Chicago is one of the most bustling, exciting and cultural cities in all of America. There's definitely no shortage of super fun activities to take part in in this amazing city.
Although this city can get pretty pricey, there's still a bunch of fun ways to save money when exploring Chicago. Whether you're a Chicago resident or you're visiting for a short vacation, these are some really great spots in the city that should be on your bucket list.
There's no need to break the bank when exploring this city!
30. Hang out for a while at Navy Pier.
Navy Pier is a Chicago landmark and the perfect place to hang out once the weather heats up a bit. It's a 3,300 foot pier that offers views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. They also host cruises, free events and art displays all year round!
29. Take a tour of Revolution Brewery.
The Revolution Brewery in Chicago makes some seriously good beer. They offer free tours of the brewery so you can see where the magic happens first-hand but it's first come first serve! The tours take place Wednesday-Friday at 6 and 7pm or Saturday and Sundays with multiple afternoon slots.
28. Spend some time smelling the fresh flowers in Lurie Garden.
Lurie Garden is a gorgeous green space located in the heart of downtown Chicago that's open all 4 seasons. Come spring time you can find tons of wildflowers dotting the garden and making into a colourful oasis in the city.
27. Take a free tour of the sights with a Chicago Greeter.
The Chicago Greeter offers a fun and interesting program where you can see the best sights in the city from a local's point of view. Get paired up with a local and they'll show you around to all the hot spots for a 2-4 hour tour, and it's completely free!
26. Visit animals in captivity at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
The Lincoln Park Zoo is open all year long and is free all the time.
25. Visit the gorgeous flowers at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is home to tons of beautiful gardens like their aquatic garden, bonsai collection, waterfall garden, Japanese garden and so many more! It's a beautiful spot to explore once spring rolls around and admission is always free!
24. Spend some time in the quiet at the Harold Washington Library.
The Harold Washington Library is the biggest and most beautiful public library in all of Chicago. The architecture and beauty of this library is enough to take your breath away and it's the perfect place to visit, catch up with work and peruse the isles of books.
23. Watch an improv show at The Second City.
The Second City is a famous comedy house that has multiple locations across North America. Yes, most of their shows require you to pay some money to see them but a lot of their improv shows are completely free!
22. Spend a sunny day in Grant Park.
Grant Park is one of the best parks in the entire city for free events, festivals and just to spend some time once the weather gets nice again. There's also public art and even some fountain shows in the summer.
21. Wander through the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
Spending an afternoon at the Museum of Contemporary Photography will cost you nothing but give you so much! It offers works presenting a wide range of aesthetics using different technologies that is constantly showing new talent.
20. Hang out among the plants at the Garfield Park Conservatory.
Admission to this beautiful green oasis in the city is completely free all year round! They're currently promoting their amazing spring flower show until mid-May while the flowers are blooming and creating a colourful paradise.
19. Admire the beauty of the Chicago Cultural Centre.
The Chicago Cultural Centre is known for it's breathing architecture and it's numerous public events that are always free! You can take pictures and admire the stunning stained-glass domes and then enjoy a free event like their art installations.
18. Visit the Buckingham Fountain at night.
The Buckingham Fountain is located in the centre of Grant Park and is a truly magnificent sight. At night the fountain lights up and looks beautiful against the background of the Chicago city skyline.
17. Visit the Jane Addams Hull House museum.
Jane Addams is a prominent figure in Chicago history who's known for her social work efforts. She was a pioneer through her writing and activism for women's rights and world peace. She founded the Hull House as a settlement house as residents moved into the Chicago area.
16. Explore the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park.
This beautiful sculpture park is open all year round is completely free to the public. It's home to over 60 sculptures created by local artists displaying the true talent that lies in this city.
15. Wander through the exhibits at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Mexico through their vibrant artwork. Experience over 3,000 years of creativity and artistic talent and really get a taste of what this country has to offer.
14. Be a tourist for a day and visit the Chicago Bean.
Sure this is one of the most touristy spots you can visit in all of Chicago, but it's also a pretty unique and special place. Visit early in the morning or super late at night and avoid the crowds while you get some really pretty shots!
13. Enjoy an afternoon of window shopping on The Magnificent Mile.
It may be difficult to refrain yourself from actually buying anything, but the Magnificent Mile is home to the best window shopping in Chicago! Walk past tons of shops, boutiques and restaurants and then maybe treat yourself to a coffee at a cute cafe.
12. Enjoy sunset views of the city at Promontory Point.
On a nice warm day, head out to Promontory Point for some of the best views of the city skyline in all of Chicago. It's a great place in the summer for swimming and water sports but for now, just use it as a great viewpoint!
11. Go for a sunny stroll or bike along the Chicago Lakefront Trail.
Chicago's Lakefront Trail lies right beside Lake Michigan and is super popular once the weather warms up. Enjoy a casual stroll, a fun bike ride, a sweaty run or anything you want along this scenic path!
10. Go for a casual bike ride along The 606.
The 606 used to be an elevated railroad and has since been turned into a biking and walking path for pedestrians to enjoy. Choose a sunny day to pull out the bikes and go for a ride or go for a stroll and soak up the sun!
9. Explore the ancient world at the Oriental Institute.
The Oriental Institute is located Hyde Park and showcases history, art, and archeology from the Oriental world. Admission is completely free to experience something completely unique and cultured right here in Chicago.
8. Take in the delicious smells at the Maxwell Street Market.
The Maxwell Street Market is a year-round market featuring amazing street food. Admission to the market is completely free but if you want to indulge in a treat you'll have to pay a little something.
7. Indulge in free wings at Burwood Tap.
The Burwood Tap is a great local watering hole that serves amazing beer, has pool tables and live music. But the best thing that they offer is their free wings every Monday through Thursday starting at 8:30pm.
6. Admire the city's architecture from the Chicago Riverwalk.
Instead of taking a boat tour you can walk along the Chicago River for free and see the exact same sights. It spans 125 miles and features tons of vendors selling food and drinks!
5. Visit the exciting Chicago Design Museum.
The Chicago Design Museum is a place for creativity, art, technology and innovation to come together to create new and exciting things. They're always hosting new exhibits, workshops, digital media, and so much more that you never know what you're going to find here!
4. Take a self-guided tour of the Chicago Pedway System.
The Chicago Pedway System is an underground pedestrian walkway located in the downtown area. It spans across 40 blocks and links tons of things like restaurants, shops, subways stops and more! It's a great way to escape the cold chill of winter but also a fun place to explore the maze-like tunnels.
3. Watch the sunrise in Humboldt Park.
This 219 acre park located in the west side of Chicago is the perfect place to catch a beautiful morning sunrise. In this park you can find historic lagoons, iconic field houses, an inland beach and you can view the sunrise over Lake Michigan!
2. Watch a performance at the Free Street Theatre.
The Free Street Theatre is an amazing place because it allows artists to express themselves freely in a safe space and for the public to come and watch some free performances.
1. Pretend you're a kid again at Maggie Daley Park.
Maggie Daley Park is a public park that will definitely bring out your inner child. In this park you'll find an ice skating ribbon, an outdoor climbing wall, mini golf, tennis courts and picnic groves!