It’s not difficult to blow through your budget if you are renting a room in Chicago. The city is full of amazing attractions, excellent food, and exciting events. However, even if you’re looking for pocket-friendly things to do in Chicago, your spending might rapidly pile up.
Fortunately, there are many free things to do in Chicago, such as the free entrance to Chicago museums and beautiful parks. Several free attractions have closed for the time being or decreased capacity to encourage social distance. Still, there are many wonderful alternatives across the city, especially if you enjoy spending time outdoors. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite free things to do in Chicago, so you don’t have to reach for your money.
Lincoln Park Zoo
You can enjoy seeing over 1,200 species, ranging from gorillas to flamingos to zebras, in one of the country’s few free zoos. The park connects tourists with animals across the globe. It contains a range of big and tiny animals, including reptiles (crocodiles, snakes, and turtles), mammals ( lions, beavers, otters, and bears) and birds (eagles, penguins, and parrots).
The Cloud Gate Sculpture, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and the Crown Fountain can all be seen in this park (24.5-acre). While Millennium Park’s normal summer activities (Millennium Park Series of Summer Music, Chicago Blues Fest, and Chicago’s Jazz Festival) are now on break, you may take a seat within one of the Great Lawn’s social gathering rings and enjoy the sky views.
Museum of Art
The Museum of Modern Art has one of the nation’s greatest collections of modern art. It routinely holds important touring shows with work like Takashi Murakami, Doris Salcedo, and Daniel Clowes. In addition, the museum’s regular Chicago series of works features works by regional artists. It also promotes emerging talent and holds workshops and discussions.
Watching Movies in the Parks
The majority of Chicago’s traditional summer activities have been cancelled this year. Still, one tradition appears to be working in this age of social isolation. Chicago’s fan-favorite Movies in the Parks series continues with a shortened roster and a lot of caution. Frozen II, Aladdin (2019), and The Lion King (2019) are among the films on the schedule. In addition, each show is restricted to 100 individuals.
Grant Park’s expanse is known as “Chicago’s front yard.” It is host to the Art Institute of Buckingham Fountain, Chicago, several public art projects, and Campus of Museum. During the summer, sections of the park are normally dominated by huge festivals and gatherings (such as Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza). However, cancellations of large crowds mean more access to one of the city’s most notable green areas. Take a walk through the North Rose Gardens, see Abraham Lincoln’s sitting statue, or walk through Magdalena Abakanowicz’s Agora sculptures at the park’s southern end.
It’s easy to blow a lot of money at this tourist trap. It is crammed with restaurants, departing boat cruises, pubs, and a massive Ferris wheel. Visitors can also enjoy the sights from Navy Pier. It includes some spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago cityscape. This summer, Navy Pier is also presenting a brimming schedule of outdoor cultural programmes, including movie screenings and concerts.
Garfield Park Conservatory
The Garfield Park Conservatory debuted in 1908. It was described as “landscape art behind glass.” It is one of the world’s largest facilities of its kind. The massive greenhouse, separated into zones such as the lush green Fern Room and cactus-filled Desert House, has over 120,000 plants representing 600 species. Only the Conservatory’s outdoor gardens, including the City Garden’s lily ponds, are now available to the public.
Harold Washington Library
The Chicago Public Library’s main branch has nine floors of computer laboratories, volumes, conference spaces, and other amenities. Head to the ninth level to see paintings displayed in the library’s exhibit area, look up at the skylights that encircle the library’s Winter Garden. You can also visit the little Harold Washington museum, which has items relating to the building’s namesake.
16th Street Murals
The walls of an ancient railroad embankment, which stretches from the Chicago River to Western Avenue, are home to a dynamic and ever-changing outdoor gallery of murals by established and young artists. Take a trip along 16th Street to see murals by renowned local painters like JC Rivera and Hebru Brantley, as well as Belgian street artist ROA’s framed artwork of a decapitated possum.
The Chicago Riverwalk, which runs down the riverside from Lake Street to Lake Shore Drive, is packed with restaurants, bars, and breathtaking views of the Chicago River’s towering architecture. Guests may run, walk, and cycle on the Riverwalk from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. when it shuts for fast cleaning. Then, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Riverwalk’s restaurants and retailers encourage visitors to enjoy a meal or a beverage by the water.
Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park offers 20 acres of recreational space. While the spacious playground and the high climbing wall are closed, visitors may still enjoy the park’s green areas, play putting at City Mini Golf, or hire skates and skate around the skating ribbon.
Humboldt Park was formerly the largest public park in the United States, with acres of Prairie-style gardens, grazing cattle, and a flowing river landscape. Despite the absence of the animals, the park remains a treasure among Chicago’s public green areas, including lagoons, tennis courts, an inland beach, a fieldhouse, baseball fields, and bike lanes. Walk around the neighborhood for a while. You’ll undoubtedly come upon the Humboldt Park Boathouse, where you may appreciate the surroundings and pay your respects to Chance the Snapper’s previous home.
There’s always something new to discover in Chicago, whether you’re a first-time tourist, renting a house in Chicago or moving to Chicago permanently. Learn about a new area by taking a free Chicago Greeter tour conducted by a friendly local who will show you the neighborhood’s monuments, popular spots, and hidden gems. If you are planning to rent in Chicago, these are few places that will not bore you.