Free Things to Do in Chicago

Top Free Things to Do in Chicago, IL

Best Free Things to Do in Chicago

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    Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
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    Highest rated attractions on Tripadvisor, based on traveller reviews.
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220 places sorted by traveller favourites
Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
Showing results 1-30 of 220

What travellers are saying

  • Reedmummy
    Georgetown, SC20 contributions
    The best time to go if you are walking is the middle of the day. There is a lot of crime In Chicago and a lot of shootings everyday while I was there the middle of the day was the safest time it seemed
    Written 14 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Reedmummy
    Georgetown, SC20 contributions
    It was great go during the middle of the day it is safer. There was a lot of shootings in Chicago while we were there and mugging. The park is safe and very nice
    Written 14 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Reedmummy
    Georgetown, SC20 contributions
    This is a great experience to see The history and the scenery is great this is a must see in Chicago.
    Written 14 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • siochain
    12 contributions
    Walked back to the hotel from the restaurant. Very active and very pretty. Lights on many of the buildings and one in particular plays a video which was very colorful.
    Written 13 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Matt F
    83 contributions
    Wow! We had visited Chicago before, but never Lincoln Park Zoo. Why? I couldn’t tell you because this place is INCREDIBLE! And…FREE!
    My wife and I couldn’t believe that we were walking around such a vast, well maintained place, seeing Gorillas and Giraffes and Zebras and Hyenas up close without having to pay a penny (or a dime!)
    It was a great experience! Seeing the Gorillas was a highlight for me!
    If you’re ever in Chicago, this place is a MUST SEE! Visit here before anywhere else!
    Written 12 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • kkmckendree
    Battle Creek, MI154 contributions
    A nice stop that's free and you can wonder around and look at the beautiful architecture of this building. The pictures don't do it justice!
    Written 10 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Morella
    Farmington Hills, MI1,010 contributions
    Absolutely loved this place!

    There are different environments connected by doors. Each one has a different theme. Plants and flowers are in great shape, evidently cared well.

    The diversity of environments and colors is enjoyable.

    There is also an area where you can drink coffee and teas, and have good quality croissants and muffins. This was a great find.

    Some of the areas have pathways through the plants. Nicely done.

    Reservations highly recommended at this time.
    Written 7 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Irina
    United States9,939 contributions
    Lakefront Trail is an invaluable part of Chicago. It's great -- and free -- for anybody: pedestrians, joggers, walkers, cyclists. From the trail one can admire some fantastic scenic views of the gorgeous Lake Michigan and the unique Chicago Skyline, the exciting Chicago Lakefront, the grand and welcoming Navy Pier, and many other beautiful sites of this vibrant city.

    There are some new improvements to Lakefront Trail: it has a new addition -- the Navy Pier Flyover (constructed in 2014 -- 2021), which provides the separation of bicyclists from pedestrians in a very busy part of the city, that very often has traffic congestion in the area close to Navy Pier. For all visitors, and especially skaters and bicyclists I would recommend to study the current trail map and its regulations, safety instructions, etc. The trail is well-marked, has some very detailed info boards , and of course, there's much online info available, as well.

    Lakefront Trail stretches for 18,5 miles along the western shore of Lake Michigan, and goes quite a way parallel to Lake Shore Drive. The lawns, and some large city parks along the trail length, are nicely landscaped and well maintained.

    My friends and I have enjoyed our last visit to Lakefront Trail, as we always do!
    Written 6 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Deidre P
    37 contributions
    If your looking for something to do when you arrive in Chicago the loop is a good way to get your blood circulating after your flight and drive in from the airport. Great views, stop for bite to eat and drink along the way, I think of it as guiltless pleasure…
    Written 1 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • kmz88
    Chicago, IL362 contributions
    A beautiful fountain. Must see in Chicago. Plan to be there at the hour to see the central, high portion of the fountain go up!
    Written 25 February 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Taylor B
    Chicago, IL7,535 contributions
    My wife and I live in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, a half-block south of North Avenue. Cross the street and you're in Lincoln Park, one of Chicago's most affluent communities and home to Lincoln Park, one of the city's most popular public parks, Lincoln Park Zoo and Old Town, one of the city's leading entertainment and restaurant meccas. Its boundaries are strictly defined--Diversey Avenue on the north, the Chicago River on the west, North Avenue on the south and Lake Michigan on the east. It also is home to DePaul University, Lincoln Park High School and one of the country's most distinguished private schools, Francis Parker School. And it is home to five architecturally significant churches--St. Michael's, St. Josaphat's, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Clement and St. James Lutheran Church. Other prominent tourist attractions include Chicago History Museum, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool and North Pond Nature Sanctuary. Not to mention North Avenue Beach and the famous statues of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton. Chicago's only three-star Michelin restaurant, Alinea, is in Lincoln Park. So is the Lettuce Entertain You empire's first restaurant, R.J. Grunt's, which features one of the first salad bars. Also the first Potbelly Sandwich Works, which debuted in 1977. BBQ baby back ribs? Ella's is the place. Pizza? Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. Hot dogs? Fatso's Last Stand.
    Written 20 December 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Ken B
    Grand Rapids, MI73 contributions
    Simply awesome views in every direction. The N River is especially beautiful. Always makes me breathless
    Written 10 March 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • travelwithparti
    Toronto, Canada8 contributions
    Near the zoo, good for a stroll through and contains interesting plants. You need to make reservations ahead of time. The access is free, but they accept donations to help fund the conservatory.
    Written 9 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Deidre P
    37 contributions
    Love the park, has a wonderful time walking through it and seeing all of what Chicago has to offer as I walked the loop and enjoyed the places I saw along the way.
    Written 1 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Brightens
    Carthage, IL186 contributions
    It had been over ten years since I last visited the Navy Pier. I was glad to see indoor shops. I had hoped to find more ways to entertain family, instead there was a massive hotel taking up a great deal of the pier.
    Written 10 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.