Free and Cheap Events This Weekend in Chicago

Looking for something to do this weekend but a little light in the wallet?  Well, check out this list of things to do in Chicago this weekend.  Some are free, some cheap but alway know we are trying to stretch yours and our wallet to go further in this city that we love so much!  Here is what we have found so far.





Obviously, this is a big weekend for our city as the Chicago Marathon kicks off its 40th year.  One of Chicago’s best events every year is the free Bank of America 2017 Chicago Marathon, coming up this Sunday on October 8th. Whether you’re running it yourself, or cheering on a friend, it’s a fantastic way to get to know the city a little better. The free Marathon route goes through many of Chicago’s distinct neighborhoods so come on out and watch 45,000 runners tackle the legendary Chicago Marathon 26.2-mile course.  Whether you are planning to support a specific runner or looking to cheer on the masses, we have all the information you need to prepare for race day viewing along the course or from home.  Get all the Spectator Info and Street Closures HERE.


The Chicago Author Series, meeting Saturdays in October, offers free, thought-provoking discussions about our regional history and culture with local authors.  Discussions begin at 1 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 7 to 28, in the Netzley/Yender Farmhouse at Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St., Lisle.   The presenting authors from around the Chicago area will discuss their books in a fun and informal fashion.  On Oct. 7: Illinois Institute of Technology alum and science fiction writer Steve Bellinger will discuss focal points in Chicago history through his book “The Chronocar: An Urban Adventure in Time” with co-presenter and playwright Joe Rulli, author of “Chicago Haymarket Affair.”   Location: Netzley/Yender Farmhouse at Museums at Lisle Station Park, 921 School St., Lisle;    Cost: Free;  Info: (630) 968-0499 or  CLICK HERE


Art Walk on the South Side — Come on out this weekend and enjoy one of the city’s newer art festivals, the burgeoning 4th annual Beverly Art Walk . The fourth annual FREE Beverly Art Walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 7th, noon-7pm. The Art Walk features work by more than 200 talented artists and makers in 60+ venues, live music, artist demonstrations, children’s activities, public art, coffee, craft beer, and free trolleys. Local artists also open their home studios for an insight into their artistic process, inspirations, and work. The Art Walk is a free, family-friendly event and attracts more than 6,000 visitors each year.   .Pick any participating venue to start. All  this fun takes place from 103rd to  111st street between Western and Wood.  Get the full program PDF here.


Today’s CUBS Playoff Freebie — Didja know that the Cubs provide free parking and a shuttle bus service to the game from a remote lot at 3900 N. Rockwell, just south of Irving Park Road and east of California Avenue? CLICK HERE FOR  MORE INFORMATION


Free Shuttle This Weekend for Chicago Architecture Biennial – Check out the FREE SHUTTLE this weekend to see the sites around University of Chicago (also two more  dates in 2017 – see bottom).   The UChicago Architecture Biennial Shuttle will run on an hourly loop to various sites of architectural activity and speculation on and around the University’s Hyde Park campus, including the new Campus Residence Hall designed by Studio Gang; the Arts Block, envisioned by Theaster Gates; the site for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park; and the campus’ landmark Mid-century buildings by Eero Saarinen and Mies van der Rohe.


FREE Museums This Weekend through Bank of America —  allows cardholders to gain free admission to a number of Chicago museums on the first weekend of every month. Participants simply show their Bank of America ATM, credit or debit card or check to participating museums to gain free general admittance.  Visitors who present a valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch ATM, credit or debit card, along with photo identification, can receive one free all-access admission ticket on the first full weekend of each month in 2017. Free admission benefits are not transferable and are valid for the cardholder only so bring all your ATM/credit cards.


Celebrate harvest fun in the heart of the city with Lincoln Park Zoo’s third annual Fall Fest in Chicago! This free family celebration features animal chats, musical entertainment, a pumpkin carver and fall-themed enrichment for the animals. Fall Fest also includes ticketed attractions throughout the zoo: a Ferris wheel, corn maze, hay mountain, fun slide, inflatable obstacle courses and more.


Come out to River North on Saturday morning and join a FREE Chicago art gallery tour! Meet at Fabcakes at 714 N. Wells St. We are thrilled to partner with Fabcakes, an independently owned cafe in River North.  A gallery representative leads a guided tour of four Chicago  galleries. The gallery roster and tour leader change weekly. Conversation centers on the exhibitions and artists on view.


West Town Art Walk Oct. 6-7, 2017    The Art Walk—returning for the 7th year—features visual art, music and fashion and more at 35-plus shops, bars and other businesses along Chicago Avenue. The Food Truck Social features more than 15 dining and drinking options along Noble Street. A special sampler ticket ($20) includes six samples from participating trucks.   West Town Art Walk: 5-8 p.m. Friday; noon-8 p.m. Saturday along Chicago Avenue from Milwaukee to Western avenues. Free. / MAP

Not far from the display of art, fashion and music, make sure to also grab a bite to eat at the West Town Food Truck Social happening on Noble Street. Admission is free for both events.


The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival Oct. 5-8, 2017      Visitors could witness history at this Highwood event. This year, the Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most pumpkins carved and lit up at the same time, which currently stands at 30,851. Your $3 weekday and $5 weekend admission will support a good cause as all proceeds from the event go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


St. Charles Scarecrow Fest Oct. 6-8, 2017 Organizers expect nearly 100,000 visitors at this year’s annual St. Charles Scarecrow Fest, nationally recognized as one of the best fall festivals around. Whether you’re competing in one of the six scarecrow-building competitions or seeking thrills on the carnival rides, there’s something fun for everyone at this iconic event. Visitors can park their cars at 2 E. Main Street and hop on a trolley to reach the event grounds. Parking and admission are both free of charge.


Creepy Fun?     Are you ready to be scared while  you run?  The sixth annual Rosehill Cemetery Crypt 5K run and walk takes place this Saturday at the the largest cemetery in Chicago—includes a post-race party at nearby Fireside Restaurant (5739 N. Ravenswood Ave.) with an optional $12 meal package for those who register in advance. Partial proceeds benefit the Chicago chapter of the American Diabetes Association.   Details: 7 p.m. Saturday at Rosehill Cemetery, 5800 N. Ravenswood Ave. $34-$43. / MAP


Come on out on the southside and enjoy some awesome exhibitions, live music, discussions, film screenings, workshops, comedy, spoken word and other events that celebrate the work of University of Chicago students, faculty, scholars, staff and others at the Logan Five Year Bash . Highlights include a rooftop cocktail party (4-11 p.m., cash bar), a courtyard barbecue (5-7:20 p.m.) and architecture tours of the building designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the husband-and-wife architecture firm behind the Obama Presidential Center (3, 4 and 5 p.m.).   Details: 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Most events are free. Registration recommended. / MAP


It is time to kick off the Hallween season with a cult classic at Campfire Horrors, the Park District’s annual autumn outing that kicks off Friday with a screening of Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller “The Birds.” As the name suggests, the night includes a crackling campfire and complimentary marshmallows. BYO blanket and chairs. In the event of rain, the screening will be moved indoors.  Details: 6 p.m. (campfire starts); 7 p.m. (film) Friday at Northerly Island Park, 1521 S. Linn White Drive. Free. / MAP

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