Mobile Menu
23 Fun Activities in Chicago That Don't Involve Alcohol or Food
23 Fun Activities in Chicago That Don't Involve Alcohol or Food

23 Fun Activities in Chicago That Don't Involve Alcohol or Food

You’ve done a million happy hours — now it’s time to try something new!


Published August 16, 2022

When planning a hangout with friends, the first things that come to mind are grabbing drinks or meeting up at a restaurant. But Chicago has so many amazing attractions that don’t center around eating or drinking. It’s time to try something new! Check out our list of fun activities in Chicago that will keep you out of the bar!

Take a Chicago Architecture Tour

Take a Chicago Architecture Tour

Chicago was incorporated in 1837, and the rich history of the city is apparent through its many decades of interesting and significant architecture. The Chicago Architecture Center offers tours on foot, by boat, by bus, and by elevated train. You might see the city in a new way after learning what makes its buildings so special. 

For more information on Chicago Architecture Center tours.

Chicago was incorporated in 1837, and the rich history of the city is apparent through its many decades of interesting and significant architecture. The Chicago Architecture Center offers tours on foot, by boat, by bus, and by elevated train. You might see the city in a new way after learning what makes its buildings so special. 

For more information on Chicago Architecture Center tours.

Explore the Museums

Explore the Museums

No matter your interests, Chicago has a museum for you. Spend a rainy day exploring the expansive Field Museum of Natural History, see some unique memorabilia at the Chicago Sports Museum, or get a fresh perspective at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Regardless of  which incredible museum you choose, you’re sure to have a fun day — and maybe even learn something! 

For more information on Chicago’s amazing museums.

No matter your interests, Chicago has a museum for you. Spend a rainy day exploring the expansive Field Museum of Natural History, see some unique memorabilia at the Chicago Sports Museum, or get a fresh perspective at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Regardless of  which incredible museum you choose, you’re sure to have a fun day — and maybe even learn something! 

For more information on Chicago’s amazing museums.

Watch Art on theMART

Watch Art on theMART

Did you know Chicago is home to the largest permanent digital art projection in the world? From April through December, riverwalk visitors can see massive displays from local and international artists projected on theMART each night. The projections change every few months, so stop by often to see them all! 

For more information on Art on theMART.

Did you know Chicago is home to the largest permanent digital art projection in the world? From April through December, riverwalk visitors can see massive displays from local and international artists projected on theMART each night. The projections change every few months, so stop by often to see them all! 

For more information on Art on theMART.

Go to the Aquarium

Go to the Aquarium

There’s no need to put on a wetsuit to get up close and personal with some incredible deep sea creatures. Stop by the Shedd Aquarium to see some underwater wonders and learn all about their secret world. 

For more information on Shedd Aquarium.

There’s no need to put on a wetsuit to get up close and personal with some incredible deep sea creatures. Stop by the Shedd Aquarium to see some underwater wonders and learn all about their secret world. 

For more information on Shedd Aquarium.

Stroll the 606 Trail

Stroll the 606 Trail

There’s nothing quite like the 606 trail! This unique public work is an abandoned rail line turned multi-use recreation trail and park. The trail is 2.7 miles long and perfect for taking a walk, bike ride, or jog. 

For more information on The 606 Trail.

There’s nothing quite like the 606 trail! This unique public work is an abandoned rail line turned multi-use recreation trail and park. The trail is 2.7 miles long and perfect for taking a walk, bike ride, or jog. 

For more information on The 606 Trail.

Watch a Classic Film at the Music Box Theatre

Watch a Classic Film at the Music Box Theatre

If you’re a movie buff, there’s no better place to spend an evening than the Music Box Theatre. They show a variety of independent, foreign, cult, and classic films, some of which can be seen outside in their garden during the summers.

For more information on Music Box Theatre.

If you’re a movie buff, there’s no better place to spend an evening than the Music Box Theatre. They show a variety of independent, foreign, cult, and classic films, some of which can be seen outside in their garden during the summers.

For more information on Music Box Theatre.

Rally Your Friends for a Next-Level Game Night

Rally Your Friends for a Next-Level Game Night

Game nights are a blast…for everyone but the host, who usually ends up having to explain instructions and ensure everyone is comfortable. Game Night Out takes the work out of game night by hosting the event for you! Whether in-person or remote, everyone’s sure to have a good time. 

For more information on Game Night Out.

Game nights are a blast…for everyone but the host, who usually ends up having to explain instructions and ensure everyone is comfortable. Game Night Out takes the work out of game night by hosting the event for you! Whether in-person or remote, everyone’s sure to have a good time. 

For more information on Game Night Out.

Take an Art Class

Take an Art Class

An activity that also comes with new decor for your home? What more could you want? The Earth + Art workshop helps you decorate a pretty pot and add a plant of your choosing. You’ll remember how much fun you had every time you look at your new keepsake.

