10 Events and Free Activities in Chicago this June

This June, all roads lead to the City in a Garden, as there are lots of free activities in Chicago lined up for fun lovers from all over the world. Whatever your definition of fun is, Chicago has it in abundance for you. From music to art, sports, hot gossip, and lots more. Here are some of the free events in Chicago today. Read on as we go down the merry list. 

Top Free Events in Chicago this June

1. The Annual Pride Festival (June 22nd – 23rd)


Chicago hosts the famous Chicago Pride Festival this June and attendance is absolutely free. This year’s edition of Pride Festival has lots of fun activities lined up for you and your family such as parties, parades, exhibitions, museum nights, and lots more. Go paint the city of Chicago rainbow as you have fun while celebrating the uniqueness of every gay in Chicago and beyond. 

2. Millennium Park Music Festival 


One of the free family things to do in Chicago today is to visit the famous Millennium Park music festival. This free event near you in Chicago is stocked up with the Chicago gospel music festival(June 1), Blues Festival (June 6th to 9th), House Music Festival (June 2nd), and the age-long Grant Park Music Festival (June 12th to August 17th). This will be an opportunity to watch local choir groups and iconic singers showcase their talents.

3. The Thrilling Juneteenth Celebration 


To mark the end of slavery in the US, Juneteenth is celebrated in June. It is the best time to soak in Black History and celebrate black heroes, culture, and every Black person. There are lots of free events near me here in Chicago that I can recommend to make the Juneteenth celebration fun for you. These events include the Garfield Park Festival, Freedom Celebration, and Village Festival.

4. Join The New Neighborhood 


This is the best time of year to get to know Chicago as lots of friendly locals are ready to give you a tour. The popular Greeter Tours is open to anyone who wants to tour Chicago for free. The friendly locals can also organize a neighborhood walk with you alone if you don’t want a group tour. These friendly locals are well-trained and certified to lead tourists, so you are in safe hands. Additionally, they can communicate in over 12 different languages. 

The Greeter Tour group has scheduled a tour of the following places

  • Chinatown and South Loop on June 1
  • Bronzeville and Pilsen on June 8
  • Rogers Park and Uptown on June 15
  • Lincoln Square on June 22
  • South Shore and Hyde Park on June 29

5. A Neighborhood Event Near You 

There is hardly a dull moment in Chicago this month of June. To feel the energetic German vibes, attend the Maifest Chicago which holds from May 30 to June 2. For one of the most colorful art experiences, attend the 57th Street Art Fair at Hyde Park on June 1 – 2. To get soaked in the exotic Puerto Rican energy, attend the Puerto Rican Day People’s Parade in Humboldt Park on June 8. For the lovely blend of Chicago energy from different angles, visit Rogers Park on June 15 for the Chicago pop-up event.


6. This Year Edition of Free Museum Day

What better way to get immersed in the rich cultural history of the people of Chicago than to visit their roots? The Chicago Museum holds fascinating and mind-boggling art passed down from generation to generation. This month, the free museums offered include the Field Museum every Wednesday, the Museum of Contemporary Arts every Tuesday, Shedd Aquarium every Thursday evening, Adler Planetarium every Wednesday evening, DuSable Black History Museum every Wednesday, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Chicago History Museum on June 19, 23, 26, and 29. Apart from these free museum days, you can also choose to visit the all-time free museums in Chicago. 


7. A Typical Chicago’s Dance Scene

The legendary Chicago dance moves which cut across different genres will be on full display this month. The Chicago Dance Month started 21 years ago and has come to stay as it presents parts of the June fun and free activities in Chicago. This year’s edition starts on June 1 with a dance performance at Navy Pier. It will be the best time to learn those energetic Chicago moves with ease. 

8. The Lakefront Summer Fireworks

Chicago summer is not complete without the colorful and glamorous display of fireworks at Navy Pier. It takes place at 9 pm every Wednesday and 10 pm every Saturday. One of the best places to watch the display is at the Lakefront, Offshore Rooftop, and the Beer Garden. 

9. Have Beachy Fun

Summer is never complete for beach lovers without a beachy experience. Sweetly, it is one of the cheap things to do in Chicago this June as dozens of beaches are open for free. Whatever beach activity you enjoy, dive into them in places like North Avenue Beach, Foster Beach, Lakefront Trail, and South Shore Beach. 

