Free Activities » Chicago, IL

Free Activities in Chicago, IL

From museums to parks to festivals, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Chicago without spending a dime.
Max 5 stars
My Rating
Rollover to rate this

Abt Electronics

You don't need to be in the market for a new appliance to have a wonderful time at Abt in the Northern Suburbs during the weekend. You may actually have a better time if you're not facing buying a major purchasing decision. On the weekends, Abt turns into a playground for adults and children alike, including unlimited warm chocolate chip cookies served in their gorgeous kitchen models. You can play with the latest Apple gadgets, watch the game on an impossibly large TV screen, see what the 3D tv fuss is all about, or even frolic in the massive bubble machine. There are definitely worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Chicago is known for its architecture and there are many ways to get a memorable tour, but few of them are free. But a quick trip to the Chicago ArchiCenter , run by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, will provide you with a wonderful background on Chicago architecture. The center is not large and an hour will allow you to comb the exhibit carefully. The ArchiCenter also has a lovely gift shop with unusual architecture-centric gifts that are perfect for those difficult to shop for on your list. Once you've toured the ArchiCenter, you'll be better equipped to take a river cruise or rent a Segway to complete your study of Chicago architecture.

Chicago Chinatown

Chicago's Chinatown cannot hold a candle to San Francisco or even New York, but it's still a fun weekend destination, and strolling the streets won't cost you a dime. Grab an exotic fruit smoothie or a sweet bubble tea and drift aimlessly from shop to shop, examining the Hello Kitty merchandise and the gleaming roasted ducks if you are so inclined. Whether you are an adventurous eater of jellyfish and shark fin or more of a chicken lo mein type, you'll find Chinese food to your taste in Chinatown. You can even get sushi or grill steak on a hibachi grill. No need to be a snob and sneer at the size of Chicago's Chinatown. There's still plenty of thrills and fun to be had in our backyard.

Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center is known for its amazing free public events as well as its gorgeous structure, including the stunning Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass dome. The center is always abuzz with activity including art exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, concerts, plays and family programs. Entry to the building is free, and it's worth a visit, even when there are not special exhibitions going on. The art gallery features a rotating roster of artists and complements the stunning setting of the center to make it an exciting destination.

Chicago Harp Ensembles

Is there any music more soothing and beautiful than the melodious harp? Now imagine an ensemble of harps playing together in harmony, in a beautiful location with wonderful acoustics. If this sounds like a once in a lifetime musical experience, you'll be delighted to know that the concerts put on across Chicago by the Chicago Harp Ensembles are free, available to all who share a love of music. Check the Chicago Harp Ensembles website for concert locations and dates.