18 FREE activities in Chicago

Traveling low budget in a big US city isn’t always easy. The as “must-see” advirtised activities are tempting even though they often cost a little fortune. Check out 18 completely FREE activities in Chicago so you can be sure to have fun and save money at the same time when you come visit this awesome city (yeah it’s my favorite hihi). There is something cool to do all year round!

  1. See animals and lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

    Chicago provides you with a free wildlife experience every day all year round. But not only in the hot summer months it’s fun to hang out here, but also during the cold winters. Lincoln Park Zoo is equipped with an ice rink every year when the temperatures drop. Besides that the entire park is illuminated around Christmastime: The Chicago Zoo Lights is an amazing attraction during the jolly season.

  2. Play beach volleyball at North Avenue Beach

    Whenever you need a break from the busy big city life, you can relax at North Ave Beach. Play beach volleyball, swim, chill and get some drinks at Castaways while dancing to the vibes of the DJ. There is an anual Air and Water Show which is pretty cool to watch and it’s always packed.

  3. Enjoy festivals and parades

    There is always something going on in Chicago. From parades at every big American holiday to farmers markets and food festivals; There is something for every individual. Check out the Event calendar when you’re in town.

  4. Watch movies at Millenium Park

    Free movies are presented on tuesday nights during the summer (June to August) at Millenium Park. Bring some food and drinks and have a picnic while watching crowd-pleasing movies.

  5. Listen to music: Also at Millenium Park

    IMG_3811Besides movie night on tuesdays Millenium Park also offers a selection of free conserts mostly classical orchestra on weekends and some wednesdays. Here also applies, make yourself comfortable with a picnic on the Great Lawn at Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

  6. Be amazed by fireworks at Navy Pier

    Every Wednesday (9:30pm) and Saturday (10:15pm) from May through September. You can see the fireworks from several spots in the city but I recommend to sit somewhere along the shore for the best view.

  7. Get free access to museums with a Chicago Public Library card


    Listen up Chicago residents and especially Au Pairs. When you get the Chicago Public Library card you are able to check out free passes to 15 of Chicago’s finest museums (i.e. Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium etc.). Just take your ID to any CPL and ask for a library card.

  8. Stroll through the beautiful Chicago Botanic Gardens

    IMG_952225 miles north of the busy Chicago Loop a blooming paradise invites you to stroll through, relax and enjoy. Admission is always free but there is a parking fee at the Botanic Gardens that varies from 25-30$ depending on the weekday. Save yourself that pocket money and park in a nearby street or take the train from downtown to Braeside Metra Station.

  9. Girls! Go clubbing without cover fee

    Good news for all the ladies: As everywhere else in the US there is almost no clubs or bars with an entrance fee. The boys pay at some locations but also very rarely. So get dressed up and hit the clubs because ? A little party never killed nobody..

  10. Catch a view of the whole city from up above at the Hancock Tower

    IMG_0698 (1)
    To get a good view of this amazing city I can only recommend the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower. It’s an affordable bar with drinks starting at 9$. But I also come here without ordering anything sometimes. Just wait in line until they give you a table and get up before you order to take in the view and capture the view in pictures.

  11. Bring your skates and go ice skating

    IMG_1115The summer months are fun in Chicago but also the winter has it’s highlights in this city. Go ice skating at Millenium Park or at the in 2015 opened Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park. If you bring your own skates you skate for free. If not you can rent them for 12$.
    PS: Both locations offer you a stunning view of the skyline.

  12. Explore one of only seven Baha’i Temples in the world

    Located in Wilmette, 20 miles north of the Loop, there is a space for all people to commune with God. All religions, races and people are welcome. The temple is a beautiful piece of architecture.

  13. Walk along the Chicago River

    Stroll along the Chicago River and pass by cute coffee shops and enormous skyscrapers.

  14. FREE Walking Tours of Chicago

    Because why pay for it when you can do it for free?! Check out this website for free tours by foot and explore areas like Millenium Park, the Loop, Lincoln Park and many more.

  15. Rummage in books at Harrold Wahsington Library

    IMG_5322Go to the main Chicago Public Library if you’re into books or if you want to enjoy this awesome winter garden – one of my favorite places to hang out in the city.

  16. Go window shopping at the Magnificent Mile

    IMG_9834Even if you’re not rich it’s fun to stroll through the stores and it’s great people watching!

  17. Play chess with a view!

    IMG_9820Too bad I don’t know how to play..

  18. Or any other sport

    IMG_9809No matter what kind of sport you are into. Chicago has a place for almost every sports junkie and it’s always with a view!

5 thoughts on “18 FREE activities in Chicago”

    1. Glad you liked it Stephanie 🙂
      Yeah, the CPL card is awesome! I used it all the time to check out museum passes when I lived in Lakeview.

  1. Hallo Laura,
    ich habe von deiner Seite erfahren und mich hat das sehr gefreut, was ich gesehen habe!
    Toll, dass du deinen Weg gefunden hast – good things happen to good people 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *