Amazing Free (or Super Cheap) Activities to Do with Kids in Chicago
At Best of Bump Club we hosted one of our favorite mom panels about navigating the city of Chicago with little ones. We loved what was shared so much that we wanted to put some of our favorite tips on the blog. First up, Tanya Findlay, yoga teacher and mommy blogger over at Momma Prana, shares her list of fun and free activities across the city:
- Chicago Public Libraries (75 branches) gives FREE use of computers & books and movies to check out
- Harold Washington offers FREE programs for kids daily
- Chicago Museums are required to offer 52 FREE days yearly – check out each website for more info
- Art Institute offers FREE kids activities year-round
- Bank of America & Merrill Lynch card holders receive FREE admission to many Museums (1st weekend of every month)!
- Chicago Children’s Museum offers FREE admission (every Thursday from 5pm-8pm & every 1st Sunday of the month)
- Museum of Contemporary Art offers FREE family days (2nd Saturday of every month)
- Nature Museum offers donation-based admission (Thursdays) – for Illinois residents
- Whole Foods FREE music concerts – the following locations offer FREE 30min concerts (all @ 10am)
- Chicago Architecture Foundation offers FREE Read & Build workshops for ages 3-6 (1st Wednesday & Sunday every month from 9-12pm)
- Conservatories: Garfield Park, Lincoln Park, Oak Park – all offer kids events @ different times yearly
- Lego Store (@ Water Tower) offers FREE monthly build workshops (on Tuesdays)
- Home Depot offers FREE hands-on Kid’s workshops once or twice a month (9am-12pm for ages 5-12)
- Pottery Barn Kids offers FREE Story Time on select days – check the website for more details
- Chicago Fire Department offers walk-in tours FREE, no appointment needed
Take it outside
- Explore Chicago beaches – each has different activities and amenities like parks, concessions, etc.
- Neighborhood Parks offer FREE events for kids/families, including Movies
- Maggie Daley Park & Millennium Park (Crown Fountain, the Bean, Lurie Garden, Pritzker concerts)
- If too crowded, check out the “hidden park” in nearby LakeShore East – has a small play area
- Festivals have Kid tents/activities (& most Suburban fests have carnival rides too)
- Lincoln Park Zoo offers FREE admission (daily, year-round)
- Northerly Island – hike or bike around the trails, safer biking for small children than the lakefront
- Water Taxis – not FREE, but very cheap!
- Riverwalk – walk or bike along, sit and watch the boats go by or the bridges go up!
- Metra rides – weekend pass $8/adult, kids ride FREE – unlimited rides (Saturday & Sunday in Summer)
- Ravinia offers low cost kids performances in (June & August)
- Arlington Park offers Family day on Sundays with kids activities – including a petting zoo
- Botanic Garden offers Trolley from the Metra (Sundays, during Summer)
- CPL Museum pass holders park FREE (usually $25/car)