Family Road Trip from Chicago to Twin Cities Gateway

Looking for a family-friendly destination for a long weekend getaway?  Located approximately 400 miles from Chicago, the Twin Cities Gateway has dozens of kid-friendly attractions, parks and trails, and convenient accommodations with a great value.  

Want to enjoy the journey as well as the destination?  This step-by-step road trip itinerary has several stops to stretch your legs and have some fun along the way.  Fill up the gas tank and start your adventure!

Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL

Kick off your road trip with a visit to Shedd Aquarium, which is home to salt and freshwater animals including belugas, sharks, sea otters, an octopus, and more.  The aquarium has exhibits representing habitats across the world, from a Polar Play Zone where kids can put on a penguin suit to the hands-on stingray touch pool.  

If you like this, check out Springbrook Nature Center in the Twin Cities Gateway! 

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Rockford, IL

Beat the heat with a visit to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, a waterpark with thrilling slides, a relaxing lazy river, and family-friendly play areas.  Body surf the waves in the Tsunami Bay wave pool (there’s a shallow end for kids) or explore Caribbean Cove, a 50-foot high water playground.

If you like this, check out Tropics Indoor Waterpark in the Twin Cities Gateway!

Madison Children’s Museum in Madison, WI

Kids learn through play, and the Madison Children’s Museum has nearly a dozen exhibits for kids of ages.  Create a masterpiece in the Art Studio, solve puzzles in a “city” made from recycled and repurposed materials, and explore a rooftop garden home to chickens and homing pigeons.  There’s also a huge outdoor playspace with a treehouse, ladders, bridges, and large slide.

If you like this, check out Eagles Nest Indoor Playground in the Twin Cities Gateway!

Sculpture Tour Eau Claire in Eau Claire, WI

Get some wiggles out with a self-guided walk along Eau Claire’s Sculpture Tour, a free public display of over 70 works of art scattered through the city.  Maps are available online, and you can vote for your favorite sculpture.

If you like this, check out the North Suburban Center for the Arts in the Twin Cities Gateway! 

C&J’s Candy Store and Scoop Shop in Menomonie, WI

Score a sweet treat at C&J’s Candy Store and Scoop Shop, which specializes in all things sugary.  You’ll find gourmet jelly beans, gummies, retro favorites, and candies imported from around the world.  There’s also an ice cream counter with super-premium ice cream from Wisconsin favorite Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, with dairy-free and vegan options available.

If you like this, check out Flamingo’s Ice Cream and Treats in the Twin Cities Gateway! 

Eagle Eye Farm in Hudson, WI

Meet alpacas, llamas, sheep, pigs, miniature highland cattle, and chickens on a farm tour at Eagle Eye Farm.  Make reservations in advance to join a public tour or set up a private tour, which includes an opportunity to feed and interact with the animals.

If you like this, check out Victoria Valley Orchard in the Twin Cities Gateway! 

Twin CIties Gateway, MN

You’ve made it!  The ten communities of the Twin Cities Gateway (Anoka, Arden Hills, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Ham Lake, Lino Lakes, Mounds View, New Brighton, and Shoreview) offer family-friendly attractions like the Fun Lab and Lilli Putt (plus all the other activities mentioned in this article!), as well as tasty eats, parks and trails, and affordable hotels with free parking.  In addition, the Twin Cities Gateway is conveniently located to Minneapolis and Saint Paul, making it the perfect base for your getaway to the Twin Cities.


Book your stay in the Twin Cities Gateway today!

Springbrook Nature Center

6431 University Ave NE
Fridley, MN 55432

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Lilli Putt Amusement Park

1349 Coon Rapids Blvd NW
Coon Rapids, MN 55433

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The Fun Lab

10650 Baltimore St NE
Blaine, MN 55449

(763) 392-4522
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Flamingos Ice Cream

1258 East Moore Lake Drive
Fridley, Minnesota 55432

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