7 Free Things to do in Chicago, Illinois – Free Admission Fun in Chicagoby jazminmarie United States, Illinois, Chicago
Planning a trip to Chicago can be expensive, but it doesn’t all have to be. Some of my favorite things to do in Chicago are free. Sprinkling free admission events and paid events allow you to do more things without spending as much money overall. In celebration of releasing my 7th vlog, I decided to share 7 Free things to do in Chicago today. Here are 7 Free Things You Can Do in Chicago, Illinois:
1. Walk around Humboldt Park (or any of Chicago’s hundreds of parks)
Did you know that Chicago has over 500 parks? You can visit two parks a weekend and STILL not see all of them before a year’s end. (I don’t believe I’ve seen them all either.) I personally have a soft spot for Humboldt Park because I grew up in the area. Not only is the park absolutely gorgeous and filled with green space, but one of my favorite things is getting food from a local Puerto Rican restaurant and taking it to the park and lounging. There’s also a ton of activities to do in the area like ride the swans, watch a baseball game, bring your own food and enjoy being in nature for a bit. There’s a ton of trees in this park so it’s not too crowded and can space out fairly easily without being stuck in the sun.
2. Hike the trail at Riverbank Neighbors.
I’ve been to Riverbank Neighbors Park a few times and I’ve enjoyed every single time. I briefly mentioned the history of Riverbank Neighbors Park in my reel that I created about it, but this park was created completely by the locals!
In the space that is now known as Riverbank Neighbors Park, once was full of trash. Litter would be pushed down from the North Branch of the Chicago River and accumulate in the park space leaving a nasty pile of garbage. Neighbors came together, cleaned up the area, added native plants to Illinois, and created a trail for onlookers – completely changing the area for better! I’ve never seen a more beautiful community project and I definitely recommend you go & get inspirded.
3. Admire the skyline from Lincoln Park.
Where is your favorite view of the skyline? No Chicago trip is complete without an iconic photo of the Chicago skyline. My favorite location is admiring the skyline from the Bridge over South Pond. You can get a photo with you and the skyline as a background without too many people getting in the way. The space is perfect for those Instagram-able Chicago skyline photos then for you to walk through a beautiful park for a few hours.
4. Also, check out the trails near LP.
Also near the bridge (and Lincoln Park Zoo) is park space created into trails by Illinois native plants. My favorite part about these trails is how they disperse all of the crowds that accumulate around the zoo and make the space feel intimate again. I really enjoy taking my camera over and attempting to get a close-up footage of whatever plants are in season.
5. Find street art to photograph.
One of my favorite things is photographing street art! These pops of color make even the dullest city corners bright and beautiful again, so I enjoy photographing them. I walked around the Rogers Park area and showed some of my favorite murals, click the post to see all the addresses to those spots.
6. Visit the Conservatory in Garfield Park, Lincoln Park, or Oak Park.
The Garfield Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservancy, and the Oak Park Conservatory are all great places to spend a few hours. All three places have free admission and free parking nearby so you only have to budget snacks! All three locations include gorgeous greenhouses, beautiful plants, and a great way to spend some time.
I filmed a video the last time I went to Oak Park Conservatory and you can check that out if you want a deeper dive into what the inside looks like, but I definitely suggest that you visit all three!
7. Go bird watching at the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary.
This is a new favorite of mine, but I recently took a walk through the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary and really enjoyed my time there. Being able to surround myself in nature while still being so close to the city is nice to experience; sometimes you want to feel like you’re getting away without having to drive hours outside of the city. As soon as you walk in the area all you can hear are birds chirping and you can see them flying around and it’s fun to spot them amongst the trees. Next time I go I definitely want to bring binoculars and more sunscreen.
Still looking for things to do in Chicago this Summer?
I wrote a list of 25+ FREE things you can do in Chicago today and it includes a few tourist things but mainly gems that I enjoy myself even as a local. I also shared tips on planning transportation around Chicago, traveling to Chicago alone, and other tips for women travelers. Definitely use my Chicago blogs as a resource to build your Chicago itinerary. If you have more time to expand from the city, I also recommend you check out my Illinois blogs to add a couple of those locations to your bucket list.
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