Bowling is a great way to gather the family together for an afternoon or evening of bonding while you knock down some pins. Whether the kids need bumpers or are pulling down strikes, this crop of family-friendly bowling alleys in Chicago also have a good selection of food and drinks, so there’s no need to worry about making a reservation at a restaurant to accommodate your crew. With these bowling gems, you can focus on enjoying your family activities all in one place.
Kings Lincoln Park
Kings Lincoln Park is in the heart of NewCity, Lincoln Park’s brand new shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. At 24,000 square feet, it’s massive. Why so big? They needed space for 16 bowling lanes, 60 HDTVs, and a game room with foosball, air hockey, shuffleboard, and billiards. Hungry? The huge menu offers everything from wings to burgers to pizza with gluten-free options and full entrées. Thirsty? You won’t wait long at the 222-foot bar. And the 1960s retro vibe just adds to the fun.
Pinstripes, just down the street from Navy Pier and inside the River East Arts Center, is one of the nicest bowling alleys in Chicago. Book one of two private lanes (or both) for your group or kick back on plush leather couches in the main bowling area with 11 lanes while you wait to take your turn. The space has a full menu featuring fresh salads, house-made pastas, entrées like baby back ribs, and wood-fired pizzas. There’s a kids menu, too, and $9 will buy your children a starter, entrée, dessert, and drink each. Want to try other family activities? Sign up to play bocce ball on the full court.
As part of the larger Marina City complex, 10Pin also offers more than just bowling. It’s steps away from the beautiful Riverwalk, next door to House of Blues, and near numerous River North restaurants and shops. Step inside and you’ll find a spacious bowling alley with 24 lanes and a massive video wall with a library of thousands of current music videos. And at just $4.95 per game before 5 p.m., it’s affordable. You can eat at the lounge or order some sliders, fried chicken, pizza, or mozzarella sticks right to your lane, which is great because when you’re so into the game, you don’t want to walk away.
Looking to fill your day with family activities? Lucky Strike, one of the larger bowling alleys in Chicago with 18 lanes, has it all under one roof. It’s part of a larger entertainment complex that includes an AMC movie theater and a modern-meets-retro gastro arcade called FTW (For the Win) Chicago. If you want to camp out inside Lucky Strike, you can also play pool and ping pong or kick back and watch sports on one of the many big-screen TVs. Lucky Strike turns 21+ at 8 p.m. so make it a day outing for you and the kids.
Southport Lanes & Billards
When you want a classic bowling alley in Chicago, there’s no better spot than Southport Lanes & Billards. Kids accompanied by an adult are welcome before 8 p.m. even though it’s attached to a tavern. Southport Lanes & Billards has been around since 1922 and has quite the storied past. The four hand-set lanes—yes, someone actually resets the pins for you—book up in advance so make reservations. You can tip the pinsetters by placing rolled up dollar bills into the finger hole of your ball and sending it down the gutter. There’s also a large billiards room so you can rack ’em up while you wait for your chance to bowl. And when hunger strikes, mini corn dogs, tacos, hummus, burgers, and more will fill you up.