Top 20 Places to Take Elderly Parents in Chicago - Meal Village

Top 20 Places to Take Elderly Parents in Chicago

06 Oct 2023


Chicago is more than a windy megacity - it's home to stunning green spaces, enlightening museums, and breathtaking panoramic views. It's also a great spot for a vacation for the elderly, whether you live in Chicago and you're visiting or you're seeking out-of-town vacation ideas. Enjoyable activities abound here whether you're booking a trip away or figuring out how to show your parents the city you call home. Here are 20 of our best ideas.

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1. Skydeck Chicago

This major attraction inside Willis Tower, the Western Hemisphere's third-tallest building, is one block from The Loop's accessible Quincy subway station. Skydeck Chicago's lookout offers Windy City views from 1,353 feet above ground.

2. 360 Chicago

You can reach 360 Chicago via seven buses, and as with Skydeck Chicago, this Streeterville observation deck is ADA-accessible. With viewings available all day long, you can take in a bright daytime vista or a nightlit series of skyscrapers.

3. Lincoln Park Zoo

This free zoo is on the smaller side, so mobility-limited parents can see most or all of it. The nearest transit options are the 151 and 156 buses, with paid and free accessible parking available too. It's a great way to spend the day with the special kids in your life.

4. Shedd Aquarium

The 146 bus will take you right to this Museum Campus aquarium, where all the marine life exhibits are accessible. Sign up for Shedd's 75-minute tour to see all the best exhibits while keeping elderly parents comfortable.

5. Field Museum

You'll find the Field Museum right near the Shedd Aquarium, and there are on-site wheelchairs and elevators. The museum is an especially great fit if you have kids you're bringing along with your parents - it's home to the world's biggest T-Rex display.

6. Magnificent Mile

This Streeterville mile of luxury fashion shops and upscale restaurants, accessible via eight buses, can be a great slow-walking Chicago destination for older adults. Spend some time leisurely strolling the Magnificent Mile and window-shopping, and take breaks whenever you need some rest.

7. Water Tower Place

Seven different buses go to this Streeterville shopping mall, where less walking is necessary than with the Magnificent Mile. The spas here can be a great way for you and your folks to relax after a particularly active week.

8. Navy Pier

The 29, 65, 66, and 124 buses all go right to the Navy Pier. This Streeterville highlight is an especially good idea to include on any Chicago bucket list for limited-mobility parents. Many of its attractions, including the iconic Centennial Wheel, are wheelchair-accessible.

9. Chicago River Architecture Boat Tours

On your way to or from the Navy Pier, visit Chicago River Architecture Boat Tours for a leisurely, educational trip on the water. You'll learn about more than 50 impressive buildings, and you can sit the entire time if needed.

10. Millennium Park

Situated along the eastern edge of The Loop, Millennium Park is right near the accessible Washington/Wabash subway station. It's home to The Bean, the renowned mirrored sculpture that's great for family photos. Plus, this outdoor public park is free to visit.

11. Art Institute of Chicago

Directly south across the street from Millennium Park lies the Art Institute of Chicago, where almost 300,000 esteemed works of art are housed. If walking is difficult, you can bring your own wheelchair or borrow one for free on-site.

12. Grant Park

Head to the accessible Jackson stop on the Red Line, or walk from Millennium Park, to this walker-friendly Chicago green-space staple. Visit at night for a colorful display of water gorgeously leaping out of Buckingham Fountain.

13. Museum of Science and Industry

This Hyde Park museum has its own stop on the 55 bus. All floors within the museum are accessible by elevator or ramp, and accessible parking and entrances abound.

14. Chicago Botanic Garden

If you'll have a car for your parents' Chicago trip, consider a scenic drive along Lake Michigan up to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Located in the suburb of Glencoe, you can see millions of plants here. There's also a tram tour if walking the entire garden is difficult.

15. Northerly Island

Driving or taking a cab is the easiest way to reach this Museum Campus highlight. Verdant grasses and flat nature trails abound, making this spot great for more active parents who love scenic spot-filled day trips.

16. The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

Find your way to Washington Park and the DuSable Museum on the 2 or 4 buses. Here, at the United States' longest-lasting independent African-American museum, you'll learn the stories of notable historical figures. The museum is ADA-compliant, and entry is free on Wednesdays.

17. Garfield Park Conservatory

Just south of Humboldt Park lies Garfield Park Conservatory, which has its own accessible subway stop on the Green Line. Before exploring this so-called "landscape art under glass," you can request any accommodations your parents may need.

18. Wrigley Field

Home to the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field makes baseball easy to enjoy for all ages. Take the Red Line to the accessible Addison stop in Lake View to cheer along with throngs of passionate fans. And if your parents have accessibility needs, there are ramps, lifts, and accessible seating.

19. The Drake

This four-star hotel with an ADA-compliant restaurant at the northern tip of the Magnificent Mile is known for its high tea. Bring your parents here for a warm, comforting afternoon near so many of Chicago's best attractions.

20. Obélix restaurant

This wheelchair-friendly French restaurant in the River North neighborhood is known as one of Chicago's finest. The duck dishes here are among the most appetizing you'll find in the Windy City. There are other ways, though, to eat well in Chicago if your itinerary is especially packed.

What makes these Chicago activities great for older adults?

Many of these places for elderly parents in Chicago are ADA-accessible, located near public transit, and low on walking or movement. Some are also in the very heart of downtown Chicago or the bustling nearby Streeter Ville neighborhood.

Let Meal Village handle the cooking while you take your parents around Chicago

When you're moving between activities with your parents all day, you might not have time for a lengthy sit-down restaurant experience for every meal. With Meal Village's affordable, ready-to-go, nutritious and delicious meals, you can keep lunch and dinner on hand to eat between stops on your list. This way you're spending less time cooking and more time bonding with your family. Plus, all Meal Village meals are made fresh by local chefs in a Chicago kitchen using locally sourced ingredients. Browse the Meal Village menu now to add another piece of Chicago to your parents' visit.

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