Free or cheap activities in Chicago

We know
Chicago
winters are long, and we know you have to save those
paychecks for spring shopping and summer travel, but if you just
stay in all winter the season will drag. If you want those calendar
pages turning faster, you have to get out and do something exciting
even if you have a budget to stick to. And it’s actually quite
doable. Here’s our list of the best free or inexpensive things to
do in
Chicago
in the winter.

1. Go ice skating.


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A post shared by Tiffany McCormick (@sweett_t)
on Feb 13, 2017
at 4:17pm PST

Believe it or not, there are a few places in Chicago where you
can ice skate outdoors for free. The best and most scenic ones are
the
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
in Millennium Park and the Skating
Ribbon
in Maggie Daley Park. Both are downtown, both have
incredible art and sculpture looming over the ice, and both have
amazing skyline views. The catch is that entry is free but skate
rental is $13-$15. If you enjoy skating enough, you can pick up a
pair of cheap, used skates and go anytime you like for free all
winter long.

2. Get tropical at the Garfield Park Conservatory.


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A post shared by April Zelenka (@thirdweststudio)
on Nov 29,
2018 at 8:41pm PST

If you want to get as far away from winter as possible without
buying a plane ticket or even leaving Chicago,
this is the place to go. You can find yourself instantly
transported into a steamy tropical jungle or an arid desert just by
stepping foot into the Garfield Park Conservatory.
This beautiful greenhouse on the Westside has been bringing the
tropics to Chicagoans for well over 100 years, and we never get
sick of it. The place is stunning. It’s also free, although there
is a $5 suggested donation which gets you a whole lot of
winter-blues-beating bang for your buck.

3. Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo.


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A post shared by lincolnparkzoo (@lincolnparkzoo)
on Nov 23,
2018 at 8:34am PST

Our world-class zoo is one of the city’s top free attractions
year-round, and it’s a great place to escape your cabin fever in
the dead of winter. There is a bit of outdoor walking to get
between the different animal houses, but you quickly warm back up
once inside of each one. The Lincoln Park Zoo gets really busy
during the holidays for the famous Zoo Lights, but after early
January it quiets down substantially, making it a great time to
visit. The surrounding park also stays relatively white and
pristine after it snows, which is a nice break from the normal grey
slush that seems to be everywhere else in the city.

4. Go drinking.


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A post shared by Scofflaw (@scofflawchicago)
on Nov 13, 2018 at
3:44pm PST

Yeah, we had to add this one. Chicagoans
have been relying on neighborhood taverns to help get through the
winter for as long as there’s been a city called Chicago. Luckily
for us, we still have loads of cheap bars where you can find a
warming drink that won’t lighten your wallet too much. Head to a
bar in a more local neighborhood, an area with lots of students, or
a hipsterish hood for the best chance of finding cheap drinks. Or
better yet, check out the website SmallTabs to find daily bar food and
drink specials by neighborhood. Obviously, you should enjoy in
moderation, but few things can brighten you up like an occasional
trip to the bar to commiserate with others suffering through the
same wintry gloom as you.

5. Go to a museum.


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A post shared by Shedd Aquarium (@shedd_aquarium)
on Nov 20,
2018 at 5:19pm PST

Chicago
has some of the best museums in the world, unfortunately, they’re
not always budget friendly. Most museums do offer a discount for
Chicago or Illinois residents, and they can be substantial. The
Shedd Aquarium, for
example, offers Chicago residents 50% off the $40 general
admission. Most museums also have occasional free days, and while
some are regularly scheduled, others seem to occur fairly randomly.
For example, the Chicago
History Museum
is free to Illinois residents on Tuesdays, but
other museums have free days scattered throughout the calendar,
usually a couple per month. The best thing to do is choose the
museum you’d like to see and check its website for the schedule
of free or discounted days. We recommend the aquarium as the best
escape from winter, even if there is a penguin exhibit (which is
adorable, by the way).

6. Bundle up and head out.


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A post shared by Chicago, Illinois 🇺🇸 (@visit.chicago)
on
Feb 4, 2018 at 12:50pm PST

Being outside in winter in Chicago
isn’t just for commuting, it can actually be fun. Sure, you need
to layer up and strap on some boots, but if you hope to survive
until spring you better have the right gear to do so. In the right
time, at the right place, winter in Chicago can be truly magical.
If there is fresh snow, or better yet a snowstorm where it’s not
so warm that it melts but not so cold that it’s unbearable, take
a walk around your neighborhood. We bet you’ll see it in a whole
new light. When the snow has turned to grey slush, and it seems
like every surface is covered in salt, you need to head out a
little further. Try the Lakefront Trail; a city park like Lincoln,
Jackson, or Humboldt Park; or one of the Cook County Forest
Preserves. Winter is beautiful and entirely comfortable to be out
in, so long as you dress the part.

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free or inexpensive things to do in Chicago this winter

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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Free or cheap activities in Chicago