Things To Do In Chicago With Kids scaled e1573948940713

15 Free Things To Do In Chicago With Kids

15 Free Things To Do In Chicago With Kids.

Chicago is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Here are 15 free things to do in Chicago with your kids. Chicago is also recognized by many as the “second city” or the “windy city.” It is a place that is immersed in heritage, history, culture, and the most amazing cuisines.

Chicago is equipped with topnotch museums, independent art galleries, striking architectures, theaters, and award-winning restaurants. Chicago peaks all your five senses. It is a wholly unique city, drawing you in where ever you go.

Now traveling to a vibrant, cultured city like Chicago might seem a little heavy on your pockets, and it might feel heavier if you are travelling with your family. With so many cuisines and sights to discover that can be on your list.

The trip might seem a bit too expensive and not in your budget, as finding free kid activities in Chicago might not seem possible. You might want to learn about as many free places for kids in Chicago before you travel.

But Chicago is not just a city that will empty your pockets for exploring. You don’t have to worry about kid activities near me while you are traveling to Chicago. As there are many fun places to go with kids in Chicago that you can enjoy for free.

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo

Now, what better thing to do with your family then visiting the zoo. The zoo is a fun place to begin your trip in Chicago with as the zoo has many different animals, that will attract the children. The zoo has lions, gorillas and tigers in immersive settings ranging from rainforests to savannahs make the visit all the more engaging. There are also exhibits of polar bears and penguins.

If your children are animal lovers, then you should visit the zoo in the winter. Lincoln Park hosts a festival called ZooLights that has giant animal-themed holiday lights, and it is also free.



  1. Art on the Mart

Who says art has to be expensive? Experiencing art in Chicago can be a free adventure if you time it right. A show of lights on the side of the Merchandise Mart. The historical building lights up with vibrant colors and moving pictures.

It lights the building up from Wednesday to Sunday, beginning almost 30 minutes after sunset. It can be viewed from Wacker drive or strolling through the Riverwalk.



  1. Festivals

Chicago is known for its festivals and seasonal public events. Chicago loves throwing a party, and it can be seen with its many festivals and public events like dying Chicago river green during St. Patrick’s Day. There are many free festivals and shows you have to be aware of their schedule.

  • Air and Water Show

Now, if your planning to visit Chicago, why not plan it at a time when they host one of the most significant free events. It is one of the largest free shows in the united states. You should see the schedule and then plan your trip. In 2020 the show will be hosted on 15, and 16 of august from 10 am to 3 pm.

The shows focal point being north avenue beach, but it can also be viewed from Fullerton to oak street, from lakefront. The show will make the kids go ooh and aah as they see stunt planes, Blue angels and fighter jets fly along Chicago skyline, and antique ships float by.


  • Dance festival

Who doesn’t like a bit of dancing, and if your kids are one of the dance lovers, this is one of the best methods to make them ecstatic? The annual summer dance festival brings people of all ages together.

The dance happens in grant parks spirit of music garden on a 49000 square foot open-air dance floor. There are professional dancers present who give free dance lessons in any form, from salsa to Bollywood to waltz, and it has everything. The live music playing with live DJ’s or bands makes the moments even more exhilarating.

Many music festivals happen in Chicago in the summer, and you make sure that your trip coincides with the dates of the celebration so that you can enjoy them.

  1. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

Now, this is one of the hidden gems of Chicago. This is a 15-acre bird paradise that is home to many birds. The birds migrate in fall and spring seasons that are April to May and August to October.

Over 300 species and many other species of birds have been recorded. The sanctuary is such that you can observe the beautiful birds while enjoying lake Michigan as well. It’s a great haven to see outside of bird watching too. Lets look at more free things to do in Chicago with kids.

  1. Fireworks at Navy Pier

Summer is the season of festivals in Chicago. Fireworks show is held at the Navy Pier on Wednesdays and Fridays. It is better if you see the schedules before you plan your trip. The fireworks happen from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


The event has fireworks that are synchronized with the music that can be heard all along the navy pier. The entry to the Navy Pier is free and is a family-friendly place to visit with scenic strolls and one of the best skyline views of Chicago.

  1. Museums

What better way to explore a city than visiting museums? Luckily almost every Chicago museum has free admission days, and you have to check the schedule. The amazing art institute of Chicago offers free admission to anyone under 14 and 18 for Illinois residents. The art institute has throne miniature rooms that are very popular with the kids.

