10 free summer activities in Chicago to enjoy with your family

There’s nothing like summer in the city. In Chicago, we are spoiled with so many things to do with our kids once school is out. If you’re looking to save some money, consider these free ideas to enjoy the season with the entire family. 

Hit the beach.

Beach day, anyone? We’re so lucky to have so many beaches along Lake Michigan and on your next beach trip, don’t forget to pack these essential items

Attend an outdoor festival.

It’s hard not to find a street fest going on during the weekend in Chicago. There are so many family fun options for fests too. Join us for Kids Eat Chicago in July, our two-day event with Taste of Chicago for activities, music, entertainment and more. 

Go see a movie under the stars.

Movie nights make the best family date nights. Plan ahead and catch one of these kid-friendly flicks on our ultimate outdoor summer movie guide

Have a picnic.

Dining al fresco is a must-do during a Chicago summer. Save some money by packing up a few items and eating out at these local picnic spots

Dance at an outdoor concert.

There are a lot of free concerts scattered across Chicagoland. Some of our favorites include the Millennium Park Summer Music SeriesOld Town School of Folk Music Wiggleworms at Gallagher Way and Sing Along with Mr. Singer

Watch fireworks.

You have to make a trip to Navy Pier this summer to see their seasonal fireworks. Fireworks on Navy Pier can be seen from the dock on Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m. through September 1. 

Cool off at a splash pad.

Kiddos love getting wet and many parks in the area offer a free splash zone just for them. Crown Fountain at Millenium Park remains a favorite with families visiting downtown for the day. 

Explore Chicago’s street art. 

Take a walk in a few neighborhoods to see all the murals and sculptures the city has to offer. 

Take a bike ride.

A family bike ride seems like a great way to spend a beautiful sunny day. Check out these local spots for two-wheeled fun.

Avoid summer brain drain.

It might be vacation time for the kids, but that doesn’t mean you should take a break from learning. Your favorite museums offer plenty of free days for Illinois residents all summer long. 

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