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7 Free Things to do in the Windy City- Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Skyline

I am happy to say that tomorrow we are heading to Chicago and have a few museums/attractions we are planning on doing while in Chicago. However, we also wanted to do a few free attractions or events while soaking up the Chicago vibe. With that in mind, I did some searching and found 7 free activities that sound fun and interesting to do while in Chicago. 

Chicago Cultural Center

This first one is the Chicago Cultural Center. I have actually been there once, and enjoyed it quite a bit. For those of you who are not aware of this Cultural Center, it is a historical landmark which hosts hundreds of free programs year-round. The building has two unbelievable stained-glass domes, which you can see on your own or on a free building tour. The many halls regularly hosts free events, from weekly classical music concerts to blues, jazz and more. Also look on the daily Cultural Center schedule for free dance performances, film screenings, seminars and theater events. Definitely worth checking out while in the area.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The next thing on our list is the Lincoln Park Zoo. We have never been there, but have heard a lot about it. As one of only a few free zoos in the country, Lincoln Park Zoo covers over 35 acres and features tigers, polar bears, lions and more than 230 other species of animals. The Farm in the Zoo and Nature Boardwalk bring you up close and personal with the animal world. The Lincoln Park Zoo sounds like a blast, and how can you go wrong with free?

Revolution Brewery Tour

According to the Revolution Brewing website, they are Illinois’ largest craft brewery. Their brewpub in Chicago’s Logan Square is a bustling, neighborhood institution where friends and families meet to enjoy the freshest beer in town.  The growth of craft breweries in the U.S. has been nothing short of a revolution and they are proud to be standing tall in this new crowd.  Check out the Revolution Brewery website for tour times and more info.

Navy Pier

This is another place I have been, but Gene hasn’t. The Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most recognizable landmarks boasts gorgeous lakefront views. You can take a stroll and enjoy the breezes, admission is free to the pier’s boardwalk. Summer features free weekly fireworks Wednesday and Saturday evenings as well as free outdoor concerts in the LandShark Beer Garden. They also have tons of restaurants and you can see the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse from the end of the pier. Can’t wait to visit  the pier again.

Chicago Greeter Program

Let a friendly, knowledgeable local give you an insider’s orientation to Chicago!  Register at least 10 business days in advance for a free 2-4 hour guided visit of Chicago. Greeter visits are customized based on your choice of neighborhoods, language and interests.  They have over 200 enthusiastic volunteers waiting to share their expertise and passion about the city with you! Check out their Greeter Website for more information.

Millenium Park

Visiting Millennium Park is also a free event that we have heard a lot about. It is one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions and features larger-than-life public art (apparently they suggest that we don’t miss Cloud Gate for a mirrored look at the skyline or splashing in Crown Fountain during warm weather months); a cutting edge performance stage (the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Prizker Pavilion) featuring free concerts all summer; and the all-seasons beauty Lurie Garden. Be sure to check out the Millennium Park schedule for a listing of upcoming events.

Buckingham Fountain

Another thing that sounds interesting is seeing a free water display every hour at the Buckingham Fountain. They do this from mid-April to mid-October. The best time to go is between dusk and 10 p.m., when the fountain’s 133 spouting jets are accompanied by a music and light display. Will definitely have to try to catch one of these shows.

Hope some of these free events / attractions interest you if you are in the Chicago area. Enjoy and please feel free to send feedback. Would love to hear from you 🙂


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