10 Best Things To Do For Free In Chicago, Illinois

things to do in chicago for free

Known for its skyline punctuated by skyscrapers, Chicago in Illinois is among the largest cities in the United States which feels like home. From visiting world-class museums to dining in some of the famous restaurants in Chicago–no matter what you want to experience, you’ll find it here. There will be no dull days when in Chicago for there are a plethora of things to do such as tours, shopping, dining, and of course the best part, the nightlife. No matter the budget, you’ll find something that will suffice. Come and experience why tourists and locals alike keep on falling in love with the place. In Chicago, there is truly something for everyone. Check out this list of best things to do for free in Chicago, Illinois.

1. Join the festivities here at Millennium Park

Witness a state-of-the-art collection of the amazing architecture of landscapes here at Millennium Park where a lot of fun activities await. From wonderful art pieces to music and dancing during the night, everything you’ll want to see in one place is already here. If you ever visit Chicago, don’t miss out having the best time here at Millennium Park for no cost at all.

Millennium Park

Address: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

Website: Millennium Park

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

2. Experience how Chicago parties

Grant Park is the home of some of Chicago’s famous landmarks like Museum Campus, Field Museum of National History, and more. It is known as Chicago’s Front Yard which hosts the city’s largest food and music festival such as The Taste of Chicago which takes place during the Independence Day holiday as well as the Grant Park Music Festival. Free music and dance without even costing you a penny–it’s something you can’t miss.

Grant Park

Address:337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, USA

Website: Grant Park

Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)

3. Check out wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is the home of different breeds of animals welcoming visitors who have the heart and passion for animals. It’s a private institution which depends primarily on the support of donations of the visitors to remain accessible to everyone, every day. It’s the perfect setting for family bonding where you can explore without it costing any money. By simply visiting this place, it will be a big help in retaining the home of these animals.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Address: 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA

Website: Lincoln Park Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

4. Bask in the charm of the Chicago Cultural Center

Thousands of visitors rave about this place. Chicago Cultural Center is famous for its public free events including arts, music, and dance. It’s known as the world’s first free municipal venue promoting hundreds of international, national, and local artists alike. Moreover, it’s the home of two beautiful stained-glass domes reflecting the creators’ talents in art. It’s a perfect spot for families looking for the right place to have fun without spending a cent.

Chicago Cultural Center

Address: 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA

Website: Chicago Cultural Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 7pm; Sat & Sun: 10am - 5pm

5. Surround yourself with the beauty of nature

One of the largest and most beautiful conservatories in the world, Garfield Park Conservatory is a landscape asurviving any storm that comes its way. It occupies a large amount of space spanning from 2 acres (0.8 hectares) of public greenhouse and 10 acres (4.04 hectares) of outdoor gardens. It’s an ideal spot for you to explore around. It’s like something you’ll only get to see in fairy tales, making it a perfect reality escape.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Address: 300 N Central Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60624, USA

Website: Garfield Park Conservatory

Opening hours: Wed: 9am - 8pm; Thu - Tue: 9am - 5pm

6. Get lost in the world of art at the National Museum of Mexican Art

Find yourself lost in one of the best art museums in Chicago showcasing Mexican culture through their art pieces. National Museum of Mexican Arts exhibits thousands of unique artifacts which are pleasing to the eyes. Every corner of the museum shows the creativity and the soul of the artists. Immerse yourself by visiting this museum. Experience yourself the beauty and richness of the Mexican culture.

National Museum of Mexican Art

Address: 1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608, USA

Website: National Museum of Mexican Art

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

7. Tour the famous Harold Washington Museum

If you’re one of those people who love arts and books, Harold Washington Museum in the old Harold Washington Library Center is the right place to visit if ever you’re in Chicago. It holds many art pieces you can look at. It also has wide selections of books you can read while sitting in one of the place’s seating areas. It’s a perfect place to get lost into if you ever want to escape from the commotion of the outside world.

Harold Washington Library Center

Address: 400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605, USA

Website: Harold Washington Library Center

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 9am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 1pm - 5pm

8. Spend your leisure time here at North Avenue Beach

North Avenue Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Chicago which features the best views, which you’ll surely want to see for yourself. The beach runs for miles ideal for spending your free time bonding with friends playing volleyball or any other things you can do while visiting the place. It offers a wide variety of activities beach goers can choose from. Don’t miss checking this place out if ever you visit Chicago.

North Avenue Beach

Address: 1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60613, USA

Website: North Avenue Beach

Opening hours: 11am - 7pm (daily)

9. Catch a local band on Monday nights at Empty Bottle

Known for its cheap beer since 1992, Empty Bottle is a great place for having a good time in Chicago. It started out as a small place that welcomes guests looking for good music and a good place. Since then, the place has never been empty because of customers who turned into regulars. Sway your hips to the music of the local bands and have the best night of your life for free every Monday.

Empty Bottle

Address: 1035 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, USA

Website: Empty Bottle

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 5pm - 2am; Thu & Fri: 3pm - 2am; Sat: 11am - 3am; Sun: 11am - 2am

10. Explore the beauty that is Chicago Botanic Garden

Known as the city in a garden, Chicago Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to explore especially during its bloom. As time passes, this garden becomes one of the world’s great living museums and conservation center. It’s an ideal place to visit if you love taking long walks while witnessing pretty views. You can also lounge around in one of the place’s benches and breathe the sweet fragrance of the flowers in full bloom. Visiting this place will help you forget about going back to the noise of the outside world.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA

Website: Chicago Botanic Garden

Opening hours: 8am - 5pm (daily)

Enjoy Chicago for free

things to do in chicago for free | enjoy chicago for free
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Come and visit Chicago in which you’ll find that there is truly something for everyone. See for yourself the wonders of Chicago and don’t forget to check out our list of best things to do for free in Chicago in case you don’t have an itinerary yet.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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