For more information on the Earth + Art workshop.

This event has ended.

But you can check this event instead:

Blank Mason Candle Bar - Pour & Sip

location_on Blank Mason Candle Bar, CHI

Blank Mason Candle Bar - Pour & Sip

From$50 $45 10% off
go to event

An activity that also comes with new decor for your home? What more could you want? The Earth + Art workshop helps you decorate a pretty pot and add a plant of your choosing. You’ll remember how much fun you had every time you look at your new keepsake.

For more information on the Earth + Art workshop.

Try Your Hand at Axe Throwing

Try Your Hand at Axe Throwing

Rough week at work? Get out some frustration by chucking axes at a wall! If you’ve never done it, they have instructors ready to help you perfect your technique. You might be surprised by how therapeutic it can be.

For more information on Bad Axe.

Rough week at work? Get out some frustration by chucking axes at a wall! If you’ve never done it, they have instructors ready to help you perfect your technique. You might be surprised by how therapeutic it can be.

For more information on Bad Axe.

Get Spooky with a Crime Tour

Get Spooky with a Crime Tour

Get to know the dark side of Chicago with a crime tour. See where iconic crimes took place and hear stories about the most notorious villains the city has ever seen, including gangster Al Capone, The Untouchables, The Chicago Mob, John Dillinger, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, Cap George Streeter, and more. 

For more information on Chicago Crime Tours.

Get to know the dark side of Chicago with a crime tour. See where iconic crimes took place and hear stories about the most notorious villains the city has ever seen, including gangster Al Capone, The Untouchables, The Chicago Mob, John Dillinger, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, Cap George Streeter, and more. 

For more information on Chicago Crime Tours.

Go Antiquing in Andersonville

Go Antiquing in Andersonville

Andersonville is home to some of the funkiest, fun, and best antique shops and thrift stores in the city. Spend an afternoon browsing — you never know what you’ll come home with!

Andersonville is home to some of the funkiest, fun, and best antique shops and thrift stores in the city. Spend an afternoon browsing — you never know what you’ll come home with!

Visit an Adventure Park

Visit an Adventure Park

Climbing, ziplining, rappelling, kayaking — there’s so much to do at The Forge adventure park! Pick your favorite activity (or soon-to-be favorite activity) and get your blood pumping. 

For more information on The Forge.

best price

location_on The Forge: Lemont Quarries, CHI

The Forge: Lemont Quarries

From$95 $65 32% off
  • event 2022-06-17
book

Climbing, ziplining, rappelling, kayaking — there’s so much to do at The Forge adventure park! Pick your favorite activity (or soon-to-be favorite activity) and get your blood pumping. 

For more information on The Forge.

Visit the Brookfield Zoo

Visit the Brookfield Zoo

Meet mammals, reptiles, and birds from all over the world at the Brookfield Zoo! Whether you want to feed a giraffe, ride a carousel, watch dolphins splash around, or step into a whirlwind of butterflies, you’re sure to make incredible memories at the zoo. 

For more information on Brookfield Zoo.

Meet mammals, reptiles, and birds from all over the world at the Brookfield Zoo! Whether you want to feed a giraffe, ride a carousel, watch dolphins splash around, or step into a whirlwind of butterflies, you’re sure to make incredible memories at the zoo. 

For more information on Brookfield Zoo.

Relax During a Spa Day

Relax During a Spa Day

The AIRE Ancient Baths are a walk through history in more ways than one. This upscale spa is located in a restored factory built in1902, and you can still see the original exposed brick, wooden beams, and industrial columns. You’ll also be taking part in the traditional experience of baths, which were part of ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman cultures. 

For more information on AIRE Ancient Baths.

The AIRE Ancient Baths are a walk through history in more ways than one. This upscale spa is located in a restored factory built in1902, and you can still see the original exposed brick, wooden beams, and industrial columns. You’ll also be taking part in the traditional experience of baths, which were part of ancient Roman, Greek, and Ottoman cultures. 

For more information on AIRE Ancient Baths.

Bike the Lakefront

Bike the Lakefront

The Lakefront Trail offers 18 miles of gorgeous lakeside path to leisurely ride along on a sunny day. If you have your own bike, you can simply pick a section and get to peddling. If you don’t have a bicycle, not to worry! You can rent one in Waveland Park in Lakeville for just $10-$20 per hour. 

For more information on bike rentals

The Lakefront Trail offers 18 miles of gorgeous lakeside path to leisurely ride along on a sunny day. If you have your own bike, you can simply pick a section and get to peddling. If you don’t have a bicycle, not to worry! You can rent one in Waveland Park in Lakeville for just $10-$20 per hour. 

For more information on bike rentals

Take a Candle-Making Class

Take a Candle-Making Class

Who doesn’t love to learn a new skill? In this class, you’ll learn two! Bring your own glass bottle to upcycle into a chic candle by first practicing glass cutting and then learning to pour wax. Fun and sustainable — it’s a win-win!

