10 Best Free Things to Do in Chicago Today

When exploring the great city of Chicago, you don’t always have to break the bank. There are so many free things to do in Chicago today with friends, so we’ve put together a list of 10 year-round things to do that won’t cost you any money.

Chicago Cultural Center
Photo Credit: Chicago Cultural Center Facebook

Chicago Cultural Center

If you’re searching for free things to do in Chicago today, we recommend visiting The Cultural Center, a free municipal cultural venue. Its constant support of music and the arts is a great way for you to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the city. 

Millennium Park
Photo Credit: Millennium Park Facebook

Millennium Park 

Millennium Park has something for everyone, including a concert venue, an art museum, and a beautiful garden space. During the winter, there’s ice skating, and during the summer, you can watch free movies, enjoy the summer dance series, and encounter plenty of free festivals. 

local chicago
Photo Credit: Open House Chicago

Garfield Park Conservatory

This conservatory is one of the largest in the world and is full of life (literally). The tropical Palm House or the Desert House is a great place to escape the harsh Chicago winters, even just for a day. If you’re researching free things to do in Chicago today, this plant-filled oasis with over two acres of gardens is available to the public 365 days a year.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

Looking for a place to take an animal lover? Let them go wild at Lincoln Park Zoo, where they can see animals from every climate. This is one of the last free zoos in the country and is dedicated to conservation and science. 

best free things to do
Photo Credit: Navy Pier

Navy Pier

As one of Chicago’s most popular attractions, you’ll be sure to have a great time at Navy Pier. The Pier extends half a mile into Lake Michigan, providing visitors with stunning views and a bit of exercise! Though some of the attractions at Navy Pier cost a little money, it also provides plenty of free things to do in Chicago this weekend — including the Miller Lite Beer Garden. 

Photo Credit: Revolution Brewing

Revolution Brewery

Wednesday through Friday, visitors can take a free brewery tour at Revolution Brewery for a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery and distribution center. Learn about this local beer brand and where they fill their kegs and cans, and take home a souvenir koozie!

Museum of Mexican Art
National Museum of Mexican Art Facebook

National Museum of Mexican Art

Located in Pilsen, the National Museum of Mexican Art is the only museum in Chicago that is dedicated to Latino culture and is part of the American Alliance of Museums. With over 9,000 examples of Mexican art from the past and present, you can tour the museum for free, though a donation is suggested. 

best free things to do
Photo Credit: Newberry Library

Newberry Library

This world-renowned independent research library offers free tours that are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 am. Browse this collection of rare books, maps, and other printed material from the last six centuries!

Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park Instagram

Maggie Daley Park

Located on the northeast corner of Grant Park lies a giant playground called Maggie Daley Park. This recreation center sits on the lakefront and is open year-round. In the summer, you can test out the climbing wall, and in the winter, you can enjoy the skating ribbon. This is a perfect place for families to spend time together!

best free things to do
Photo Credit: Hyde Park Art Center

Hyde Park Art Center

Operating in Chicago since 1939, this art center offers a community for creativity. The center offers studio space, artist talks, exhibitions, and more – all of which are free and open to the public!


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