Free Things to Do in Chicago in December

Free Things to Do in Chicago in December
December in Chicago is a magical time to visit the city. The Christmas spirit prolongs the onset of winter, allowing everyone to ignore the oncoming cold weather and enjoy the season before the long winter sets in. The streets are filled with shoppers and holiday revelers, and there is always something free and fun to do.

Lincoln Park Zoo's Zoolights

Every December, the Lincoln Park Zoo on the north side of Chicago becomes a glow in the Christmas Spirit. The entire zoo is decorated with thousands of dancing Christmas lights, and holiday music rings throughout. All animal exhibits are open during the special nighttime hours (5-9 p.m.) and admission is always free.

Lincoln Park Zoo's Zoolights
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

Ice Skate At Millennium Park

Throughout December, the ice rink at downtown Chicago's Millennium Park offers unlimited free ice skating all day for those with their own ice skates. For those without, do not worry; rentals are available. Skaters can admire the surrounding skyscrapers as they light up as the sun sets and the holiday street decorations come to life. To make it even better, Christmas music plays over the entire area.

Millennium Park
Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison streets
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 744-6050

The Art Institute of Chicago's Free Thursday and Friday Nights

Every Thursday and Friday night, the Art Institute of Chicago offers visitors relief from Chicago's frigid winter air with free admission to the permanent exhibits from 5 to 9 p.m. The museum is home to works of art by some of the world's most famous artists including Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali and Monet. Edward Hopper's most well-known painting, "Nighthawks," is a featured piece.

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

Walk Along Michigan Avenue

North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago is commonly known as The Magnificent Mile, and during December it is easy to see why. Not only is it home to some of the best shopping in the country, but the entire road lights up with Christmas lights and most major department stores fill their window displays with elaborate Christmas decorations. Street musicians play holiday music for all the passing revelers and the atmosphere can be described as no less than jolly.

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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