Chicago Free Things to Do Overview

Clark and Belmont - Outdoor Activity | Shopping Area in Chicago

Chicago offers plenty of free activities for the thrifty traveler or the unemployed local to occupy their time. From parks to shopping districts to street festivals, it is easy to find free activities in Chicago, especially in the warmer months.

The most notable free thing to do in Chicago is Millennium Park. A visit to this Chicago landmark is certainly not to be missed, and it is easy to spend hours wandering the park’s grounds and admiring the unique architecture. A must-see is certainly “The Bean,” which can be a source of entertainment all on its own!

Avid window-shoppers should check out the Magnificent Mile. Although the items in the shops along the famous stretch are far from free, a traverse down Michigan Avenue affords some great views of Chicago’s most famous landmarks, including the Old Water Tower and the Tribune Tower. For a more down-to-earth window shopping experience, check out Division Street in Wicker Park.

Summertime is a great time to be in Chicago, because many of Chicago’s outdoor activities are completely free. North Avenue Beach is overflowing with swimsuit-clad bodies on hot days, and the Lincoln Park Zoo is one of Chicago’s most entertaining free attractions. In fact, Lincoln Park is Chicago’s largest park and can be a full-day attraction in itself.

Make sure to check out the summer street festivals as well. Many of the fests offer free entry and feature local music and art.

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