Like any city, you can spend a lot of money in Chicago... but you don't have to!  Here are some free things to do in Chicago, and cheap things to do in Chicago.


Movies in the Park: Chicago Park District Facebook

Movies in the Park: Chicago Park District Facebook

Watch a Free Movie in the Park

Chicago's Park District has organized a series of free movies throughout the city's many parks.  View the full schedule >

Attend a Free concert in Millennium Park

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Millennium Park hosts free concerts from June 1 - July 23.  More info >

Visit Lincoln Park Zoo

This free-admission zoo is situated in Lincoln Park, just west of Lake Michigan.  Visit the zoo then wander the park for a nice view of the city and lake!  More info >

Chicago Street Festival: cityofchicago.org

Chicago Street Festival: cityofchicago.org

Check out a Summer Street Festival

Summer in Chicago means on any given weekend, there's a festival (or two or three) going on.  Each neighborhood in the city hosts their own street festival throughout the summer months, many which are free (or a suggested $5 donation). Festival Guide >

Explore the Chicago Pedway system

This underground walk-way system is a well kept secret to many tourists and locals alike.  Spanning 40 city blocks, the Pedway connects various business, shopping malls, and pubic transportation hubs.  Take a free guided tour >

Signature Room Lounge: Signature Room Facebook

Signature Room Lounge: Signature Room Facebook

Visit the Signature Room Lounge

Want breathtaking views but don't want to pay the hefty admission at Willis Tower?  Head to the John Hancock Center and take the free elevator up to the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th floor.  You're required to buy a drink, but you'll still come out ahead.  Some even argue this view is better than the Willis Tower!  More info >

Visit the Botanic Garden

Free-admission, includes 26 gardens, four natural areas, and six miles of lake shoreline.  More info >

Drink Booze & Eat Pizza at Boiler Room

PBR tall boy + a shot of Jameson + a slice of Pizza = $8.50.  No joke, and the pizza is GOOD!  Note, it's cash only... but you get a free shot of Jameson if you use their ATM machine.  More info >

North Pond: lincolnparkconservancy.org

North Pond: lincolnparkconservancy.org

Relax at the North Pond Nature Sancuary

If you want to escape the bustling energy of the city, there's no better place than the North Pond Nature Sanctuary. Located in the Lincoln Park Conservatory, you'll find beautiful wild flowers, turtles, ducks, and more.  More info >

Tour a Brewery

Like beer?  So do we.  Check out one of Chicago's brewery tours.  Free tours in the area include 3 Floyds Brewing Co., Atlas Brewing, Lagunitas, Revolution, and Two Brothers.  Check out this Chicago Brewery Tours Guide from TimeOut Chicago >

Visit the Money Museum

Ever wonder what a million dollars looks like?  You can see for yourself here.  This free museum is open to the public year-round.  More info >

Museum of Contemporary Photography: mocp.org

Museum of Contemporary Photography: mocp.org

Visit The Museum of Contemporary Photography

Founded by Columbia College Chicago in 1976, The MOCP is one of the leading photography museums in the Midwest. More info >

Go Inside the Chicago Watertower

Located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Water Tower now hosts the City Gallery, showcasing the work of local photographers and artists.  Admission is free.  More info >

Visit The Smart Museum of Art

As the fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, this free museum hosts many thought-provoking exhibitions from a wide range of eras.  More info >

Garfield Park Conservatory: GPC Facebook

Garfield Park Conservatory: GPC Facebook

Visit the Garfield Park Conservatory

Containing six greenhouses and two grand exhibition halls, this is one of the nations largest greenhouse conservatories. Often referred to as "Landscape Art Under Glass", if you like plants, go here.  More info >

Take a Guided Tour of a Chicago Neighborhood

Based on your neighborhood choice, take a free guided tour from a knowledgable local through Chicago Greeter.