Free Things To Do in Chicago

Free Things To Do in Chicago

There is an amazing number of free things to do in Chicago. You'll be surprised at how many free attractions, galleries and museums there are, as well as lots of free events. Even our world-class museums - Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, the Art Institute, etc. - offer  for Illinois residents.

TLTip: If you've got a Chicago Public Library Card, you can check out the , which gets you into several attractions for free.

This is your ultimate guide to free things to do in Chicago. You can browse our favorites, and then you can search our and find on our calendar. You can even save money on dining out with our

Exploring Chicago doesn't have to cost a fortune, and we're here to help you save as much money as possible while still having FUN!

Free Things To Do In Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the United States, and one of the last remaining free zoos. It's open to all 365 days a year and features animals from every climate. It's also dedicated to conservation and science, with one of the largest programs in the country. , 2200 N Cannon Dr

Chicago Cultural Center


The Chicago Cultural Center was the nation's first free municipal cultural venue, and today its free programming in the arts makes it one of the most popular attractions in the city. Be sure to check out the largest Tiffany dome in the world. It's breathtaking! Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St


Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of Chicago's most popular attractions, and one of the most popular destinations in the Midwest. While there are fees at many of the attractions at Navy Pier, there are some that are free. One of the best reasons to visit is the view, which is (of course!) free! The Pier extends half a mile into Lake Michigan, giving you some of the best views in the city. Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave

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Grant Park

Grant Park is Chicago-free central. Free summer festivals like Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Blues Fest, Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago SummerDance, and more all take place in Chicago's Front Yard. Be sure to check out all of the public art year-round and the lights show at Buckingham Fountain during the summer. Grant Park, Columbus & Balbo

Millennium Park

Grant Park's neighbor to the North, Millennium Park is an adult playground with its collection of sculptures, the acoustically-sound Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Lurie Gardens, and other amenities. There's free ice skating in the winter and loads of free concerts and workouts in the park during the summer. It's now the #1 attraction in the Midwest, supplanting Navy Pier from the top spot. Millennium Park, 205 E Randolph St

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Maggie Daley Park

The northeast corner of Grant Park has been turned into an impressive destination. The lakefront recreation center features a climbing wall, a skating ribbon, and a giant playground. (Seriously - it's giant!) , 337 E Randolph St


National Museum of Mexican Art

Located in Pilsen, this is the only museum dedicated to Latino culture that's a member of the American Alliance of Museums. The museum has over 9,000 examples of Mexican art from ancient Mexico to the present as well as special exhibitions. While technically free, they do ask for a donation if you can spare it. , 1852 W 19th St

photo courtesy The Oriental Institute

The Oriental Institute

The Oriental Institute is not just a museum, but is a working research laboratory at the University of Chicago. Known as some of the premiere archaeologists of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, the objects on display were primarily uncovered during expeditions in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. , 1155 E 58th St

Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Social reformer Jane Addams was one of the most influential people of her time. Her work helped immigrants and to shape national and international policy. The museum preserves the Nobel laureate's legacy and helps further her vision through research, education, and social engagement. The museum is free with a $5 suggested donation, and they offer free tours on Wednesdays and Sundays at 1pm. , 800 S Halsted

photo courtesy DANK HAUS

DANK HAUS German Cultural Center

While the museum itself is only open on Saturdays, the cultural center offers several events. There are cooking classes, film screenings, and a monthly "Stammtisch." This is a communal event featuring games, live music, dancing, dining, and drinking. , 4740 N Western Ave

photo courtesy Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum

Ever wanted to see what a million dollars looks like? Or see inside a cash processing center? You can, and it's free! The Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum even offers a free guided tour every weekday at 1pm. Federal Reserve Bank Money Museum, 230 S LaSalle St

photo courtesy Cambodian American Heritage Museum

This museum and memorial tells the story of Khmer Rouge and the Killing Field through multimedia displays, archives, narratives, and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. Guided tours are available so you can learn more about what happened during the Cambodian Civil War. Cambodian American Heritage Museum, 2831 W Lawrence Ave

Looking for more Free Things To Do in Chicago? Browse our .

2831 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
The Museum & Memorial serves as the Cambodian national principal institution in Illinois for examining the implication of Civil War in Cambodia.
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Drawn by its beauty and the fabulous free public events, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to the Chicago Cultural Center every year.
4740 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
The DANK Haus houses DANK Chicago, a chapter of the nation-wide organization German American National Congress. 
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
230 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604
A guided visit to the Money Museum museum, open to visitors without a reservation, lasts roughly 30 minutes and is available at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Grant Park
Columbus & Balbo, Chicago, IL
Proudly referred to as Chicago's "front yard," Grant Park is a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60607
How much: Free; $5 suggested donation
The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer Jane Addams
Lincoln Park Zoo
2200 N Cannon Dr, Chicago, IL 60614
Maggie Daley Park
337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
Maggie Daley Park is a lakefront recreation center featuring a climbing wall, a skating ribbon, and giant playground.
Millennium Park Map
205 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60202
In Millennium Park, you’ll find a new kind of town square – a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city and a destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike.
National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Our mission is to stimulate and preserve knowledge and appreciation of Mexican culture through events and exhibitions that exemplify the rich variety of visual and performing arts.
Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Historic Navy Pier® is Chicago's lakefront playground attracting millions of guests a year.
Oriental Institute
1155 E 58th St, Chicago, IL 60637
The Oriental Institute is an internationally recognized pioneer in the archaeology, philology, and history of early Near Eastern civilizations.

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