Chicago hotels well suited for kids and families

Traveling with kids is stressful. Their little legs get tired, the attention span is fleeting and teenagers can be a general pain in the keister on the road. Finding the right hotel can make the belly-aching better.

Many hotels offer welcome bags to help keep kids entertained or offer discounts to local museums. Book a hotel with an indoor pool and you've won half the battle. Well, maybe a quarter depending upon how challenging your offspring can be. 

If you are looking for luxury, try the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago or the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, two of the city's top family hotels. The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel offers an unheard-of 25-lap outdoor pool with a twin version indoors and Swissotel Chicago vies for your travel dollar with kid suites. The boutique-style Hotel Palomar provides a Baby Butler easing travel with infants.  If you're more budget-conscious, Embassy Suites Chicago by Hilton Magnificent Mile, Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown or Omni Chicago Hotel might be better bets (and they're suites)! 

Here are some top kid-friendly hotel recommendations in downtown Chicago as well as the newer Great Wolf Lodge Illinois offering attractions, dining, accommodations and entertainment inside and outside of the water park, that appeal to both children and parents.


The brand was way ahead of other hotel chains in terms of welcoming families when it launched Loews Loves Kids years ago. The initiative ranges from child-proofing kits for families with kids under four to family-specific packages. Loews Chicago Hotel sits smack dab in the center of the action with the Art Institute and Millennium Park just south and the Mag Mile just over the river. Plus, the burgeoning River Walk is just below and Navy Pier is steps away. The Chicago Discovery Family Package, available year-round, encourages adventure for the whole family as it incorporates a scavenger hunt to see the city's top attractions. The "discovery kit" comes stocked with kids' survival needs from backpacks and water bottles to sunglasses and compasses. In addition, Junior gets free breakfast and milk and cookies delivered to the room and parents snag two cocktails per stay.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The Loews Loves Kids program was one of the first among major brands to create special amenities for families.

Read more about Loews Chicago Hotel →


Visitors will love the family-focused amenities at Swisshotel Chicago. The distinctive 4-Diamond all-glass hotel offers spectacular wrap-around views from the Chicago River to Millennium Park and is located just off of the Magnificent Mile and near Maggie Daly Park. Spend the night in one of Swissotel Chicago's kid-friendly suites, offering offspring their very own separate but adjoining room. The Kids Suite is a corner suite with connecting double that accommodates up to six people and comes with a complimentary movie, popcorn, and milk and cookies; free breakfast for two adults and two kids; kid-friendly linens and kid-sized table and chairs; plus coloring books, stuffed animals and games. During the holidays, visit the Santa Suite when the man in red books the hotel's Presidential Suite to serve as his rock star crib. Expect over-the-top d├ęcor include more than 16 snow-covered Christmas trees and photo ops with Kris Kringle.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Steps away from the Magnificent Mile, parents will love the location and views and youngsters will be thrilled with kid-friendly suites.

Read more about Swissotel Chicago →

Magnificent Mile

The only all-suite hotel located on Michigan Ave., the Omni Chicago completed an $11 million renovation in 2015. Suites have an elegant parlor separated by classic French doors and some have pull-out sofa beds as well. The location is ideal for shopping, local attractions and dining and its American Girl package, with a trunk full of extras, is a big hit with fans of the Midwestern brand. There's a new"Discover Chicago" package that includes overnight accommodations, a $25 gift card at Gino's East Pizzeria and two general admission plus TILT tickets at the John Hancock Tower. The pool and 5th-floor sundeck are highly regarded with visiting families, too. A kids' breakfast buffet, set up daily at the onsite 676 Restaurant, is free for those five and younger. Expect thoughtful, modern, Midwest American cuisine from breakfast through dinner.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The Omni Chicago offers fantastic amenities for families and the location can't be beaten.

Read more about Omni Chicago Hotel →


Gurnee is home to serious outlet mall shopping, Six Flags Great America and the first Great Wolf Lodge property in the state. It features an 80,000 square-foot water park with family slides, wave pool, toddler water play area and an outdoor oasis with a pool and cabanas. When the skin gets too puckered, hit Great Wolf Adventure Park, a family entertainment center with a ropes course, climbing wall and arcade. If you can't face days of pizza and hot dogs, this Great Wolf Lodge offers eight different eateries including Barnwood, an elevated, farm-to-fork restaurant with locally sourced ingredients from nearby purveyors. Parents may appreciate the extensive menu of signature cocktails, wines and craft beers, too. Families can choose from 13 suite styles, including kid-focused Wolf Den and KidCabin suites that come with bunk beds. Bring granny and book premium multi-bedroom suites designed to accommodate larger families or friends traveling together.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Great Wolf Lodge Illinois has attractions, dining, accommodations and entertainment inside and outside of the water park, that appeal to both children and parents.

