right place!
Thankfully, the Chicagoland area is full of really cool outings to entertain this special age group. 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.
Experience Immersive Art and Innovative Exhibits
For the teen who appreciates the beauty in art, immersive art experiences are not only a lovely change of scenery, but also incredibly Instagram-worthy spots! Check out our list on New Exhibits and Immersive Experiences for all the inspiration and be sure to take special note of the Color Factory (pictured above), where you can traipse through installations by local artists, pluck candy-colored macarons from a rotating conveyor belt, and toss handfuls of Chicago-flag-colored confetti through the air — yippee! The WNDR Museum is a great spot for teens, too.
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 locations around Chicagoland in Naperville, Rosemont, or Lincoln Park.
Adventure Through the Treetops
An adventurous teen activity with the great outdoors as your backdrop awaits at Go Ape in Western Springs. Teens will be delighted by the long ziplines and giant Tarzan swings along a 2–3 hour treetop adventure through the Bemis Woods Forest Preserve. This is an ideal bonding activity for families, and teens 16+ can do it with friends, no parent supervision required! Our review about Go Ape offers some great tips, too.
Enjoy an Adventure Park in the Great Outdoors
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.
Solve Puzzles Together at 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.
Partake in Sweet 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!
Take in a Beautiful 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 another Insta-worthy backdrop, but that dose of fresh air truly lifts the spirits. Pack a picnic and take a drive to one of these spots in and around the Chicagoland area.
Not to Miss: More Sugar Rush Fun
The Museum of Ice Cream is basically a giant playground centered around all things ice cream! With an ice cream lab, carnival themed room and even mini-golf sprinkled throughout, there’s so much to see and do for ice-cream lovin’ teens. Check out our helpful review for the inside scoop.
Visit 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 something truly different? Try igloo dining. 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. And, you can easily catch a waterfall or go kayaking/fishing as an easy combo when hitting the trails! If the weather turns rainy, no worries — bring the outdoors in and venture through a conservatory.
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.
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! And, you can find our extensive list of mini-golf spots here, including Puttshack, a fun indoor option. Top Golf is another unique golf experience.
Play Paintball or Airsoft
Is your teen wanting a competitive outdoor adventure? Then paintball is where it’s at! We have typically only done paintball for a friend’s birthday party, but there are also open play and walk-in opportunities to play too. So whether your teen wants to go with a group or go solo and meet new people, we have all the paintball options near you with pricing so you can see your options.
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. Find more nearby ice rinks here!
Blue Man Group
Those guys in blue never fail to put on a good show with music, jokes, and a playful performance by the Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre. This is 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! This is 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
Immersive 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 of this neat immersive video game experience.
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! There are tons of gyms all over Chicago and the suburbs where teens can reach new heights.
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. Think of it as an adventure where teams work together to complete challenges that are hidden behind every door. You can get a preview of the experience from our review of Mish Mash.
Hop on a Horse and Go for Ride
Have an animal loving teen? Horseback riding is the perfect activity! It’s just another way to get a little fresh air and there are lots of trails nearby to explore. Danada Equestrian Center is just one example where teens can not only see/ride horses, but also picnic with friends or simply play a game of frisbee. And volunteering at an animal shelter would also be a great experience for teens who love animals.
Go Old School with Bowling or Roller Skating
Roller skating and bowling never disappoint. These are classically fun ideas that never get old no matter what the age, and are extra fun to do with a friend or two! They’re especially good ideas for when the weather is not cooperating and relatively low cost, too!
Explore a New Skill with a Class
There are many great classes out there for teens to dabble with different skills! Cooking, drama, music, vocal or dance classes are all wonderful artsy choices for this age group! There are always soccer, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics and tennis lessons, too, for your more physical teen. Strength, discipline and self-defense methods sound more enticing? Then, martial arts and ninja classes are your best bet! And if your tween/teen is in need of finding his/her inner peace? Well, yoga is perfect for that!
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!