For more information on Chicago Candle Co.

location_on Chicago Candle Co., CHI

Candle-Making Classes at Chicago Candle Co.

$50
  • event 2022-04-25
book

Who doesn’t love to learn a new skill? In this class, you’ll learn two! Bring your own glass bottle to upcycle into a chic candle by first practicing glass cutting and then learning to pour wax. Fun and sustainable — it’s a win-win!

For more information on Chicago Candle Co.

Stroll the Gardens

Stroll the Gardens

From the Botanic Gardens to the Garfield Park Conservatory to the Garden of the Phoenix, Chicago has plenty of lush green spaces to explore. Get some fresh air and see some beautiful, rare, and unique flowers and greenery. The Chicago Botanic Garden even offers horticulture classes and craft fairs!

For more information on the Chicago Botanic Garden.

From the Botanic Gardens to the Garfield Park Conservatory to the Garden of the Phoenix, Chicago has plenty of lush green spaces to explore. Get some fresh air and see some beautiful, rare, and unique flowers and greenery. The Chicago Botanic Garden even offers horticulture classes and craft fairs!

For more information on the Chicago Botanic Garden.

See a Show

See a Show

Chicago is an American entertainment hub. From touring Broadway shows to stops from major comedians to magic and music, there’s a show to be seen any given night in Chicago.

Chicago is an American entertainment hub. From touring Broadway shows to stops from major comedians to magic and music, there’s a show to be seen any given night in Chicago.

Take a Tour of Wrigley Field

Take a Tour of Wrigley Field

If you’re a fan of the Chicago Cubs — or even just Chicago history — you can’t beat a tour of the iconic Wrigley Field. The tour is just 90 minutes, and going on a non-game day will give you an exclusive glimpse at special areas like the press box, outfield ivy, and the Cubs’ dugout. 

For more information on Wrigley Field tours.

If you’re a fan of the Chicago Cubs — or even just Chicago history — you can’t beat a tour of the iconic Wrigley Field. The tour is just 90 minutes, and going on a non-game day will give you an exclusive glimpse at special areas like the press box, outfield ivy, and the Cubs’ dugout. 

For more information on Wrigley Field tours.

Play WhirlyBall

Play WhirlyBall

If you’ve never played WhirlyBall, it’s high time you tried it. This unique game combines lacrosse, basketball, and hockey. Oh, and did we mention you play it in bumper cars? The unusual activity pretty much guarantees a memorable night out.  

For more information on WhirlyBall.

If you’ve never played WhirlyBall, it’s high time you tried it. This unique game combines lacrosse, basketball, and hockey. Oh, and did we mention you play it in bumper cars? The unusual activity pretty much guarantees a memorable night out.  

For more information on WhirlyBall.

Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Try Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Get a unique view of the city while also getting a workout in. Chicago SUP even offers an excursion that lets you watch the Navy Pier fireworks right from your paddle board! 

For more information on SUP Fireworks Sessions.

This event has ended.

But you can check this event instead:

The Forge: Lemont Quarries

location_on The Forge: Lemont Quarries, CHI

The Forge: Lemont Quarries

From$95 $65 32% off
go to event

Get a unique view of the city while also getting a workout in. Chicago SUP even offers an excursion that lets you watch the Navy Pier fireworks right from your paddle board! 

For more information on SUP Fireworks Sessions.

Enjoy the Activities at Maggie Daley Park

Enjoy the Activities at Maggie Daley Park

There’s no shortage of family fun at Maggie Daley Park. In the summer, you can go mini golfing, rock climbing, rollerblading, play tennis, or try the bungee jump. You can also check out the interactive public art installation “Out of Sight,” stroll the gardens, or have a picnic in the grove. In the winter enjoy the ice skating ribbon or grab lunch at the Rink Cafe.

For more information on Maggie Daley Park.

There’s no shortage of family fun at Maggie Daley Park. In the summer, you can go mini golfing, rock climbing, rollerblading, play tennis, or try the bungee jump. You can also check out the interactive public art installation “Out of Sight,” stroll the gardens, or have a picnic in the grove. In the winter enjoy the ice skating ribbon or grab lunch at the Rink Cafe.

For more information on Maggie Daley Park.

Diversey Driving Range or Mini Golf

Diversey Driving Range or Mini Golf

Whether you’re a golf pro or a putt-putt newbie, Diversey Driving Range has something for everyone. Soak up some sunshine while practicing your long game at the driving range or have some family fun putting around the mini golf course. Either way, it’s sure to be a good time. 

For more information on Diversey Driving Range.

Whether you’re a golf pro or a putt-putt newbie, Diversey Driving Range has something for everyone. Soak up some sunshine while practicing your long game at the driving range or have some family fun putting around the mini golf course. Either way, it’s sure to be a good time. 

For more information on Diversey Driving Range.

You May Also Like