Read more about Great Wolf Lodge Illinois →

This pet-friendly, gorgeous hotel located near Millennium Park is ideally located for families aiming to explore the major landmarks of Chicago. What kid wouldn't go gaga over rooftop swimming and parents can lounge in the sun taking in views of the skyline. There is an outdoor splash pool for kids, fire pits, cabanas, hot tub, running track, an indoor pool morning; and dedicated yoga space. Families can enjoy weekend afternoon tea service and a three-hour express laundry service after Junior spills his Darjeeling. Consider booking the Kids Kamping Package that brings a tent with camping activities and sleeping bag to the room; popcorn and M&M's; and a variety of family movie selections; breakfast for two adults each morning; special kids' breakfast for two kids each morning ; valet parking for one car per night. The hotel chooses up to three kids staying at the hotel to be the Super Hero of the Day - they get a mask and cape, toy and free breakfast for the family.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Parents love this hotel for its location next to Millennium Park and its relatively reasonable rates.

Read more about Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago →

It may be counterintuitive but the Ritz-Carlton is actually great for families. Located in Water Tower Place, it's walking distance to Oak Street Beach, American Girl Place and many other attractions. What the property offers inside, however, is just as appealing. There's a Red Wagon Warm Welcome where youngsters can choose a toy to take home. A special candy cart shows up at each "Ritz Kids" hotel room door for free sweet treats. When dining in the hotel's restaurants, they get a Chicago themed coloring book and Ritz Kids Healthy Menu. Don't miss complimentary popcorn in the lobby each night at 5 p.m. And, yes, there's an impressive indoor pool. Since American Girl Place is just a few steps from the hotel's front door, the hotel offers a popular American Girl Package that includes overnight accommodations, a take home doll bed, milk and cookies at turndown and valet parking.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: In addition to a fabulous central location, the Ritz-Carlton offers many fun extras for kids.

Read more about The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago →

The elegant and luxe Four Seasons has stepped up its kids' game in the past few years. When children check-in, they fill out their "registration" (name, age and promise to have fun) and get a Sammy the Skyscraper passport. During their stay, kids complete an activity in each outlet (spa, restaurant, bell desk) and receive a stamp and when completed, they snag-free ice cream. In addition, the little shavers receive choice of toy from the treasure chest at check-in; welcome amenity in guest room, including a stuffed animal; access to the Kids Clubroom with foosball, air hockey, Nintendo, books, toys; access to the 50-foot indoor pool with floaties; and even a kids' shoeshine service where athletic shoes get a Four Seasons charm and new shoelaces. Then there are VIP tickets for Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and other attractions. The most popular family package is Family Fun in the City.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: This award-winning luxury hotel has all sorts of extra perks for families.

Read more about Four Seasons Hotel Chicago →

The property, one block from the Red Line subway and the Magnificent Mile, is all about two-bedroom suites, a fully-equipped kitchen with a two-burner stove, dishwasher and microwave. You can save a lot of money and aggravation when traveling with kids if you can stock a fridge and make a snack. When they are working your last nerve, the suites' separate living and sleeping areas allow kids and parents to have some space, too. The hot breakfast each morning is a wonderful convenience for families and there's even complimentary grocery service. Parents appreciate the complimentary evening social that serves beer, wine and a variety of bites Monday through Thursday. Tell Junior to pipe down - yes, there's an indoor top-floor pool with great views of Chicago.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Roomy, a fully equipped kitchen, free hot breakfast and central location adds up to great value for families.

Read more about Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown →

No matter what room you book, you always get a two-room suite so the 'rents can send their kids to bed while they close the door and hang out in their room's separate living area. No fighting over the remote with two 55-inch TVs, plus the kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker are super convenient for hungry families. Included in the budget-friendly hotel price is a free cooked-to-order hot breakfast, including made-from-scratch omelets. Return from your Chicago outings in time for a complimentary reception of soft drinks, a full bar and snacks like nachos or pretzels and dip. There's also an indoor pool, sauna and fitness center. The hotel has city/lake views, lots of complimentary amenities and is within walking distance to Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue shopping. Consider booking the "Family Fun Package."

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Budget-conscious parents love Embassy Suites' two all-suite hotels in Chicago, which include complimentary breakfast, pool, and close proximity to many attractions.

Read more about Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile →


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky