Family-Friendly Chicago Vacation Ideas - United Hub
Places

Family friendly cities: Chicago fun

By Bob Cooper, August 09, 2017

For kids in today's hyper-digital world, boredom comes easily. But a city vacation is a perfect remedy, and Chicago, where most family attractions are withing walking distance, is one of the best U.S. cities to consider visiting. The kids won't get bored, nor will you, because there's more to do on a family-friendly Chicago vacation than there are grains of sand on Chicago's beaches. (The beaches are just one more reason to go).

Lakefront beaches

No, it's not the ocean. But your teenager can try stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Michigan (there are several rental shops) while younger ones construct a good ol' sandcastle, all while mom and dad play beach volleyball, take a swim or bronze on the beach. Twenty four free beaches line Chicago's 26-mile shoreline, most of them named for the streets that end at the water. The seven-mile string of North Side beaches that are part of Lincoln Park, the city's largest, are the most popular, especially side-by-side Oak Street and North Avenue Beaches, with less crowded beaches farther north.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Coco Chanel once said, “The best things in life are free. The second-best things are very, very expensive." Fortunately, the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the best things. You won't even have to pay peanuts to enter the primate house. Other favorite stops include the lion house, a reptile house, an arctic tundra area (polar bears!), a penguin cove, a seal pool and the new macaque forest. New to the Farm-in-the-Zoo are American Guinea Hog piglets that were born in June. Check the Daily Activity Calendar for feeding times.

Navy Pier

To celebrate its 100th year in 2016, Navy Pier unveiled the new Centennial Wheel, a 196-foot-high Ferris wheel affording spectacular views from air-conditioned gondolas. It's the biggest of several new additions on the massive pier, but old favorites also remain, like the hand-painted carousel. Also on the pier: the Wave Swinger, Light Tower ride and climbing walls for young thrill seekers; an array of sightseeing boats that venture out onto Lake Michigan; and the three-story Chicago Children's Museum geared to 10-and-unders.

Chicago riverwalk

Until the 1990s, the Chicago River was filled with sewage, garbage and industrial waste—an embarrassment to the city. Now it's not only clean, it has become an attraction for visitors who stroll the riverwalk as it snakes through downtown Chicago. Kids may be bored walking past restaurants and public-art installations, but should enjoy following the river with their parents on a rented bike, surrey or kayak—or in a water taxi or sightseeing boat.

Museum campus

Clustered together on Lake Michigan are three huge family attractions, collectively called the Museum Campus. The Field Museum presents “Jurassic World: The Exhibition" through December, plus the world's largest and best-preserved T-Rex skeleton, a massive mummy collection and much, much more—nine acres of mostly interactive exhibits in all. The Adler Planetarium features several daily shows in each of its theaters—two domed space theaters and a 3D theater—in addition to astronomy exhibits. And the Shedd Aquarium's massive windows overlooking Lake Michigan help illuminate its whales, sharks, dolphins, otters, gators, penguins, tarantulas and, well, seemingly every creature on the planet that lives in or near water.

If you go

United Airlines has more than 500 daily flights from the hub city of Chicago from dozens of cities, and MileagePlus Rewards can help pay for your car rental and a family-friendly hotel room once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your family-friendly Chicago vacation.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

youtu.be

Scroll to top