50+ Free Things To Do in Chicago this Summer with Kids

There are lots of free things to do in Chicago this summer. Photo courtesy of Retro on Roscoe
There are lots of free things to do in Chicago this summer. Photo courtesy of Retro on Roscoe

Given the high cost of raising kids these days, you might be surprised at just how much family-friendly summer fun in Chicago is totally FREE. Of course, the city's playgrounds and splash pads are always free, and there are free days at most museums and even a few restaurants where kids eat free. But in the summertime, the free events in Chicago really ramp up. 

As you can see from this bursting-at-the-seams list, there's literally something free and fun to do every single day of the summer—so there's no excuse for anybody to be bored. Outdoor movies, summer festivals and street fairs, concerts and performances, public art, cultural celebrations, and picnics–and you can leave your wallet at home for all of it! (In theory, at least. There's always ice cream to buy...)

Looking for more? Our list of 100 Things to Do With Chicago Kids Before They Grow Up will do the trick, and of course, you can always find more daily activities in our Chicago Event Calendar.

Places featured in this article:


Naperville Parks

State Street from Madison to Lake

Naperville Community Concert Center

Frontier Sports Complex

Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion & Great Lawn

Parks Citywide

Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion & Great Lawn

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Northbrook Metra Station Parking Lot
Oak Park Farmers Market
Pilgrim Church - 7:00 AM Pick
Dragon Boat Race for Literacy
Tom Ping Memorial Park - 8:00 AM Pick
'Go Run
Warren Park - 9:00 AM Pick
'Go Run
Humboldt Park - 9:00 AM Pick
Super Sensational Saturdays
Cortesi Veterans Memorial Park - 10:00 AM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides