From the Wagyu Beef Short Rib with Malaysian Curry at Proxi to the shops along the Magnificent Mile, spending money in the Windy City is all too easy to do.
Fortunately, there is also all kinds of ways experience all the culture Chicago has to offer without spending a dime.
Journey to other planets, recreate scenes from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and peruse some of the city’s most underrated art museums completely free.
Here are a few free artsy things to do in Chicago:
Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Embrace your inner explorer at the Adler Planetarium, where Illinois residents receive free admission on certain days of the month. Gaze at the planets, stars, and solar systems at the museum’s Grainger Sky Theater, grab a sandwich with an amazing view of the Chicago skyline at Galileo's Café, and learn about the people behind some amazing discoveries.
The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
Peruse the more than 300,000 pieces of art that adorn the walls inside the Art Institute of Chicago. Must-see exhibits include the Japanese prints and ancient Greek sculptures as well as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.
In addition to being free for children 14 and under every day, admission is free to Illinois residents from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursdays.
DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullterton
Admission is free every day at the DePaul Art Museum, which is a train ride away from most of the city at the Fullterton Red and Brown line station. Considered one of the most underrated art museums in the city, the spot is on the DePaul University campus in Lincoln Park.
The collection is diverse, including more than 3,000 pieces of artwork done by local and regional artists alongside works from West Africa and Eastern Europe. Museum staff members are available to assist in developing custom tours and collection study visits to enhance students’ learning experience.
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, 220 Cottage Hill Ave.
Fridays are fun days all year long at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art. Admission is free for everyone on Fridays. It is also free daily for children under seven and active military personnel.
The museum displays gemstone treasures of various ages amid earth science exhibits. The permanent collection includes a wide variety of mosaics, gemstones, jade carvings, rocks, minerals, and fossils. Parking is also free.
Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), 820 N. Michigan Ave.
Explore 25,000 square feet of gallery space that includes eight main exhibitions at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). Step inside the historic Gothic Revival building and visitors are welcomed by the Solomon Cordwell Buenz Library of Sacred Art and Architecture, the Push Pin Gallery, and the Harlan J. Berk Ltd. Works on Paper Gallery.
Admission is free every Tuesday for all visitors. Active military personnel and their families, Loyola University Chicago staff, faculty, and students, and members of the clergy are also free everyday.