Free Things to Do in Chicago

Free Things to Do in Chicago
Traveling to Chicago is a worthwhile and memorable experience. Most visitors are left in awe by America's third-largest city, its best-kept secret. In the heart of the Midwest, it is often overlooked by the two more noticeable cities on either coast. Chicago is a cultural gem filled with some of the best architecture in the country, great restaurants and great people. The best part is that finding free things to do in Chicago is a rather easy task, even for those new to the city.


Chicago is filled with more than 50 museums. Throughout the year, most of these offer free days. Several, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, have a free day at least once a week. Finding free days often depends on the time of year. The larger museums tend to have fewer free days than the smaller museums. But, typically, the smaller museums, such as the Chicago History Museum and the Spertus Museum, are less crowded and offer a more intimate atmosphere. For a partial list, see the link below.


Go to the Beach

Chicago has 26 public beaches located along the lakeshore, and they are all free of admission. Two of the more popular beaches are Oak Street Beach near downtown and North Avenue Beach just north. The beaches are open year-round. In the summer, visitors can swim, sit in the sun and enjoy a cocktail at restaurants on the beach. Winter offers solitude and serenity and impressive views of the frozen shores. A paved path allow visitors to walk, run, bike and rollerblade along much of the city's lakeshore.

Chicago Park District
(312) 742-3224

Sit In Millennium Park

Chicago's 24-acre Millennium Park is the most prominent addition to the city's vast collection of public parks. World-class architecture and art present themselves around every corner. Famous architect Frank Gehry designed its outdoor music pavilion. The park is also home to the Lurie Garden, which features hundreds of species of local and exotic plants. In the winter, visitors can ice skate on a rink off Michigan Avenue; rentals are available.

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


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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