10. THE MART Art

free activities in chicago

Are you ready for some intriguing art display? Inspired by fire, earth, and wine, this year’s edition of Art On The Mart kicks off on June 6. Any art lover in Chicago would not want to miss such a grand opportunity to witness this display commissioned by the great Cory Arcangel. 

Pick of  Must-Visit Free Museums in Chicago

While museums are not generally free in Chicago, some museums offer free admission days. So you can add a visit to these museums to your list of free activities in Chicago.

Art Institute of Chicago 

Date: June 6th to September 26th

Free days: Thursdays 

Time: 5 pm – 8 pm


Chicago History Museum 

Date: June 19th, 23rd, 26th, and 29th, July 4th and 17th, and August 28th. 

Free days: Sunday to Saturday 

Time: All day

Griffin Museum Of Science And Industry 

Date: June 6th and 19th 

Free days: Thursday  

Time: All day 

Illinois Holocaust Museum And Education Center 

Date: May 27th and June 24th 

Time: All day 

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum 

Date: May to October 

Free days: Sunday’s 

Time: All day 

Swedish American Museum 

Date: January to December 

Free days: Tuesdays 

Time: All day 

Museum of Contemporary Art 

Date: January to December 

Free days: Tuesdays

Time: All day 

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 

Date: January to December 

Free days: Thursdays

Time: All day 

Field Museum 

Date: January to December 

Free days: Wednesdays

Time: All day

Adler Planetarium 

Date: January to December 

Free days: Wednesdays

Time: 4:10 pm

Even though these museums offer free days, it is important to check which of them only offer free days to residents. Also, some of them require booking in advance online.

Year-Round Free Museums 

The following museums offer free admission all year round.

  • National Museum of Mexican Art
  • Chicago Cultural Center
  • Chicago Fed’s Money Museum
  • Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures 
  • Mind works
  • Jane Addams Hull-House Museum 
  • 21C Museum Hotel 
  • Smart Museum of Art 
  • National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture 
  • Hyde Park Art Center
  • Museum of Contemporary Photography 

Tips to make the most of free admission days

To ensure that you get the best out of free museum days in Chicago, do the following


  1. Check to see if booking in advance is required to avoid being turned away
  2. Go early enough to get enough time to explore 
  3. Wear clothes that you are comfortable in 
  4. Go with a friendly local or a tour guide personnel 
  5. Stick to museum rules.

Here are Parks and Outdoor Spaces that Offer the Best Free Experiences

For the best parks and outdoor experience, visit these places. 

  • Millennium Park with its side attractions such as The Bean, Crown Fountain, Pritzker Pavilion, and so many others.
  • Grant Park with its side attractions such as Buckingham Fountain, Skate Park, and lots more.
  • The 606 with its breathtakingly beautiful sights.
  • Lincoln Park features a zoo, a conservatory, and a cultural center. 
  • Garfield Park with its state-of-the-art sports facilities, conservatory, and art displays.
  • Jackson Park with its attractive garden and landscape. 
  • Northerly Island Park with its wildlife and museum campus.
  • Maggie Daley Park with its beautiful gardens and skating ribbon.
  • Humboldt Park with beautiful biking and walking trails, playgrounds, and the Jazz Festival.
  • South Shore Cultural Park with its golf course, lush garden, and picnic grove. 
  • Douglass Park with its beautiful lily pool and garden. 
  • Winnemac Park with its fireworks spots.
  • Ping Tom Memorial Park with kayak rentals for summer.

Free Activities in Chicago that Should Be on Your Radar

You will not want to miss any of the following festivals/events

  • Chicago Music Festivals such as Blues Festival, Gospel Music Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, House Music Festival/Conference, Millennium Park Summer Music Series, Chicago Jazz Festival, and World Music Festival 
  • Chicago Air and Water Show – this is the best of its kind in the US
  • Chicago Summer Dance – where you get free dance classes. 
  • Taste of Chicago – an opportunity to taste different Chicago dishes. 

Enjoy Free Live Music and Performances in Chicago

You can see live performances in the following places in Chicago. 

