Our Super Secret Guide to Chicago on a Budget

The 606

The 606 is an old train track that has been rehabbed by the city of Chicago into a beautiful 2.7-mile trail. Fun Fact: The trail is called the 606 because all of the zip codes in Chicago start with 606. Ex. 60614 is Lincoln Park. If you are familiar with the High Line in New York, this is Chicago’s version. Walk, jog, roll, or hang with your pup, this path welcomes everyone.

Hours: 6 AM–11 PM

Bloomingdale Ave from Ashland to Ridgeway

2nd Fridays Free Gallery Night in Pilsen

Each 2nd Friday, the galleries of the Chicago Arts District open up their doors to art enthusiasts. Pick up a map at the Information Center, located at 2003 S Halsted and enjoy exploring Pilsen’s dynamic art community.

Hours: 6 PM – 10 PM 2nd Fridays of the Month

2003 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608

Free Pedway Tours

This is a free walking tour that takes place in downtown Chicago. The Pedway is a labyrinth of mostly indoor tunnels, bridges, and paths. Although this walking tour is free, you still need to sign up for it. You can sign up here.

Hours: Only offered in the Winter, Check this website for tour times.

Wow Bao

Lincoln Park Zoo

This is a free summer or winter activity since the zoo is open 365 days a year! In the Winter the zoo hosts Zoo Lights with activities such as musical light shows, live ice sculpture demos, carousel, train and Ferris wheel rides, a light maze, holiday drinks and snacks, photos with Santa, holiday shopping, and more! In the summer walk the 36 acres of lakefront property while you take in the menagerie and carefully curated gardens.

Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM Monday-Sunday

2001 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

River Walk

The River Walk was expanded in the Spring of 2018. Take a stroll with your bestie or hottie, soak up the sun, and get some exercise. FYI it is also wheelchair accessible.

Hours: 6 AM to 11 PM

LaSalle Street to Lake Shore Drive

Free Fireworks on Wednesdays & Saturdays

This is a great idea for a date. You can see the fireworks from most locations along the lakefront. They set them off from Navy Pier so if you can see the Ferris wheel, you should be able to see the fireworks too.

Hours: 9:30 PM Wednesdays, 10:15 PM Saturdays Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend

Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Beaches

The city of Chicago made a point to preserve the waterfront for public citizens, 26 miles in fact. There are so many beaches we can’t even count but you can find a list on the Chicago Park District website. Yes, sometimes you can’t go in the water because of algae issues but the sand is still a great place to get a tan (while using sunscreen) and play some intensely competitive volleyball.

Hours: Sunrise to Sunset Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend

S. Avenue G (Downtown Chicago) to N Eastlake Terrace (Evanston) 

Maggie Daley Park

Go ice skating in the Winter and play mini golf in the Summer. This article tells you everything you need to know about Maggie Daley Park.

Hours: 6 AM to 11 PM

337 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601


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