As we begin looking for travel ideas, I want to share Chicago with you. There are so many fun things to do and see. Below is a short list of free attractions and museums that you can enjoy when you are exploring Chicago. For the the full list, please check out: www.choosechicago.com
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CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER (77 E. RANDOLPH STREET)
This historic landmark hosts hundreds of free programs year-round. The building has two unbelievable stained-glass domes, which you can see on your own or on a free building tour. The many halls regularly host free events, from weekly classical music concerts to blues, jazz and more. Also check out the daily Chicago Cultural Center schedule for free dance performances, film screenings, seminars and theatrical events.
CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE FOUNDATION PROGRAMS (224 S. MICHIGAN AVENUE)
The Chicago Architecture Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring why design matters. In addition to its acclaimed architecture river boat cruises and docent-led tours (ticket prices for those vary), CAF pursues its mission through free exhibitions, special events and youth/adult education programs. Visit its Loop headquarters to see an impressive 3D model of the city and catch a lunchtime seminar, or plan your trip around the CAF’s marquee event, Open House Chicago, each fall.
CHICAGO DESIGN MUSEUM (108 N. STATE STREET, 3RD FLOOR – BLOCK 37)
The Chicago Design Museum features exhibitions, tours, public and private programs, digital media, and workshops that are free and open to the public on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12:00pm to 7:00pm.
CHICAGO RIVERWALK (E. UPPER WACKER DRIVE)
Eat, drink and play along Chicago’s multi-award-winning Riverwalk, a scenic promenade on the water’s edge that stretches from downtown Lake Street to Lake Michigan. See a bridge lift from inside the bridge house with a visit the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum (free on Sundays), and take in the world-famous architecture that lines the Chicago River.
CLARKE HOUSE MUSEUM (1827 S. INDIANA AVENUE)
Built in 1836 and located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, the Clarke House Museum is Chicago’s oldest house, constructed for Henry B. Clarke. See what life was like for a family in Chicago during the city’s antebellum formative years, when much of the area was still undeveloped prairie.
HYDE PARK ART CENTER (5020 S. CORNELL AVENUE)
If you’re looking for open-to-the-public gallery talks, poetry readings, musical performances, and art classes, HPAC offers free cultural exhibitions for visitors of all ages.
LINCOLN PARK ZOO (2200 N. CANNON DRIVE)
As one of only a few free zoos in the country, Lincoln Park Zoo covers more than 35 acres and features over 230 species of animal. The Farm in the Zoo and Nature Boardwalk bring you up-close-and-personal with the natural world.
(Pictured)NATIONAL VETERANS ART MUSEUM (4041 N. MILWAUKEE AVENUE, 2ND FLOOR)
This truly unique museum features work by combat veterans from all conflicts, with the mission of collecting, preserving and exhibiting art inspired by combat and created by those who have endured it.
THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY (60 W. WALTON STREET)
This stunning library contains more than 1.5 million published works and often features special exhibitions.
SMART MUSEUM OF ART (5550 S. GREENWOOD AVENUE)
The name says it all. This museum features works from some the world’s all-time brightest minds like Goya, Frank Lloyd Wright, Degas, Rodin, Matisse, Picasso, Rivera, and Ansel Adams.