5 Free Things to do in Chicago

If you find yourself blowing through a ton of cash while you are visiting the Windy City, you may want to consider finding some things that you and your family can do for free. After all, you’ll want to save some funds to invest in deep-dish pizza and a couple of famous Chicago-style hotdogs! Here’s a brief list of five first-rate free attractions that you can take advantage of in the Second City. For some other ideas about what to do while you are in Chi-Town, the Go Chicago Card is always an option.

Montrose Beach

A popular Uptown neighborhood beach located in Lincoln Park that offers patrons lots of amenities including free Wi-Fi, Montrose Beach is also home to a 15-acre bird sanctuary that hosts migrant songbirds during the fall and spring migration seasons (April through May and August through October). Recreational swimming is also offered as well.

Nickel City

Ok, so it’s not quite free, but with tons of games that cost only five cents to play, Nickel City is pretty darn close. Grab a fistful of nickels and play arcade classics like Skee-Ball
and Bozo Buckets in order to stockpile tickets that you can redeem at the prize counter. It gets better. Nickel City is on this list because it does feature classic games like Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Contra, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat that are all free of charge to play!

Chi-Town Chinatown

It might not get as much ink as its counterparts in New York or San Francisco, but Chicago’s Chinatown is no joke. Take a walk through the distinctive neighborhood and visit spots like the Chinatown Gate, Nine Dragon Wall and Ping Tom Memorial Park. Make sure to get dumplings before you go – they aren’t deep-dish but they’re delicious. Don’t forget, you can always use a Chicago Card to get great deals on some of the top attractions in the city.

Cat & Mouse              

Opened in September 2008, Cat & Mouse is full of board games, kids’ games, family games, party games, strategy games and classics like chess, backgammon and checkers. Located at 2212 West Armitage Avenue in Bucktown, Cat & Moose hosts a free game night every Tuesday from 6:30 pm-10:00 pm where kids and parents can try out any game they can get their hands on as the store’s stock room is turned into a family living room.

Get Shown The Money

 Ironically enough, the Money Museum at Chicago’s Federal Reserve Bank offers free guided tours that depart at 1 pm, Monday-Friday. Have your picture snapped with old and rare coins and cash, including $5,000 and $10,000 bills. Located at 230 South LaSalle Street, tours at the Money Museum generally last about 45 minutes. Note: The Money Museum will be closed from August 29 through September 29 for renovations. It will re-open for business at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, September 30. For some alternatives, check out the Go Select Chicago Pass!

The Chicago Attraction Deals package by Smart Destinations saves you 40% on admission to Adler Planetarium, SkyDeck Chicago & a Hop On/Off Trolley Tour! Save money!

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