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When you plan your next road trip, make your destination Chicago. Your budget may not be limitless, but excitingly enough there are so many things you can do for free in this fantastic city.

1) Lincoln Park Zoo

The skyscrapers are impressive but you’ll be blown away by Lincoln Park Zoo. This shockingly free oasis will allow you to explore settings that range from rainforests to savannahs.

2) Millennium Park

Photo of Chicago Bean at Nighttime

Image via Flickr by Shelby L. Bell.

“The Bean” also known as Cloud Gate is another fantastic attraction. You can drive your car right up to  Millennium Park to see this sculpture.  Free concerts and film screenings often fill up Millennium Park.

3) Chicago Cultural Center

At the Chicago Cultural Center, you can take advantage of so many free activities like art exhibits, and music events all week long. Plus, visitors can also take a free tour to learn about the city’s architecture.

4) Museum of Contemporary Photography

This museum focuses on modern image-making and shares with its visitors a multitude of exhibitions. Happily enough, admission to this museum is always free.

5) Smart Museum of Art

If you love art and saving money, you’ll want to see the Smart Museum of Art. Tourists will be able to see gorgeous art from Asian and European cultures and works of contemporary pieces.

6) Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory is not only stunning , but it also allows everyone to visit it for free. You’ll be able to take in breathtaking views of outdoor gardens and even wander through the indoor gardens that cover over two acres.

7) Chicago Festivals

Festivals abound in Chicago which is great for those looking to create amazing experiences without breaking the bank. You can have a fantastic time taking part in the Grant Park Music Festival, Chicago Blues Festival and more.

8) Seasonal Events

Catch a free party in Chicago through careful planning. During holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day, you can watch the Chicago River run in a majestic green. In winter, you’ll  see the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Free to all, these aren’t events you’ll want to miss.

9) Lincoln Park Conservatory

Chicago love’s providing green spaces. One of those spaces is the Lincoln Park Conservatory that gazes upon Lake Michigan. It’s a gorgeous and filled with shocking foliage for the Midwest – tropical flowers and ferns!

10) DePaul University Art Museum

There’s no lack of free things to do in Chicago. The DePaul University Art Museum houses a permanent and diverse collection of works that spectacular to look. Here you’ll find paints, sculptures and so much more.

11) Chicago Greeter Program

Investigate a Chicago neighborhood by taking part in the Chicago Greeter Program. Led by locals, these tours go off the beaten path and let you learn amazing things about Chicago.

12) Navy Pier

Navy Pier is iconic and filled with free attractions.  You can also catch a fireworks display that runs from Memorial to Labor Day.

13 ) Chicago Children’s Museum

The interactive Children’s Museum is free for families to visit every Thursday.  The Children’s Museum is a venue that makes itself accessible to children of all abilities.

14) Buckingham Fountain

If you’re in Chicago anytime from April to October, you’ll see a thrilling light and water show. The free show begins every hour at the Buckingham Fountain.

15) Chicago Architecture Foundation

Architecture buffs will love the tours provided by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. These tours are free and take patrons on a journey of the city’s history and current architectural projects.

16) Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park rolls over 219 acres. Making your way through the grounds you’ll see a lagoon, the Boathouse Café and an island beach among other great sites.

17) Hancock Center’ Signature Lounge

Soak in the skyline from this picturesque location rising high on the 95th floor. Free of charge to enter, you’ll save money to enjoy more during your trip.

18) Lakefront Trail

A great spot for nature lovers, the Lakefront Trail runs for 18 miles. Walk or bike this trail to take in some beautiful sights.

19) Harold Washington Library Center

One of Chicago’s many treasures, this impressive center carries a trove of knowledge. It even has a garden on the roof.

20) Milton Lee Olive Park/Ohio Street Beach

Take in the city’s impressive skyline from Milton Lee Oliver Park and Ohio Street Beach. This beach and park combination is a perfect place to relax with family and friends.

21) Revolution Brewery

Beer lovers will want to take advantage of the free tours Revolution Brewery offers. But be prepared as these tours operate on a first come, first serve basis.

22) Hull House

Combine your love for free activities and history by taking a tour of Hull House. Hull House is a memorial to Jane Addams who was the first American women presented with the Nobel Peace Prize.

23) City Gallery

This fascinating gothic venue features the work of photographers from the local area. Located in the center of the Magnificent Mile, this is certainly a spot to add to the ‘must see’ list.

24) First United Methodist Church

Known as the “The Chapel in the Sky,” the First United Methodist Church is one the of the tallest churches in the world and certainly adds to Chicago’s stellar collection of architecture.

25) National Museum of Mexican Art

Featuring artistic pieces solely from Latino creators, in the Pilsen neighborhood, visitors can see modern and folk art.

26) Maxwell Street Market

Every Sunday, tourists can explore the hustle and bustle of Maxwell Street Market while taking in all the local vendors so you can find the perfect keepsake from your trip!

27) DuSable Museum of African American History

This museum is free to visit on Sundays and holds incredible features like the “Freedom Now” mural which is a wooden bas-relief.

28) Hidden Cove

Enjoy a spot of free karaoke at the the Hidden Cove in Ravenwood. Release your inner musical ability at this local favorite.

29) Chicago Riverwalk

You can stroll along the riverfront while taking in the sights of the city. Packed with bars and restaurants, this makes the Riverwalk a fantastic attraction.

30) Stony Island Arts Bank

When you drive to Stony Island Arts Bank, another free spot, you’ll see the archives of Johnson Publishing and even Frankie Knuckles’ collection of records.

As you can see from these thirty locales, Chicago is bustling city that is a dream to visit for people with any kind of budget. And we’d know. American Auto Insurance has been serving the Chicago area for over 30 years.

Are there any spots we’ve missed? Give us a call and we’ll add them to the list!