T-Lincoln-Park-ConservatoryA trip to Chicago can be done luxury or on the cheap, depending on your interests and budget. Visiting with different age ranges and interests can make it a bit harder to plan but not impossible. Here are just a few things happening in Chicago’s downtown area this summer that would appeal to a pretty broad audience and the most discriminating tastes yet still on a budget (read: FREE). without further adieu, here are seven free things to do during summer in Chicago.

Taste of Chicago, July 10-14; free to attend although you need to buy tickets to taste the food or attend the concerts.

Lurie Garden is one of the best places in the downtown area to enjoy the gardens, take a stroll and be near Lake Michigan, too. There are several workshops throughout the year, many of which are free as well.

Lincoln Park Zoo is free which is amazing because it’s an excellent zoo. The zoo is just north of the downtown area but easily accessible by bus or train. For those who like to walk, it’s just a few miles from the Loop.


Grant Park Music Festival provides free classical music performances all summer long.


Millenium Park Workouts ~ yoga anyone? Workouts are free on Saturday mornings from 7 – 11 from June 8 through September 7.

Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz ~ leading jazz artists take to the stage every Thursday at 6:30 pm from July 25 through August 29.

Oak Street Beach is easy to get to from the downtown area and has spectacular views.

There are more free things to do in Chicago (in fact, TravelingMom has an entire section devoted to free things to do in every state in the country). Check it out and tell us which are your favorite free things to do in Chicago!

PHOTO CREDIT: Lincoln Park Conservatory image courtesy of City of Chicago; Choose Chicago.

Megy Karydes is founder of Wandering Tastes, a travel and lifestyle website meant to inspire others to take more adventures. She often writes for both consumer and B2B media outlets on food, travel, fair trade and sustainability.