The Chicago history museum also offers free entry on Tuesdays while Chicago’s children’s museum offers free admission to the children of 15 and under on the first Sunday of every month.

  1. Buckingham Memorial Fountain

It is one of the most beautiful and the largest fountains in the world. It is located in grant park and has impressive water shows from May through mid-October.

It has a beautiful water show that lasts for 201 minutes and happens every hour starting from 8 am and ends at 11 pm. At dusk, the water show is accompanied by lights and music displays, which makes the show all the more exhilarating to watch.



  1. Milton Lee Olive Parks

Now, this is a great place to enjoy a day relaxing while experiencing one of the best views of the city. It is one of the three Kiley landscapes along with the navy pier. It is also considered one of the hidden gems of the city. It has beautiful lawns with honey locust trees.

It has the best views with water edges and of the Chicago skyline. Its located next to Ohio street beach. After exploring the city and moving about, it’s a great place to relax.

  1. Ohio Street Beach

When going to Chicago and not going to the beach, that seems wrong. One of the most accessible and most fun activities to do with your kids is going to the beach. A fun day spent at the beach swimming and playing with your family should be on your to-do list, especially if your visiting in summers.



  1. Pilsen Art

Pilsen is a place that displays beautiful public art. It has a colorful and unique mural that stretches beyond the 16th street. The neighborhood is filled with creative self-expression and Mexican culture.

It’s a beautiful neighborhood to take your family, too, that also offers budget-friendly Mexican food. Fantastic food with gorgeous giant murals what else do you need to enjoy the day in Chicago.



  1. Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago botanic garden that is spread over 385-acres has over 27 gardens. It is a living plant museum with free is a peaceful and serene place to visit. It has an enormous variety of plants, and there are garden markers that help impart knowledge of the plants like what environment they grow in, etc.

They have all types of plants ranging from native to tropical, and there is a variety of flowers, vegetables, herbs, and even fruit trees. The gardens are filled with amazing ponds, waterfalls, and other eye-catching artwork, which makes the experience all the more beautiful.



  1. Lincoln Park Conservatory

Chicago is filled with green and beautiful places like the botanic gardens. It also has Lincoln park conservatory that is a beauty on its own.

It has a Victorian-era glasshouse that will take you back in the 1850s, filled with ancient and towering palms and many fragrant flowers. It displays exotic lush plants from around the world in four display houses.

  1. Millennium Parks

If you are going to visit Chicago, you have to go to Millennium park hosting one of Chicago’s main attractions, “the bean,” aka the cloud gate. The unique sculpture draws the crowd with its unique reflection, and it shows not only you but also the Chicago skyline.

Also, it has a beautiful Lurie garden that has free guided tours on some days, and you have to check on which days that is. Otherwise, you can still enjoy it alone. The flower-filled garden doesn’t need special tours.



And last, of all, there is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion that is always hosting one free event or the other, whether it be free music or theater performance. Moreover, if you go there in the winter, you can enjoy ice skating there.

  1. Maggie Daley Park

This is a public park that brings all ages has wall climbing features that are for beginners as well as experts. It has the play garden, a mirrored maze, an enchanted forest that will keep your children in awe and busy throughout the day with fun-filled activities.

The play garden occupies over 3 acres and is for children 12 and under. The play area also has the slide crater and the watering hole that will keep them super excited.

If you want to give your children a day filled with fun-filled activities, take them to Maggie Daley Park. It will be a day for them to remember.



  1. Lakefront Trail Chicago

This is an 18.5mile-long trail that can be done while walking, cycling, skateboarding, or whatever you prefer. It is situated near the western shore of Lake Michigan. The path has a Chicago skyline on one side and Michigan lake on the other, giving you the perfect view.

While on the trail, you can do multiple things like watch volleyball players at the north avenue, visit the dog beach at Montrose avenue or see one of the iconic sites like the Alder Planetarium, navy pier, etc. Also, you can anytime leave the trail and sit on the beaches and enjoy the view.

Final Verdict:

All the significant spots in Chicago are sometimes close to each other like the Navy Pier, oak street beach, and Milton Lee Olive Park. This helps in reducing commuting costs too.

Chicago is thus a beautiful city to visit, and most of all, there are many activities you can do in Chicago with your family that is free. It all depends on what your family loves to see. You can plan and design a plan that lets you experience the maximum number of free festivals that you can attend in Chicago.

Summer does seem the best time to invest in a trip to the windy city as the maximum number of fantastic events are hosted at that time. This concludes our list of free things to do in Chicago with kids.



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