Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago Family To-Dos

On Memorial Day weekend, you get a bonus day to remember those who served in the military—and also have a brilliant time with the family. Plan ahead with our list of must-dos. You can be patriotic at the downtown parade, attend a street fest, see butterflies flutter at Chicago Botanic Garden, catch fireworks at Navy Pier and more. Read on and march on for ideas on how to spend Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago.

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Parades & Street Fests

Downtown Memorial Day Parade & Wreath Laying Ceremony

Share with your kids the importance of honoring and remembering the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the armed forces. Join friends and neighbors for the Wreath Laying Ceremony, Sat., May 28, 11 a.m. on Daley Plaza (Dearborn & Washington Streets). Then head south to State St. for the parade. More details.

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival


Celebrate the beginning of summer in Chicago at the 37th annual Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, May 28 & 29. This fest kicks off Chicago’s iconic summer fest season with a weekend packed full of local and national talent. In addition to great music, you’ll find wine and beer stations, food stalls and vendors selling products from local artisans. More details.

Rockin’ in the Park in Rosemont

Rosemont’s Parkway Bank Park entertainment district will celebrate Memorial Day with a free concert in the park. Sit back and enjoy music from Hi Infidelity, grab some food and stay for a musical fireworks display to cap off the evening. More details

Fun under the big top with Circus Vazquez

Circus Vazquez will present an awe-inspiring, death-defying, hilarious and affordable circus experience under the big top all weekend at North Riverside Mall. More details


Start off the season with a bang

Catch the fireworks at Navy Pier for the first time in the summer 2022 season. The dazzling show is the perfect way to end a fun-filled day in the city. More details.

Friendly Family Competition

Have old-school fun with mini golf

Stop by one of the many mini-golf courses to brush up on your putting skills and test your luck at getting past the amusing obstacles. There’s even a special Pixar-themed pop-up at Navy Pier. Don’t let your kids beat you! More details.


Swoon at Morton Arboretum’s stunning sculptures

Five massive outdoor sculptures created exclusively for Morton Arboretum rise above the natural landscapes in the Human + Nature exhibition. The 15- to 26-foot-tall sculptures are installed across the 1,700-acre site and lead guests to areas they may not otherwise explore. Using thought-provoking human forms paired with elements of nature, each piece will bring attention to the deep connections between humans and nature. More details.

Stop to smell the blooms

Immerse yourself in a habitat filled with hundreds of winged beautifies and pretty petals at Chicago Botanic Garden’s new Butterflies and Blooms exhibit. More details.

Head back to the Ice Age

Brookfield Zoo’s Ice Age Giants intros kids to giants that roamed during the Ice Age using 30 life-sized animatronic recreations. Kids can see a 15-foot-tall woolly mammoth, an oafish 20-foot-long giant ground sloth, a 12-foot-tall giant bird, a fearsome 5-foot-long saber-toothed cat and more. Adding to the lifelike effects, parts of the animals such as the head, eyes, mouth, and tail move. More details

Museum of Science & Industry’s the Art of Brick

MSI’s The Art of Brick features intriguing works of art made exclusively from LEGO bricks. The collection of creative and inspiring pieces was created by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. More details

Amusement Parks

Make it a thrill-seeking kind of weekend

Six Flags is the Midwest’s largest theme park featuring over 45 rides, shows and attractions. Feel the exhilaration of pulse-pounding coasters or have a chill day on gentle rides geared toward the tots. More details.

Sprinkle Christmas into your Memorial Day

Part nostalgic theme park (hello, Tilt-a-Whirl) and part petting zoo (aww, look, it’s baby deer), Santa’s Village Azoosment Park is open for the season and ready to dazzle with rides that looked ripped out of a retro movie and creatures galore. More details.


Theatre Shows & Movies

Go headfirst into the rabbit hole with Lookingglass Alice

Lookingglass Alice takes kids on a circus-infused trip down the rabbit hole. This signature Lookingglass production has toured the country enchanting audiences, painted each time with a fresh coat of magic. The awe-inspiring production has come back home to Lookingglass Theatre for a new generation to discover. More details

Winnie the Pooh at Mercury Theatre

Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Stage Adaptation introduces kids to Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their best friends Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl (and, Tigger too!). This fresh stage adaptation is told with impressive life-size puppetry, telling exciting new stories of iconic characters loved for generations. More details.

Movie under the stars with ChiTown Movies

Watch a movie old-school-style under the stars in your car at ChiTown Movies. Order popcorn, tacos, wings, pizza, kids meals and more to be delivered to your car from the ChiTown Grille. More details.

Rooftop movie date night with Rootop Cinema Club

Emily Hotel in Fulton Market has transformed into an open-air cinema for the summer. While they do play family-friendly movies, this weekend is all about the date night with movies like The Great Gatsby, Scream, 10 Things I Hate About You and Love & Basketball. More details

Water Play

Cruise Chicago’s waterways

Learn a bit of city and architectural history and take in a whole lotta gorgeous views cruising Lake Michigan and Chicago River. From finding the best seat for Navy Pier’s fireworks to cruises that let you bring your pup, we have a boat cruise for you. More details.

Step inside one of Chicago’s iconic drawbridges

The McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum takes you inside a Chicago drawbridge, where you’ll see firsthand all the large and small gears that so elegantly lift our iconic bridges. This five-floor museum located in a bridge tower also features educational exhibits and Chicago’s one and only fish hotel. The hotel is a floating garden that provides rest and a safe harbor for sunfish, bluegills, carp and other finned friends. More details.

Get Physical

Find your favorite bike trail

Let’s live every nice-weather day to the fullest, shall we? On the top of the list, dust off those bikes, grease the chains, strap on a brain bucket and get those legs pumping on a bike path. From the shores of Lake Michigan to the furthest reaches of the suburbs, Chicago is full of spots to cycle as a family. More details


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