  • Green Mill Cocktail Lounge 
  • Blue Chicago 
  • Chicago Cultural Center 
  • Schubas 
  • Epiphany Center for the Arts 
  • Andy’s Jazz Club 
  • Jazz Showcase
  • Jay Pritzker Pavilion
  • City Winery 
  • Kingston Mines 
  • Old Town School of Folk Music 
  • Sleeping Village 
  • Riviera Theater 
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera
  • Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom 

The Best Free Scenic Walking and Biking Trails

The most sought-after walking and biking trails in Chicago include: 

  • Lakefront Trail – this 22-mile trail runs from the border of Indiana to Evanston. It runs through Jackson Park, Grant Park, Millenium Park, and Lincoln Park.
  • The 606 – this 2.7 miles trail offers a magnificent view of green spaces and art installations. 
  • Chicago Lakefront – this beautiful trail connects Millenium Park to Oak Street Beach. 
  • Bloomingdale Trail – this is often used by many because it connects different fun locations.
  • Labagh Woods – this hiking trail offers a beautiful view of the Chicago River. 

Historic Sites and Landmarks You Can Visit for Free

The following historic sites are free to visit. 

  • Chicago Cultural Center 
  • Cloud Gate
  • The iconic Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station
  • Holy Name Cathedral 
  • National Museum of Mexican Art 
  • Buckingham Fountain and its impressive water displays
  • Chicago History Museum 
  • Old Town, Pullman National Monument

Experience Chicago’s Architecture for Free

If you can read the map very well, get a map and explore the Chicago architecture for free. Guide yourself to magnificent architecture like The Rookery, Tribune Tower, Federal Plaza, Palmer House, etc. Walk along the Riverwalk to explore the great architecture along the Riverwalk. Visit the Chicago Architecture Center to witness a free exhibition. Also, visit free parks and recreation centers.

Free Family Things To Do In Chicago Today

There are lots of free family-friendly activities in Chicago such as 

  • Visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo and its family-friendly exhibits
  • Hands-on activities at the Chicago Children’s Museum on free days
  • Outdoor playgrounds and splash pads throughout the city
  • Kayaking, and indoor skydiving. 

Special Seasonal Free Activities In Chicago

  • Summer

Beach Days: Visit free beaches in Chicago such as Montrose Beach, Foster Beach, North Avenue Beach, etc. Enjoy fun activities such as diving, swimming, and lots more. 

Outdoor Movies: Enjoy movie experience in places like Ambassador Chicago, Soho House Chicago, and so many others. You can book seats ahead to avoid the last-minute rush.

  • Fall

Autumn Foliage Walks: Best parks for leaf-peeping include Palos Forest Preserve, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, Chicago Botanic Garden, etc. 

Halloween Events: For free Halloween parades and festivals, visit places like Lincoln Park, Navy Pier, etc.

  • Winter

Ice Skating: Free rinks to enjoy skating include Millennium Park, Johnny’s Icehouse, McFetridge Sports Center, etc. 

Holiday Lights: Must-see displays and festive neighborhoods in Chicago include Zoolights at Lincoln Park, the City of Chicago Christmas Tree, and lots more. 

  • Spring

Cherry Blossoms: Best spots for spring blooms include Jackson Park Cherry Blossoms, Garden of Phoenix, and lots more. 

Spring Festivals: Free events and activities include the Chicago Memorial Day Parade, the Chicago Blues Festival, etc.

Simple Tips To Help You Enjoy Your Visit


Public Transit Tips: Navigating your way through Chicago can be easier than you think. You just have to plan ahead of your movement by buying your fare ahead and using Trip Planner.

Bike Sharing: Do not miss any free events in Chicago today, download the Divvy app and get access to the bike of your choice and the best routes in Chicago. 

Local Food

Best Cheap Eats: Affordable food options near free attractions include Explorer Cafe, FaEggy’s Diner, and lots more. Theses are among the cheap things to do in Chicago.

Picnic Spots: The best places to enjoy a meal outdoors include Ping Tom Memorial Park, The Great Lawn at Millennium Park, etc.


Now that you know there are lots of free activities in Chicago to enjoy with your family and loved ones, ensure that you get the best out of these free events. We have highlighted touring guides to help you, so go have a memorable and fun stay in Chicago. Cheers.