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Free things to do in Chicago

Five free things to do in Chicago
Buildings along the Chicago river” taken by David B Gleason is licensed under CC by 2.0

Five Free Things to do in Chicago:


After New York and Los Angeles, Chicago has the most residents of all US cities.

Chicago is famous for its culture. Musically, it is renowned for its jazz, blues and soul. For the more artistically inclined; the Art institute of Chicago has the biggest collection of impressionist paintings outside the Louvre in Paris.

This city is also home to the Bulls, Bears and Cubs (yep we are talking sports teams!) and don’t forget its world famous deep dish pizza!

With all that in mind we present to you our list of the top five free things to do in Chicago:



5. Millenium Park


Millenium park is one of the free things to do in Chicago

Although named Millenium park, the first thing on our list of free things to do in Chicago didn’t actually open until 2004 – four years behind schedule.

There is a range of modern architecture in the park and it hosts multiple events and concerts a year which are also free to go to.

The Jay Pritzker Pavillion (pictured) was designed by Frank Gehry, a world famous archititect behind buildings such as the Art gallery of Ontario, Toronto, the Walt Disney Concert hall in Los Angeles and the Dancing House in Prague.



4. Garfield Park Conservatory


Garfield park conservatory is one of the free things to do in Chicago



If you ever need to take a break away from the hustle and bustle of downtown then number four on our list of free things to do in Chicago is perfect. At Garfield Park Conservatory you are able to walk through the gardens and conservatory rooms at your own pace, and take in the flowers, plants and displays at your leisure.

The park takes up around 4.5 acres and is one of the largest conservatories in the United states.

There is even a demonstration garden where you can see a master gardener doing what they do best!



3. Chicago Museums free days


Adler planetarium is one of the free things to do in Chicago
Adler Planetarium via CBS Chicago

Unfortunately most of the museums in Chicago cost money to get into – this is not good news for us! However, every cloud has a silver lining, and this time it comes in the form of the Chicago museums free days program.

These are different days for every museum so it doesn’t matter which day of the month you visit Chicago as it is likely at least one museum will be offering free entry. The museums do each have their own restrictions which you should also bear in mind.

Click here to see the full list of museums and which day they offer free entry.



2. Lincoln park Zoo


Lincoln park Zoo is one of the free things to do in Chicago

One of the few free zoos in the world, and number two on our list of free things to do in Chicago, Lincoln Park zoo is surely worthy of a visit if you are in Chicago.

It boasts an abundance of different animal species and aims to educate visitors nad protect wildlife around the world.

It is home to all sorts of animals; from tigers to fruit bats, from pythons to camels, and from eagles to exotic toads. It is perfect for families as well as it has multiple events throughout the year which are aimed at children (and for the children-at-heart).

If you have an interest in conservation or just want to see some cool animals that you wouldn’t usually find in Chicago’s town centre then come along! To find out how to get here and for opening hours check the Lincoln park zoo website.



1. Chicago Greeters


Number one on our list of free things to do in Chicago is the Chicago greeter program.

Who knows more about a place than someone who lives there? Exactly!

The Chicago greeter program is essentially where a volunteer will take you on a guided tour around Chicago, for free!

The tours come in 11 different languages, you can visit 25 diverse neighbourhoods of Chicago and visit over 40 different tourist destinations in the area. You cam even book a greeter at the last minute if you need to!

This is a valuable opportunity, only available due to the generous volunteers of Chicago you should make the most of it if you do get the opportunity! The Greeter website is here.




That concludes our list of the top five free things to do in Chicago, if you have anything to add feel free to leave a comment!






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