Spend the day at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier for an afternoon celebration of Chinese New Year. Photo courtesy of Navy Pier
Spend the day at the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier for an afternoon celebration of Chinese New Year. Photo courtesy of Navy Pier

50+ Free Things to Do with Kids in Chicago This Winter

Say what you want about Chicago winters, but the fact is, this town knows how to pack a lot of fun into the coldest months of the year. And best of all, much of that family-friendly winter fun is totally FREE.

Some of the city's best attractions offer free admission during the winter, with free Illinois resident days at the Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry—plus, the entire month of February is FREE at the world-class Field Museum, and the Brookfield Zoo has free days through the end of February, too. Winter is prime time for exploring culture and history with Chicago kids, with free and just-for-kids celebrations of MLK's legacy around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and no-cost Chinese New Year celebrations lighting up Chicago. There's a blizzard of free kids' concerts, shows, storytimes, and public art hitting town too.

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


Brookfield Zoo
8400 31st Street
Brookfield, IL 60513

The Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

The DuSable Museum of African American Art
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637

Women and Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624

Chicago Children's Museum
700 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL 60603

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Dr.
Chicago, IL 60614

Open Books (West Loop)
651 West Lake St
Chicago, IL 60661

Lizzardo Museum of Lapidary Art
220 Cottage Hill Avenue
Elmhurst , IL 60126

Elmhurst Art Museum
150 Cottage Hill Avenue
Elmhurst , IL 60126

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St. Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor South
Chicago, IL 60602

Children’s Literature Gallery at the American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Ave.; 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N Central Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60624

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Childrens Museum
700 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Northerly Island
1521 S. Linn White Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

Ryan Learning Center, Art Institute of Chicago
159 E Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60603

DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637

The Anti-Cruelty Society
157 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL

Field Museum
1400 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60605

Ryan Learning Center, Art Institute of Chicago
159 East Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603

Secret Agent Supply Company
1276 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Downtown Downers Grove
933 Curtiss Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Central Athletic Complex- Ice Rink
500 S. Naperville Road
Wheaton , IL 60187

Parade Start
Winthrop & Argyle
Chicago, IL 60640

Chinatown
24th Street and Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Aon Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier
600 E. GRAND AVENUE
Chicago, IL 60611

Northerly Island
1521 S. Linn White Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

DuPage County Fairgrounds
2015 Manchester Road
Wheaton , IL 60187

Aon Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Brookdale Lisle
1700 Robin Lane
Lisle, IL 60532

Chicago River
Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601

Naperville North High School
899 N. Mill Street
Naperville, IL 60563

Cloud Gate, Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60603

Aon Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier
600 E. GRAND AVENUE
Chicago, IL 60611

Macy's on State Street
111 N State St.
Chicago, IL 60602