Free Things to Do in Chicago

THE 10 BEST Free Things to Do in Chicago

Best Free Things to Do in Chicago

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228 places sorted by traveller favourites
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
Showing results 1-30 of 228

What travellers are saying

  • Sanna
    Finland497 contributions
    It was my first time visiting Chicago so naturally I wanted to see the Bean (or Cloud Gate), but unfortunately it was closed from the public during our visit. Millennium Park was still nice though – it's an inviting location with immediate access to the Lakefront and the Riverwalk and Lakefront trails. It's probably even prettier in the summer, although this time around we got to enjoy the quiet and peaceful park with not many visitors. Views of the skyline are great.
    Written 19 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Mohammad Abbas S
    Karachi, Pakistan8 contributions
    It was very cold but Chicago is equipped to handle the cold spells so no disruptions in my plans. Chicago is always a wonderful place to visit
    Written 24 January 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Louie F
    3 contributions

    Cloud Gate is a must-see in Chicago. This iconic silver bean in Millennium Park reflects the city's energy and offers a unique interactive experience. Whether you're capturing distorted selfies or enjoying the skyline backdrop, it's a captivating symbol of Chicago's artistic charm.
    Written 25 December 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • jronkowski
    Chicago, IL202 contributions
    This is a great FREE zoo in Lincoln park . The food , snacks , and parking are expensive . Bring your own food and drink and take Convienent public transportation. Nearby north pond with birds , Peggy Notebaart nature museum , and free Caldwell lily ponds . There are all sorts of gardens and green areas nearby.
    Written 20 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sanna
    Finland497 contributions
    The Riverwalk was nice and serene for a leisurely walk during sunset, we combined parts of it with the Lakefront Trail that overlooks Lake Michigan, before looping into Millennium Park. Lots of Canada geese, which made it feel more like you were out in nature.
    Written 19 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • J h
    usa74 contributions
    Beautiful building . Take a walk up the stair case to view at all the exquisite elements of the interior design.
    Be careful if you are sensitive to smells right now. There is an art installation of some type of plastic/ rubbery covered hoses that his covered some of the beauty of the staircase. There is an out-gassing which stinks. I feel sorry for the staff and concerned for their health. You may need to check to learn if this has been removed.
    Written 15 November 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • matt w
    Boston, MA3 contributions
    While the wife was doing a little shopping, a Pier worker kept me occupied with my touristy questions. I believe his name was George he's very informative and friendly!!
    Written 17 November 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • hrobinson1114
    Nashville, TN2,788 contributions
    I’ve been to Chicago several times, but always in the fall, so the fountain has always been turned off. I had high hopes going here, but it didn’t rate five stars.

    The fountain is open 8 AM to 11 PM, May through October. There is supposed to be a nighttime light and music show, but the night I went, it was just the regular lights. It’s supposed to be every hour on the hour, so I waited quite some time to no avail.

    It wasn’t five stars for me for the following reasons: no light and music show as promised, no benches or seating (maybe it was moved for lollapalooza, but doubtful), and there were tons of those annoying cycle rickshaws wrapped in neon lights. They just kept circling around the fountain blasting Miley Cyrus.

