Chicago's State Street is closed for a weekly block party full of surprises. Photo courtesy of Star Events
Chicago's State Street is closed for a weekly block party full of surprises. Photo courtesy of Star Events

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

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 no-cost fun ramps up all over Chicagoland. 

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:


Downtown Wheaton

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

Northbrook Metra Station Parking Lot

Millennium Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion & Great Lawn
Art on the Mart
Merchandise Mart - 9:00 PM Pick
SummerBurst at Kohl Children's Museum
Kohl Children's Museum - 9:00 AM
Free Tuesdays at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Contemporary Art - 10:00 AM
Picnic on the Riverwalk
Riverwalk Amphitheater - 10:30 AM
Children's Movies at Gallagher Way
Gallagher Way - 11:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides