Travel & Leisure

What can I do for free in Chicago?

Chicago City

Did you ever hear the song that goes like ‘‘Chicago, Chicago that toddling town Chicago, Chicago I will show you around!’’. Sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra back in the days, this song pretty much embodies the hype and beauty that comes from the Wind City. But obviously, big city activities often come with big spendings. Although, what if there was a way to do things for free in Chicago? With the following guide, you will be surprised at the number of things you can do in this amazing city without spending a dime.

Is the Buckingham Fountain from Buckingham?

No, it is not! The latter isn’t linked to Buckingham Palace in any shape or form. Located in Chicago’s famous Grant Park, you can visit the magnificent 3-level giant fountain for free all year round. This fountain was actually a gift and dedicated to Clarence Buckingham in 1927. After his death, his sister (Kate Buckingham) dedicated the fountain to him as a love symbol. She had the right to do so since she was one of the main benefactors in the fountain’s construction. Without her, the project would have not become what it ultimately became.

On the more technical side of things, this fountain is very impressive, as it is one of the largest fountains in the world. To be more precise, its diameter is 85 meters wide, and at night, you can see beautiful light shows that will be the perfect spot for a romantic kiss or a nice Instagram picture. Finally, it is worth mentioning that Grant Park is also not too shabby of a place and that there is plenty to do and to see, all for free.

What to do in Millennium Park Chicago?

Now, the Millennium Park is also located within Grant Park’s location. This fun location in Chicago is, again, completely free to visit, and has 4 major attractions to offer to its visitors:

  • The Jay Pritzker Pavilion
  • The Cloud Gate
  • The Crown Fountain
  • The Lurie Garden

A fun water attraction for free in Chicago: the Crown Fountain

If you were looking for a fun activity to do with the kids and family for free in Chicago, the Crown Fountain is certainly one of the best places to visit during your stay in the Wind City. This fountain is actually a giant wall structure made of 147 screens with holes that spit water. The floor surrounding the intriguing wall is made in a way that it keeps a thin water blanket, just enough so even a baby can play around without any danger. Kids and parents love this place.

The Crown Fountain was designed by Jaume Plensa, an artist who was actually scared of water when he was young. He wanted to bring the joy of playing in the water to everybody, and well, he quite succeeded at that! The structure not only shoots water is weird patterns, but also, presents interactive images through its screens. Sometimes, you will see a giant face, while another day, you will see the natural landscape.

Is Chicago Ohio Street Beach Free?

Yes, it’s absolutely free to go to this famous inner-city beach. Not too far away from Ohio Street Beach, you can find the Navy Pier, a fun location with many activities for the whole family. On the other hand, if you want to sit back and relax, Ohio Street Beach will be the perfect place for you. You can enjoy sunbathing with a nice breeze and a view of the skyscrapers in the background, which is always an interesting mix to behold: nature and civilization.

Is it free to visit the Chicago Cultural Center?

Yes, you can visit the Chicago Cultural Center for free all year round. Located around Millenium Park, you will be able to witness the impressive Chicago Public Library, as well as the Civil War Memorial. This place has been open for more than a century and is certainly worth a visit if you are looking for a free activity in Chicago.

Is there anything free to do in the Magnificent Mile?

Of course, when we talk about the Magnificient Mile, we think about the restaurants, the infinite malls, and the bars. That being said, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do if you don’t want to spend. As a matter of fact, you can have a very good time walking along the main and adjacent streets of the Magnificent Mile.

As an example, there are often huge tulip projects, so if you love colorful flowers, know that the city is investing huge amounts of money every year into their tulips. Moreover, it is worth a visit to at least take one picture of the world-famous Chicago Water Tower.

What are the best Street Arts in Chicago?

If you have the artist soul, then know that Chicago has some of the most amazing street arts in the United States. For example, the Vivian Maier Mural by Eduardo Kobra is quite a sight to behold, as it shows a photographer holding a camera on a giant wall. The art piece is located in Wicker Park, and masterfully mixes a colorful character with a black and white background.

Another impressive street art that could be your next viral Instagram post is the Robin Williams Mural by Jerkface & Owen Dippie. The latter is located on one of the walls of the Concord Music Hall. On this mural, you can see Robin Williams’ face with a beautiful blue background made of many Genies, his most iconic character from Disney’s Aladdin movie.

And finally, if you want to take a fun picture, the Greetings From Chicago Mural by Victor Ving & Lisa Beggs will do the trick! This one is located in Logan Square and presents 3D letters that spell CHICAGO in a very interesting way. Each letter contains a different location within its borders since this mural is intended to welcome all new visitors to the city.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Chicago for free. With this guide, you will be able to find many fun activities to do with your friends or family without having to open the wallet at every stop. On that note, enjoy your stay in the Windy City and these free Chicago attractions.