    This is a neat display, and is one of the largest fountains in the world, so it’s worth a visit, but the city could make it more hospitable to visitors with some seating and actually stick to the show schedule.
    Written 2 August 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • TravelerPaul_12
    Saint Paul, MN152 contributions
    Very pleasant experience walking through the variety of rooms with plants from different environments - tropics, desert, etc. One room depicts what Chicago looked like a million years ago. An outdoor section includes plants demonstrating "bit ideas for small city spaces". Easily viewable in about an hour, but someone can take longer if they want to. Just a few steps from Green Line stop.
    Written 1 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Sanna
    Finland497 contributions
    We only walked a small part of the Lakefront Trail (combining it to the Chicago Riverwalk) but it was great for a leisurely walk during sunset, admiring the views over Lake Michigan. It was pretty quiet and serene, water was still and geese were floating on the water. Good activity to end the day with. Loops into Millennium Park.
    Written 19 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • pglover4
    Solihull, UK127 contributions
    Just returned from our Route 66 trip with Titan. A great adventure helped massively by the professionalism and efficiency of our tour guide Steve Pritchard. Lots of additions to the trip were included and made the early starts and long days more amenable. We began the tour in Chicago on Sunday 3rd Sept and ended 2500 miles later in Santa Monica on Monday 18th Sept. Very tired and coached out after many early days and long road journeys. Although most of the trip was enjoyable, my criticism of it was that many of the hotels we stayed in were located out of town, which meant expensive meals at the hotel or fast food joints for evening meals. Some of these hotels need to be reviewed by Titan as their indicated star system was very generous. Example the “4” star Tropicana in Las Vegas. No fridge, no tea/coffee facilities, dirty carpets and bed sheets that were at best ok.
    Also the route planning meant only 4 meals were included which were breakfasts at 4 hotels. I would have preferred Titan to arrange breakfasts for ALL the hotels we stayed in which would have set us up better for the days long coach drives. Although the tour guide did his best to get us to feeding places, the nature of the trip meant sometimes this was just not possible, so a service type station became our only source of food. I definitely don't need to see a Subway, McDonalds or Starbucks for a long time. These road trips rely heavily on the ability of the tour guide to make it interesting by taking the party to parts of the tour that maybe are not advertised in the brochure, we were lucky that Steve was able to do this and some of those places evoked memories of days past and put you right back to the early days of the road. The characters and owners of those places were great people to talk to and share stories with.
    The other factor you need on these coach tours of course are friendly passengers. Which we had. Everyone got on well, and some more than others. Those people will remain friends for a long time.
    Overall a great adventure. Highly recommended. Some tweeks by Titan to look at hotel locations and meal arrangements would improve it immensely.

    Some tips for potential adventures -
    Take a travel kettle - some hotels don't supply tea/coffee making equipment
    Take your favourite english tea bags.(lots of them)
    Take English snacks with you - crisps, biscuits, breakfast bars
    We took packet porridge for early morning starts rather than trying to find breakfast meal locations

    Written 21 September 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Twinsmom99
    Dyer, IN555 contributions
    Such a neat place to visit. So nice to see greenery in the middle of winter. Close to Lincoln park zoo too. And it’s free- you just have to make a reservation.
    Written 10 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • sweenee32018
    Knoxville, TN87 contributions
    We attended Catholic Mass here. When we walked into the Cathedral we were impressed with the beautiful architecture. They have tours after the 8:00 and 10:00 Sunday masses.
    Written 21 January 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Irina
    United States10,938 contributions
    Lincoln Park was established in the North Side of Chicago in 1860, and in 1865 the park was named to honor the assassinated US President Abraham Lincoln.

    Lincoln Park is the largest city park, that stretches for 7 mi (11 km) along the Lake Michigan and Lake Front Trail. The 490-hectare park is very attractive: it has a lot of trees and grass grounds, winding walkways, a zoo, ponds, fountains, statues and monuments, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago History Museum.

    The park also has many facilities for recreational activities: playgrounds, various sports courts and fields, golf course, beaches and boating facilities. The park is very pet-friendly, and squirrels are very friendly towards the visitors! Street parking is available near the park, and also on the parking lot in front of the zoo.

    We spent several hours -- mainly in the south area of the park -- walking around, admiring nature, looking at statues, and enjoying the picturesque views of the Chicago Skyline.

    The artworks we saw in Lincoln Park are unforgettable: the sculptures of the world-renowned writers -- Schiller, Goethe, Shakespeare, Andersen, the monuments of the prominent US public figures and statesmen -- Franklin, Hamilton, Grant, Lincoln.

    We visited Lincoln Park a week ago, and enjoyed it very much. I imagine, how beautiful Lincoln Park must be in summer!

    Lincoln Park is one of the most visited public parks in the US: about 20 million people visit the park every year.
    Written 19 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Bill B
    Bel Air, MD8,171 contributions
    My Chicago Skyline photos are a favorite among friends. The span of over 100 years of history represented by these magnificent structures is impressive. All have their own unique way to reflect the sun and sky, whether it be cut and polished stone, terra cotta, or glass. I enjoyed different vantage points ... the highways entering the city, upper level rooms and patios, and street and river level views upward. My photos are helpful in deciding which buildings would be good for further up-close tours and scrutiny.
    Written 23 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.