Best 5 Fun Things To Do Before School Starts In Chicago

August 17, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Wayne Ward)

By Jessica Cage

The clock is ticking down: summer is almost over and nobody’s ready. Sure you may have completed your technical preparations. Maybe you have done all of your school supply shopping, picked out the perfect outfit for the first day of school and even finished that daunting list of summer readings. Before the kids return to school, bid that summer vacation the proper farewell, soaking up the last relaxing, sun-soaked days together.

willistower Best 5 Fun Things To Do Before School Starts In Chicago

(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Willis Tower Sky Deck
233 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 875-9447

Price: $11 children to age 11/$17.50 age 12 and older

A main attraction and a great part of the allure of Chicago has always been the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). People come from across the world just for the chance to stand atop the skyscraper. Open daily, the Willis Tower offers interactive exhibits for all to enjoy. Take the skylight tour, and audio/visual tour that illuminates the history of Chicago. If you are feeling especially daring, step out onto The Ledge, a glass deck on the outside of the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower. Stand over the city, and if you are really brave, look down and get a bird’s-eye view of the streets of downtown Chicago.

 Best 5 Fun Things To Do Before School Starts In Chicago

(credit: Wayne Ward)

Chicago Air and Water Show
North Avenue Beach
Chicago IL, 60614

Price: free

Coming to Chicago Aug. 18 to 19 the two-day Chicago Air and Water Show is open to the public. Bring your family and your picnic supplies and make a day of it. Watch headliners including the Blue Angels and the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs tear up the skies. Enjoy the visual display while listening to the voice of the show, Herb Hunter. He hasn’t been announcing the event for more than 20 years for his reading abilities only; he adds a flare that turns the show into something really special.

navy pier park Best 5 Fun Things To Do Before School Starts In Chicago


The Year of The Dragon Cirque Shanghai
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(800) 745-3000

Price : $15.50 to $29.50

Chicago’s very own Navy Pier features The Year of The Dragon Cirque Shanghai this summer, a daredevil group that provides an exciting display for all ages. Take in the juggling, tumbling, aerial stunts and motorcycles for an awe-inspiring day out in the city. Group tickets are available for groups 10 or more, so bring along friends and get a great deal. Take in the spectacle on a Wednesday or Saturday, and get a special treat as the Navy Pier lights up the skies with dazzling fireworks as well.

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Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Parkway
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 249-4636

Price: $61.99 at the park/$41.99 online

There may not be a better way to say farewell to those hot summer days than by screaming it at the top of your lungs while flying down the side of an awesome roller coaster. With such an amazing amusement park so close to home, no Chicagoan should ever go a summer without experiencing this thrill. Get yourself a flash pass and bypass all the long lines and long waits. Get more out of your visit, and without the wait, you get to ride even more. Test the thrill seeker inside and try out the latest addition to the park, X flight.

Related: Best Toy Stores in Chicago

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Brunswick Zone
4700 W. 103rd St.
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
(708) 425-0900

Price: $2.99 to $4.99/$3.99 shoes

After all of your thrills and entertainment, bowling offers a fun and laid back option for the whole family. At Brunswick Zone, enjoy a game of bowling, and get in some pool and arcade games as well. This is a great social event for students before school begins, especially if they have friends who might not attend the same school.

Related: Best Batting Cages in Chicago

Jessica Cage is a freelance writer from Chicago. Her work can be found at

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