Free Things To Do In Chicago

Even though Chicago can be an expensive city, there are still several free things to do in Chicago. Some of the lesser known museums are free year-round, and the biggies - Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, the Art Institute, etc. - offer free days. If you've got a Chicago Public Library Card, you can check out the Kraft Kid's Museum Passport, which gets you into several attractions.

An easy way to find free things to do is to visit Chicago Events and select Free from the drop down menu. We also have an annual list of the free days at Chicago museums.

Free Events

Plane crash survivors bring award winning documentary to Palos Hiils
04/23/2014 - 11:00am
Southwest Suburbs

A Chicago-area screening of What Matters? Documentary will be held at Moraine Valley Community at the MVCC Library (L Building) at 11am & Noon. This documentary focuses on 3 friends who...

JuVaShape Lifestyle Girls Night
04/23/2014 - 4:00pm
Near North

We welcome you and your best girlfriends for an afternoon of goodies including light refreshments, raffles for prizes, technology presentations and special introductory pricing for a JuVaShape...

The Goddess and Grocers Grand (Re)-opening in new Bucktown Location!
04/24/2014 (All day)
Bucktown | Wicker Park

The Goddess and Grocer, one of Chicago’s most celebrated gourmet grocers, has moved! Come celebrate with us at our new home on April 24th 2014—same great neighborhood, roomier space. The new digs...

Free Day at the Art Institute of Chicago
04/24/2014 - 5:00pm
Grant Park | Museum Campus

Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Global Citizen Nights presents The Main Squeeze & Aloe Blacc
04/24/2014 - 6:30pm

#GlobalCitizenNights: Small Stages. Big Artists. Huge Impact.

Chicago-based funk band The Main Squeeze, Aloe Blacc and Johnnyswim are performing for a cause by headlining Global Citizen...

One-Year Anniversary Party at High Noon Saloon
04/24/2014 - 8:00pm
Bucktown | Wicker Park

High Noon Saloon celebrates their first year in Wicker Park with a bash featuring live music by the Sweatervests, $1 Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum cocktails, $4 Lagunitas IPA, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’...

The Open Mic Show @ The Comedy Bar
04/24/2014 - 10:00pm
River North



Every Thursday at 10pm (Sign up begins at 9:30pm)

Join us every week at The Comedy Bar for Chicago's newest...

Critical Mass Monthly Bike Ride
04/25/2014 - 5:30pm
The Loop

Critical Mass is a bike ride plain and simple. The ride takes place on the Last Friday Of Every Month (in Chicago anyway). A Critical Mass is created when the group of riders comes together for...

Food Drive benefitting Schaumburg Food Pantry & Free Car Care Clinic
04/27/2014 - 9:00am

Food Drive benefitting Schaumburg Food Pantry & Free Car Care Clinic
Sunday, April 27th from 9a to 3pm.
The Schaumburg Township Food Pantry has been helping families through...

04/27/2014 - 10:00am
Irving Park/Avondale

Once again, Chicago’s Green Metropolis Fair will bring the local conscious community together on April 27. This year, the Fair will once again be held at the historic and recently renovated Irish...

Attractions & Museums

    1. Navy Pier 600 E Grand Ave
    2. Chicago Cultural Center Everything from art exhibits to movie screenings to concerts, visitor center - 78 E Washington St
    3. ArchiCenter Highlights Chicago's architecture - 224 S Michigan Ave, Mon - Sat 9:30 to 5pm
    4. Museum of Contemporary Photography 600 S Michigan Ave - Mon - Wed & Fri 10am to 5pm, Thurs 10am to 8pm, Sat Noon to 5pm
    5. Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows Navy Pier
    6. Water Tower Only building downtown to survive Chicago Fire of 1871 - Visitor Center, City Museum - 800 N Michigan Ave
    7. Art Institute of Chicago Free on Thursday from 5 to 8pm for Illinois residents; 111 S Michigan Ave
    8. Chicago Children's Museum Free 1st Sunday of every month for kids 15 and under; Free on Thursdays for everyone 5 to 8pm
    9. Museum of Contemporary Art  Free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents - 220 E Chicago Ave
    10. Adler Planetarium Free admission several days during the year - 1300 S Lake Shore Drive - Fee for shows.
    11. International Museum of Surgical Science 1st floor is free on Tuesdays - 10am to 4pm


Many of Chicago's festivals are free, and you can find them on the events calendar. From the drop down menu click Festivals.

Parks & Zoos

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo - 2200 N. Cannon Dr. - Zoo Grounds: 8am to 6pm Zoo Buildings: 10am to 5pm
  2. Millennium Park - Includes Jay Pritzker Pavilion, "Cloud Gate", Crown Fountains, free ice skating in the winter - 55 N Michigan Ave
  3. Grant Park - Chicago's "front yard" - free festivals during the summer - 331 E Randolph St
  4. Connors Park - 871 N Wabash
  5. Daley Center Plaza - Home to several festivals throughout the year, and the city's Christmas tree - Randolph & Dearborn Streets
  6. Jane Addams Memorial Park - at foot of Navy Pier - 550 E Grand Ave
  7. Lake Shore Park - bordered by Museum of Contemporary Art - 808 N Lake Shore Dr
  8. Mariano Park - great people watching - 1031 N State St
  9. River Esplanade Park - stroll along the river - 401 E River Dr
  10. Roosevelt Park - play tennis in the south Loop - 62 W Roosevelt Rd
  11. Seward Park - many sports activities, gym - 375 W Elm St
  12. Washington Square Park - in front of the Newberry Library - 901 N Clark St

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