40+ Free Things to Do in Chicago with Kids this Winter

Sledding is always a fun free activity for kids in Chicago. Photo courtesy of the Forest Preserve of Cook County
Sledding is always a fun free activity for kids in Chicago. Photo courtesy of the Forest Preserve of Cook County

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, there are plenty of FREE things to do in Chicago during the winter.

Some of the city's best attractions offer free admission during the winter, with free Illinois resident days at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum—plus, The DuSable Museum is always free (to help you celebrate MLK Day and Black History Month in February), and the Art Institute of Chicago is free on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays through St. Patrick's Day. Speaking of St. Patrick's Day, lots of parades are returning as everyone becomes Chi-rish for a day, or you can see a different kind of parade at Chinese New Year in Chinatown. Groundhog Day and Valentine's Day also make our list of fun free things to do in Chicago this winter.

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 or our Chicago Winter Fun Guide.

Places featured in this article:


The DuSable Museum of African American Art

Lizzardo Museum of Lapidary Art

Chicago Architecture Center

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Central Athletic Complex- Ice Rink

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Naperville North High School

Trailside Museum of Natural History

Museum of Contemporary Art
Art on the Mart
Merchandise Mart - 8:30 PM Pick
Online Guitar Lessons for Kids
Virtual - various times
Online Art Lessons for Kids
Virtual - various times
Online Piano Lessons for Kids
Virtual - various times
5th-6th Grade Virtual Art Classes
online (Zoom) - various times
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides