Free Things to Do in the Chicago Area

Free Things to Do in the Chicago Area
The Chicago metropolitan area is home to almost 10 million people, encompassing an area of over 7,000 square miles. Within this vast expanse of land, hundreds of suburbs, villages and towns create an interesting mix of culture and community. Though the area's legendary prairies and wetlands have mostly disappeared, the area still offers much in the way of outdoors activities where visitors can experience more than just shopping and dining.

Illinois Prairie Path

The Illinois Prairie Path takes visitors throughout the western and northwestern suburbs. The former rail line turned trail begins in west suburban Maywood and goes as far west as the Fox River where it connects to other trails. The trail is paved with crushed limestone, allowing for a comfortable walking and running surface and it is safe for bike tires. In the winter, the trail is suitable for cross-country skiing. The path passes through many sections of restored prairie where visitors can observe wildlife and enjoy a picnic. In addition, it passes through numerous suburbs, many with historic city centers, giving visitors a unique look at the Chicago-area. Use of the Illinois Prairie Path is free.
Illinois Prairie Path
P.O. Box 1086
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 752-0120

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach

Covering over 4,000 acres of undeveloped land along Lake Michigan in north suburban Zion, the Illinois Beach State Park is the only section of native shoreline left in Illinois. The park has many miles of jogging, walking and biking trails that wind through the varying eco-systems. Sand dunes, prairies, wetlands and forests are all represented. The park is ideal for bird watching, swimming, fishing, picnicking and boating. The park's interpretive center informs visitors of the park's ecology, wildlife and history. Entrance to the park is free and visitors can camp overnight on the beach for a small nightly fee.
Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach
Zion, IL 60099

Frank Lloyd Wright Walking Tour

West suburban Oak Park is home to 25 houses and structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was here that he mastered his Prairie Style architecture. Beginning at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio (fee for admission), visitors can walk or bike throughout Oak Park to view the uniquely designed homes and buildings many of which are National Historic Landmarks. In addition, Oak Park was also the birthplace of Ernest Hemmingway. Visitors can add his birth home as an extra stop on the tour (fee for entrance to the house).
Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio
951 Chicago Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 848-1976

Article Written By Patrick M. Lind

Patrick M. Lind has been freelance writing since 2007 and has worked as an editor and journalist for He received a Master of Arts in history from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Middle East.

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