The beautiful city of Chicago situated in Illinois state is one of the most visited cities in the US by tourists. Chicago is home to many attractions like museums, zoos, aquariums, skyscrapers, skylines that are worth visiting throughout the year. While there are many things to do in Chicago, here is a list of the best free things to do on your visit to Chicago.
Top 9 Free Things To Do In Chicago
1. Millennium Park
It’s actually hard to believe that Millenium Park didn’t even exist 20 years ago but now has become a major tourist attraction of Chicago city. It’s really a remarkable gateway to the city. Millennium Park is a place where you can visit all year.
You can ice skate in the wintertime and during summer you can simply come and walk and stroll around the park with your closed ones.
The Bean, also known as Cloud Gate is an incredible piece of artwork that reflects the entire skyline of the city, and just behind The Bean is the pavilion made by Frank Gehry, the architect who made the Museum of Bilbao and it also very nicely complements The Bean, because the two are very reflective, particularly at night.
You can go down there to enjoy concerts and just next to The Bean there is the Crown Fountain. It’s also a very unique experience, you will see two fountains that are facing each other and you have the faces that are constantly changing in the hot summer days.
People love to come down there and cool off and you have these enormous faces of local citizens that volunteer to have their faces film and the water comes from people’s mouths almost like they’re spitting on to the crowd. While you are in Chicago, Millennium Park is a must-visit.
2. Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park is very close to Millennium Park and if you have kids then it should be one of the prime attractions you should visit in Chicago. It is basically an amusement park but it’s completely free and you have hundreds of kids that enjoy themselves in the park.
The Maggie Daley Park has attractions for all ages. You will find attractions for the really small ones and then for the mid-age kids so everybody is gonna enjoy themselves over there. It is a perfect place for a small family outing.
If you ever wanted to climb the great mountains but never got the chance then you could do it here. Maggie Daley Park has the only rock climbing walls in the whole of Chicago. There are two walls of 40 feet each.
One more remarkable thing about this park is that you can watch the skyline and it also connects directly to Millennium Park so you can take a short walk across the bridge and the BP Pedestrian bridge is a good complement to the Frank Gehry architecture. It is super shiny and has got this very weird shape like a snake shape.
3. Chicago Riverwalk
The Chicago River Walk is fairly new and all of a sudden has become a crowd favorite. It’s super picturesque and very vibrant. You get restaurants and wine shops on the side, and there’s just so much life on the water.
Previously the tourists used to take the River Cruise and now that the Riverwalk is there people can actually just see all the buildings just from the river without having to pay for the River Cruise.
At the corner of the river, in Michigan Avenue, you’ve got the Tribune Tower, probably one of the landmark buildings in the city. The Tribune Tower has rocks/things from historical sites from all over the world, be it the Great Wall of China, Cologne Cathedral, Notre Dam Paris and our absolute favorite building in Chicago is “the aqua”.
This spectacular building is designed by architects “Jeanne gang” and then at the end of the river is the Centennial Plaza. Every hour on top of the hour you’ll see a water cannon that shoots the water across the river.
4. Lakefront Chicago
Chicago has the most beautiful skyline in the world and the best place to watch the skyline is from a boat. If you don’t have a boat you can also get a great skyline from the museum campus.
Between the aquarium and the planetarium, you have this amazing view of the entire skyline with the Sears Tower all the way to the Navy Pier. Another spot that has a fantastic view of the city is Buckingham Fountain especially at night when it lights up it’s coordinated to music.
The other thing that’s great about Chicago is the beaches. When you think of Chicago you don’t really think of Chicago as a beach resort because it’s inland but Chicago has Lake Michigan. It’s exactly like the ocean and except it doesn’t smell like salt.
Chicago’s lakefront is really enormous. It spans more than 20 miles there are so many gems along the way and much of it you can navigate just by bike.
5. Michigan Avenue
Michigan Avenue is one of the busiest streets on the Chicago Grid. Michigan Avenue is famous for its shopping. All the big brands have their shops here.
The other thing that makes Michigan Avenue really unique is the way it connects across the river down to Millennium Park and one of the best places to shop on Michigan Avenue is the Water Tower Place.
You will love the fountains on the escalators on the way there and one of the famous places of the Water Tower Place is the Lego store and you will probably like the big dragon that spans from one end of the store to the other.
The Water Tower is original to the city and it’s one of the only things that survived the Great Chicago Fire and then close to the Water Tower is the John Hancock Tower. From the top of the John Hancock Tower, you have the best view of the city.
On the 95th floor, you have the signature room that’s probably the only thing on this list that is not free. It’s a bar where you need to pay for the drink and once you get your drink you have an incredible view of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.
6. Lincoln Park Zoo
In the middle of the city, Chicago has this park that is free and has all types of animals i.e. lions, leopards, they have tons of apes, monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees as well. It’s always a kid’s favorite.
Lincoln Park Zoo has everything that every little kid would want to see, zebras and kangaroos, camels, vultures and it’s got a great display of arctic animals like penguins polar bears, and seagulls.
Next to the zoo is the Lincoln Park Conservatory, where you’ll find every type of plant species that you can imagine in one place. It’s like a huge greenhouse and when you’re inside it feels like the jungle.
It’s actually great to go there during the Chicago winter. You’ve got palm trees and you have got coconut trees. The best time to go to the conservatory is in the spring when they have all the flower exhibits.
7. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is the home of the University of Chicago and is a really nice campus. The exact traditional campus that you think of when you think of a prestigious University. Rockefeller Chapel is a beautiful example of a Gothic church brought to the United States.
If you’re in Hyde Park, you should also go see the Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s not free but if you’re there you should absolutely go see it. The Robie House is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces.
The original owner is a car enthusiast, it’s one of the only Frank Lloyd Wright houses you’ll see with a three-car garage.
8. The Baha’i temple
The Baha’i temple, also known as Baha’i House of Worship is technically not in Chicago. It’s in Evanston which is 20 miles from Chicago but there are enough public transports available to reach there.
It’s such an incredible place that we could not leave it out from the list. The Baha’i temple is one of the most beautiful buildings that you will ever see. It is an architectural masterpiece. It is the largest and the oldest surviving Bahá’í temple in the world.
It represents all the world’s religions you will feel a real sense of peace when you walk around it. The gardens and fountains around it really add to the serenity of the place. It’s kind of the old Taj Mahal right here in Chicago. It took 40 years to build the Baha’i temple and it’s the only one in North America.
9. Navy Pier
Navy Pier is one of the most visited attractions in Chicago as well as the Midwestern United States. Although very crowded through the year it is a must-visit place on your trip to Chicago.
There are many attractions at Navy Pier to check out. You can check out the Light Tower Ride, Pepsi Wave Swinger, Funhouse Maze, and Crystal Gardens. You can see all kinds of great theater and there’s a Children’s Museum that has fun activities for people of all ages.
You can ride on the Ferris Wheel at the Navy Pier for the breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline from the top of it. There are many restaurants at Navy Pier that offers some delicious delicacies.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading this article. Feel free to read other articles on our website. Happy Travelling!!