My 5 fave free things to do in Chicago

I can’t believe it’s almost been 3.5 years since I’ve lived in Chicago! Yet, even though I consider myself a “Chicagoan”, I know for a fact that there is still so much more of Chicago that I haven’t experienced. This ranges from trying food, checking out museums, walking through neighborhoods, watching shows, to attending Chicago specific events. As I continue to check off my Chicago list, there are still a few things I absolutely love to do in Chicago over and over again.

Here are my 5 favorite things to do in Chicago that are free!
[No particular order]

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo – ( –  Open 365 days a year, 7 days a year, the zoo offers a variety of exhibits and many species from all over the world. The zoo has new arrivals often, which makes visiting the zoo more than once a year worth it. Also, the zoo hosts a lot of special events and seasonal shows. Currently it’s fall fest right now, but I like checking out Zoo Lights during the holidays. Zoo Lights features luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds! More information about Lincoln Park Zoo events can be found directly at
  2. Millennium Park/Grant Park/Maggie Daley Park – Yes, yes I know it’s where all the tourist go. But the reason why I like visiting this area often is because of the ever changing exhibits, views, and shows offered there. For example, Millennium Park just had Red Bull Illume Exhibit ( Since the park’s exhibits come and go so often, visiting the parks a few times a year is necessary! In addition to the ever changing exhibits and shows at the parks, Chicago’s weather/seasons allows the parks to always change it up. For example, during summer there’s the  free summer music concert series, movies at the park, dance events and during winter there’s the ice rinks and the tree lighting ceremony. Also with the changing seasons, that area almost always guarantees a different view of Chicago. Oh, and great for people watching and photos too!
  3. Biking/walking along Lake Shore Drive – Whether you’re trying to get some cardio in, want to read a book, people watch, picnic, tan, hit up the “beach”, or just plain ol’ enjoy the views, biking/walking along Lake Shore Drive is the best way to do so! Lake Shore Drive expands from the north side all the way to the south side. Along the path are great views, restaurants, chill zones and many stopping areas to just kick back and enjoy the vibez. There have been many occasions where I have ridden my bike and stopped on lake shore drive just for some me time. The views are incredible, but also the feelz along lake shore (especially during summer) is so comforting. For me, I absolutely being around people and seeing people out and about. It makes me really happy!
  4. Open House Chicago/Building Explorations
    1. ( – For one weekend in October you can explore Chicago’s most iconic and unique architectural treasures. From mansions to sacred spaces, theaters to private clubs, hotels to secret rooms—OHC gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at many of the city’s great places that are rarely, if ever, open to the public.
    2. If can’t wait another year for OHC, try looking into events hosted by groups! I follow and try to attend the events thrown by Art.Of.Chi ( Art.of.chi often teams up with buildings that usually aren’t open to the public and host meet-ups there. Majority of the events are free and you also can meet a lot of amazing photographers! Or if you aren’t interested in taking pics, just enjoying the view is always a plus.
  5. Garfield Park Conservatory/Lincoln Park Conservatory
    1. Garfield Park Conservatory (
      The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation. Just like many other spots in Chicago, they offer ever changing exhibits and many events according to the season. It’s a great date place, lots of photo ops, and very therapeutic.
    2. The Lincoln Park Conservatory ( offers tropical palms and ancient ferns right in the heart of Lincoln Park. Designed both to showcase exotic plants and grow the thousands of plants needed for use in the parks, the Conservatory offers visitors a tropical experience within its four display houses: Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House, which is home to the annual flower shows.

If you’re looking for other free things to do in Chicago, check out Choose Chicago’s extensive list at:

I was not paid for this post. Opinions and thoughts are of my own.

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