Autism Friendly Things to Do in Chicago

Chicago is a vibrant city with something for everyone with unique attractions and a diverse culture. There are many places that are working to make Chicago more accessible to autistic and neurodiverse individuals and families. There are so many things to consider when going to public places with neurodiverse individuals. If you’re planning an adventure with your neurodiverse loved ones, we’ve put together a rich list of activities you can enjoy and autism-friendly spaces in Chicago you can visit. 

Visit the Chicago Children’s Museum 

The Chicago children’s Museum is a fun-filled location for children of all age groups. The beautiful museum is committed to inclusivity, so they ensure that their environment is welcoming for children of all abilities. They host many events open to children on the autism spectrum and their sensory garden is definitely one to look out for. The sensory garden is an interactive, yet calm space designed with their neurodiverse visitors in mind. 

Explore the Wonders of the Aquatic World at the Shedd Aquarium 

The Shedd aquarium is a go-to for visitors and locals of Chicago. Upon request, the aquarium provides sensory bags with noise cancelling headphones and small tools to help with fidgeting. 

They allow autistic individuals to explore the aquarium in a more comfortable setting during their sensory-friendly hours on Thursdays by 3:30pm and the last Sunday of every month. Through their Calm Waters program, veterans and guests on the neurodiverse spectrum can explore the aquarium without the usual crowd and enjoy it with lower sensory lights. 

Embrace Drama at the Chicago Children’s Theater

Chicago Children’s Theater is a fun hub dedicated to creating unique and culture inspired productions. They are committed to inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity, and this is evident in every performance that they put together. They offer sensory-friendly performances specially tailored for individuals on the spectrum; the sound, lights, and overall volume of the production is completely modified to make the performance more accommodating. 

Go on a Cosmic Adventure at The Adler Planetarium 

You can explore the beauty of the universe and all its mysteries at The Adler Planetarium. A calm and lovely space perfect for autistic individuals with an interest in space life. The Planetarium also offers sensory-friendly showings to accommodate the unique needs of autistic individuals and their neurodiverse visitors. These sensory-sensitive showings feature some modifications from sound to lighting and how the workers attend to visitors. 

Take a Leisurely Stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is a regular destination for Chicago locals and visitors alike. Admission to the park zoo is free and they show their commitment to inclusivity and accessibility by offering sensory bags for special visitors. The zoo also has a quiet area where you can sit and enjoy the view of wildlife in their different habitats. Explore other modifications and adjustments they make for neurodiverse guests HERE. 

All these locations are spectrum friendly locations that you and your loved ones can enjoy. Which one of these locations will you be exploring soon?