We love to share this weekly post with you of free things to do in Chicago this week of May 20-27. There are so many things to do this week in Chicago, so let’s show you the free events, freebies and more. ⇣ ⇣ ⇣ MEET ONE OF OUR SPONSORS JUST BELOW (THEY HELP PAY THE BILLS… THANKS) ⇣ ⇣ ⇣
OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THIS WEEK
Zingerman’s Deli pop-up – One of our favorite eateries, Zingerman’s Deli, awesome sandwich makers and more from Ann Arbor, Mich., will pop up Sunday and Monday in the near West Side, making some of their world-renowned sandwiches. For two days only, the celebrated Ann Arbor eatery will present a reuben focused menu alongside other Zingerman’s goodies at The Ruin Daily, Chicago’s quirky day bar and deli. 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Ruin Daily, 328 S. Jefferson St., free, sandwich prices vary; facebook.com/events
FREE MUSEUMS THIS WEEK IN CHICAGO
- The Art Institute of Chicago – EVERY Thursday Evening except Thanksgiving – May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 — Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5-8 p.m.
- The Block Museum of Art in Evanston – Free Tuesdays to Sundays
- Charnley-Persky House Museum – Free on May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 — FREE guided tours are offered every Wednesday at 12 Noon. Tours are limited to 15 guests, first-come, first-served.
- Chicago Botanic Garden: This garden spot is FREE every day, but parking can be expensive. Opt to take a train instead — the Union Pacific North line stops right by the entrance.
- Chicago Children’s Museum – FREE for all visitors every Thursday, 5-8 pm. — May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 except Thanksgiving — FREE on the first Sunday of each month (May 5) for children 15 and under.
- Chicago Cultural Center – Always Free everyday
- Chicago History Museum – FREE Every Tuesday – Free on May 7, 14, 21, 28 – CLICK LINK for more info
- Clarke House Museum – CHICAGO’S OLDEST HOUSE – Free on May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
- DuSable Museum of African American History – Now Tuesdays — Free on May 7, 14, 21, 28
- Glessner House Museum – Free on Wednesdays on May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
- Jane Addams Hull House Museum – Free every day
- Loyola University Museum of Art – Free on Free on May 7, 14, 21, 28 – – Click to learn more
- NEW — McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum – Sundays, May 5, 12, 19, 26
- Museum of Contemporary Art – Free on Tuesdays on May 7, 14, 21, 28
- Museum of Surgical Science – Free on Tuesdays on May 7, 14, 21, 28
- The National Museum of Mexican Art – Free Tuesdays to Sundays
- The National Veterans Art Museum – Free Tuesdays to Saturdays
- Notebaert Nature Museum – EVERY Thursday Evening except Thanksgiving- May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – Check out the awesome butterfly pavilion!
- Smart Museum of Art at University of Chicago – Free every day
FREE FUN ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK IN THE CITY
Douglas Park – Greens fees got you down? The Park District operates a FREE mini golf course at Douglas Park.
Teens workout free all Summer at Planet Fitness – Beginning May 15, teens can sign up for the Teen Summer Challenge in person at their preferred location. To sign up, any teen under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian with them. Once they have the waiver form signed, teens can work out alone. More information. Where: Planet Fitness
Garfield Park Conservatory – The Garfield Park Conservatory is committed to providing innovative and educational events and programs throughout the year. We offer 23 hours of free programming every week. In addition we produce and host cultural performances, hands-on classes, unique fundraisers, educational demonstrations, and more! Peruse by content area by clicking on one of the thumbnails below, or go straight to our calendar to see what’s happening on a specific date and time.
Free Divvy Bike Riding Classes – City of Chicago and the city’s Divvy bike rental system, which together are offering free summer bike riding classes to help people learn how to navigate the city streets on a bike. The classes are being offered as part of the city’s “Learn to Ride a Bike 2019” campaign. The classes are intended to “encourage adults who have never ridden a bike or haven’t ridden recently to feel comfortable riding a bike on city streets,” according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Students can use Divvy bikes for free during the classes, and participants get a free helmet.
Novelty Golf & Games -The Bunny Hutch in LIncolnwood is the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon. There are two kitschy mini-golf courses to choose from, both with goofy themes and deceptively challenging holes, plus batting cages and a small game room. The mini-complex also includes a diner-grill, serving up hot dogs, burgers and more. There’s a FEE but FUN!
City Mini Golf – City Mini Golf started as a pop-up but found a permanent home in Maggie Daley Park. The course has such great views of the Chicago skyline, it’ll be hard to keep your eye on the ball. There’s a FEE but FUN!
Diversey Driving Range – The Diversey Driving Range is well known among bonafide golfers, put the place has a sillier side — an 18-hole mini golf course nestled along Diversey Harbor. There’s a FEE but FUN!
Kids Biking Chicago at The Garden (FREE)- Put your riding skills to the test at the best dirt bike jump trails in Chicago at The Garden. Situated along the Chicago River at Richard Clark Park, in the footprint of the former Riverview Amusement Park, The Garden provides cheap thrills (it’s free!) for riders of all experience levels.
Tennis at the Chicago Park District courts – The Chicago Park District has a handful of courts — but truly any patch of grass will do.
Millennium Park’s Great Lawn – Free summer workouts on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn are back in 2019. Swing by for yoga classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; on Saturday the slate of fitness options expands to include pilates, tai chi and zumba.
