Home Things To Do 15 Free Things to To Do in Summertime Chi in 2024

15 Free Things to To Do in Summertime Chi in 2024

Have fun exploring different neighborhoods, visiting museums, attending festivals, and taking dance lessons without spending a penny.

Chicago Riverwalk, Courtesy of City of Chicago DCASE

There’s never a dull moment in Summertime Chi. From food festivals to outdoor concerts, there’s always something to keep you entertained and satisfied. If you’re looking to enjoy Chicago on a budget, you’ll find plenty of options as well. The Chicago beaches are open, and the Lakeshore Trail is perfect for running and walking. But there are even more free activities you might not have considered yet. We at Chicago Southsider have compiled a list of FREE events you and your family can enjoy this summer.

Adler Planetarium

  • Details: Tour the night sky on select Wednesdays with the Adler Planetarium’s Theaters Manager Nick.
  • Free Days: The Adler Planetarium is free for Illinois residents (with proof of residency) every Wednesday evening from 4:00 pm–10:00 pm.
  • Make a Reservation: Adler Planetarium

 Art Institute Chicago

  • Details: Illinois residents can enjoy free admission to the Art Institute of Chicago every Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., now through September 26.
  • Make a Reservation: Art Institute Chicago

Chicago Cultural Center

  • Details: Free art exhibits, performances, and stunning architecture including the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome.
  • Website: Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Greeter Visits

  • Details: A local greeter will guide you on a tour of the Chicago neighborhood of your choice. Tours typically last two to four hours and can accommodate up to six guests.

Chicago Summer Dance

  • Details: From now until September 8 (on select dates), you can enjoy free outdoor dance and movement lessons, no matter your skill level. These sessions are led by professional instructors and are followed by music and social dancing.
  • Website: Chicago Summer Dance

DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

  • Details: Explore the Chicago 1919 Race Riot and how Harold Washington became the first elected African American Mayor of Chicago in 1983. Free admission every Wednesday with online reservation.
  • Make a Reservation: DuSable Black History Museum

InstaGreeter Downtown Walks

  • Details: See downtown Chicago’s top sights on a free hour-long guided walk with an InstaGreeter. You do not need to register in advance.
  • Website: InstaGreeter walks

Millennium Park 20 Year Anniversary

  • Details: Celebrate 20 years of Millennium Park (July 18 – 21) with four days of free celebrations, including headline performances from the Grant Park Orchestra, Common, more.
  • Website: Millennium Park 20th Anniversary Celebration

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

  • Details: Watch free movies against the city’s iconic skyline on Tuesdays from July 16th – Aug 20th.
  • Website: Summer Film Series

Navy Pier Fireworks

  • Details: Free fireworks show on Wednesday and Saturday nights during the summer.
  • Website: Navy Pier Fireworks

Neighborhood Pop-Up Walks

  • Details: Enjoy free walks to neighborhoods across the city all summer long. Check the website regularly for updates.
  • Website: Chicago Greeter

Shedd Aquarium

  • Details: Discover the wonder of the aquatic animal world this summer during one of Illinois Free Resident Days. Advance reservations are required.
  • Free Days: Tuesday evenings from 5pm-9pm on the following days: July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 |August 6, 13, 20, 27 |September 3, 17, 24.
  • Website: Shedd Aquarium

Artini @ Gallery Guichard

  • Details: Come and be a part of Artini, a captivating event filled with fine art, live music and DJ beats.
  • Free Days: 2nd Thursdays on the following days: July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14
  • Reserve Your Spot: Gallery Guichard

Blues in the Parks

  • Details: Join this collective of blues enthusiasts who love Chicago Blues and strive to keep its legacy flowing throughout the city and beyond.
  • Free Days: June 21, July 19, Aug 9
  • Website: Chicago Blues Revival

Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour 2024

  • Details: Hop on hop off the trolley and explore Bronzeville’s vibrant art scene in 2024.
  • Free Days: July 19, Aug 16, Sep 20
  • Website: Trolley Tour



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