Best places for 10 popular indoor activities in Chicago

Written by:
March 5, 2024
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Best places for 10 popular indoor activities in Chicago

When the sun is shining and temperatures are warm, it's not too difficult to get out of the house and find something to do, whether it's a simple walk around the block or a day trip to the beach. But when temperatures are lower or rain is trickling down your windows, you're probably more likely to stay inside—and that's true no matter your age.

A 2020 survey of about 1,000 people from the National Recreation and Park Association showed that 58% of U.S. adults are less active in the winter. Similarly, a 2016 study out of the University of Cambridge found that average activity levels among children dropped to their lowest levels in February at about 48 minutes per day compared to 65 minutes per day in April, the peak month for activity.

The good news is there are an increasing number of ways to get out and be active, no matter the season and no matter what level of activity you're looking for. There are the longtime staples to visit year-round, from an awe-inspiring and educational visit to an aquarium or planetarium to a culturally stimulating night at the theater to a trip down memory lane at the bowling alley. For the gamers among you—or for those nostalgic for the 1970s, '80s, and '90s—there's always laser tag or an afternoon at the arcade.

Those looking to exercise their minds a bit more than their muscles could try the more recent sensation: escape rooms, which started captivating Americans of all ages in the mid-2010s. Meanwhile, people who want to sweat it out a bit can try to get into the skyrocketing success of indoor rock climbing, the bouncing business of trampoline parks, and the more adult activity that is ax throwing.

To motivate you to try a new activity this weekend, weather notwithstanding, Stacker compiled a list of the best places for popular indoor activities in Chicago using data from Yelp. Data is as of Feb. 21, 2024. Businesses were selected using Yelp's ranking system, which calculates an adjusted rating value that takes into account the number of ratings as well as the rating score itself.

1 / 10
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Arcade: Chicago Gamespace

- Rating: 5.0/5 (3 reviews)
- Address: 2418 West Bloomingdale Ave. Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Arcades, Art Galleries, Video Game Stores
- Read more on Yelp

2 / 10
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Bowling: Timber Lanes

- Rating: 4.3/5 (132 reviews)
- Price level: $
- Address: 1851 West Irving Park Road Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Bowling, Dive Bars
- Read more on Yelp

3 / 10
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Laser tag: Battle Royale

- Rating: 4.9/5 (12 reviews)
- Address: Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Laser Tag
- Read more on Yelp

4 / 10
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Rock climbing: First Ascent Avondale

- Rating: 4.5/5 (87 reviews)
- Address: 3516 North Spaulding Ave. Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Yoga, Rock Climbing, Day Camps
- Read more on Yelp

5 / 10
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Aquarium: Tank it Easy

- Rating: 4.7/5 (52 reviews)
- Address: 4642 West Lawrence Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Aquariums, Pet Stores, Aquarium Services
- Read more on Yelp

6 / 10
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Planetarium: Adler Planetarium

- Rating: 3.4/5 (588 reviews)
- Address: 1300 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Planetarium
- Read more on Yelp

7 / 10
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Ax throwing: BATL Axe Throwing

- Rating: 4.7/5 (93 reviews)
- Address: 4842 West Irving Park Road Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Ax Throwing, Team Building Activities, Sports Bars
- Read more on Yelp

8 / 10
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Escape games: The Mystery League

- Rating: 5.0/5 (11 reviews)
- Address: 1917 North Elston Ave. Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Team Building Activities, Escape Games, Party & Event Planning
- Read more on Yelp

9 / 10
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Theater: Hell in a Handbag Productions

- Rating: 5.0/5 (9 reviews)
- Address: 2034 West Farragut Ste 3 Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Performing Arts
- Read more on Yelp

10 / 10
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Trampoline park: Altitude Trampoline Park - Chicago

- Rating: 3.4/5 (75 reviews)
- Address: 404 North Armour St. Chicago, Illinois
- Categories: Trampoline Parks, Venues & Event Spaces, Team Building Activities
- Read more on Yelp

This story features data reporting by Karim Noorani, writing by Jaimie Etkin, and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 251 metros.

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