Chicago History Museum – The Chicago History Museum (FREE on Tuesdays) also has walking tours of neighborhoods from the Gold Coast to Bronzeville, Old Town to Pilsen, and also leads guided strolls through some of the city’s quietest areas — Graceland and Rosehill cemeteries. chicagohistory.org/events/
The Chicago Architecture Center – All this walking is bound to make a person hungry. The Chicago Architecture Center has the perfect solution: A tour of buildings that date back to 1893, the year the city hosted the now famous Columbian Exposition, coupled with a sampling of foods introduced at the World’s Fair. We’re talking about hot dogs, caramel corn and brownies.
Thursday at the the Moonlighter, 3204 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago (773) 360-8896 – Spring Brake! Join The Bike Lane Chicago and Revolution Brewing for Free Bike Safety Checks and $4 Revolution Every Day Hero session IPA!!! Safety Checks start at 6pm!
Logan Square Farmers Market – The second outdoor session of the spring for the Logan Square Farmers Market in now under so this weekend, check out the rotating lineup of 80 favorite local farm and food vendors. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Logan Square Farmers Market, 3107 W. Logan Blvd., free; facebook.com/events
FREE NATURE AREAS IN CHICAGO
North Park Village Nature Center – At 58 acres, North Park Village Nature Center on the Northwest Side is big enough to create the illusion you’ve left the city altogether (provided you ignore the airplane traffic overhead). Trails wind through woodland, wetland, prairie and savanna. No visit is complete without a deer sighting.
West Ridge Nature Preserve – The West Ridge Nature Preserve’s 20 acres of meandering paths were carved out of an unused section of Rosehill Cemetery, which isn’t as creepy as it sounds. The preserve features a fishing area, nature play space and native plants.
Burnham Prairie Burnham Wildlife Corridor – South Shore Nature Sanctuary – The Burnham Prairie Burnham Wildlife Corridor stretches along the lakefront from McCormick Place to 47th Street and the South Shore Nature Sanctuary has six acres of dunes, wetlands, woodlands and prairies in the shadow of the South Shore Cultural Center.
Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary – Bird watching is a popular activity at all of the city’s natural areas. The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary (aka, the Magic Hedge) is a particularly excellent spot to keep an eye out for our feathered friends. Check out the Chicago Ornithological Society’s website for information on upcoming birding events and field trips around the city.
BEST HAPPY HOURS THIS WEEK
Monday, May 20 – Learn more here
The Smith (400 N. Clark St., 312-312-5100) offers $8 wine on tap, $6 draft beer, $1 oysters and $6 fried pickled okra at 5-6 p.m.
Tuesday, May 21
Red Fish Bleu Fish and Porkchop (5121 S. Harper Ave., 773-952-4744) offer a half-dozen oysters and a glass of rum punch or two tacos and a margarita, respectively, for $10 from 4-6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 22
Daisies (2523 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-661-1671) offers $6 select glasses of wine at 5-6:30 p.m.
IN THE SURROUNDING SUBURBS
Learn about local thrill rides past and present at the new exhibit “Worlds of Wonder: Remembering Chicagoland’s Amusement Parks” starting 5-18-19 at the Elmhurst History Museum, 120 E. Park Ave., Elmhurst. Free. (630) 833-1457 or elmhursthistory.org.
NOT FREE BUT WORTH IT
The 2019 Chicago Critics Film Festival. Screenings and panels continue through Thursday at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. $12-$18 individual admission; $150 festival pass. Performers include Jay Duplass, Tatiana Maslany, Jim Gaffigan and more. For more info, call (773) 871-6604 or chicagocriticsfilmfestival.com. Various times through Thursday, May 23
FESTIVALS COMING UP IN CHICAGO – PUT ON YOUR CALENDAR
Lincoln Park Greek Fest – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2 — Lincoln Park (FREE)
Being Greek means relishing the world around you and enjoying life to its fullest. Come experience the Ancient Greek concept of “filoxenia” and the famous hospitality of the Greek culture. The Lincoln Park Greek Fest gives us the opportunity to open our arms, our hearts and our kitchens as we share our culture with you! This popular annual cultural celebration on the grounds of St. George Greek Orthodox Church will serve up authentic flavorful food, great music, dancing and pure fun.
Maifest Chicago – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2 — Lincoln Square (FREE)
LaGrange Carnival – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2 — LaGrange (FREE)
Do Division Family Fun Fest – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2 — Wicker Park
Taste of Mexico in Little Village – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2 — Little Village (FREE)
Food aficionados will be in taste heaven as this celebration of South-of-the-Border cuisine returns for its fifth year to the Midwest’s largest Mexican community. Held on 26th Street in the heart of the Little Village neighborhood, Taste of Mexico is a three-day culinary extravaganza that will appeal to Chicagoans from every background.
One highlight will, of course, be nearly 20 neighborhood and other local restaurants selling authentic Mexican street foods including tacos, flautas, enchiladas, tortas, gorditas and more. There’s also a non-stop music/entertainment stage as well as arts & crafts for lovers of both Mexican foods and culture. And for kids and families, there’s a large carnival ride area.
34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival – Friday, May 31 – Sunday, June 2 — Millennium Park (FREE)
Celebrating the great influence of the music genre born in this city more than 80 years ago, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will present the top gospel artists in the country. Over the years the festival has featured traditional choirs to contemporary urban gospel.
Featuring local and national artists celebrating the music style’s deep Chicago roots, the Gospel Music Festival will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) from noon to 4 p.m. and in Millennium Park from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 31, and continue in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) on Saturday, June 1, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with music beginning at noon.
Vintage Rides Car Show – Saturday, June 1 — Wheaton (FREE)
57th Street Art Fair – Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2— Hyde Park (FREE)
Front Porch Concert Series – Sunday, June 2 — Lakeview (FREE)
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