Free Kid-Friendly Events in Chicagoland

Are you on a budget, but still want to take your family to do something fun? Find free things to do in the city and suburbs.

There are plenty of budget-friendly activities to do in Chicago and the suburbs, but you just have to find it. Luckily, we’re done that for you.

Each activity listed here won’t cost you a dime to attend. You might have to splurge on parking or something you want to purchase at the event, but that’s it!

Check back here regularly because we’re always updating events we find. Also, be sure to check our calendar for more family fun.

Free events in Chicago  

Open Nature Play Days

Now-May 25, 2022 

Bring your little one for open nature play time, which includes stories, art, and exploration. Enjoy the Dan Ryan Woods Nature Play space while helping your children connect with nature.

DIY Origami Butterflies

May 9-13, 2022

Teens and tweens can drop-in on this event at Clearing Branch. Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by creating a colorful, origami butterfly. All supplies are provided. Registration not required. 

Switch on Summer 2022

May 14, 2022

Celebrate the start of summer in Grant Park at Buckingham Fountain for ComEd’s 8th annual Switch on Summer. This event will feature family-friendly activities, entertainment, local food vendors, fun giveaways and special guest appearances.

Young People’s Poetry Day

May 14, 2022

This annual event for youth features Pat Mora, winner of the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement and author of numerous books for young readers, a poetry scavenger hunt, fun crafts, writing activities and more. Attendees can also learn to make hand-crafted books of cardboard and recycled materials called cartoneras.

Spring Festival: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 15, 2022

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at Caldwell Woods with various arts, storytelling and craft projects.

Hidden Treasures

May 21, 2022

Find some unique treasures at this pop-up shop with local vendors.

Lincoln Roscoe Spring Art & Craft Fair

May 21, 2022 

  • Address: Lincoln Ave. From Roscoe to School, Chicago

Come shop original art and handmade crafts from 60 artists. Also, live music, art activities for kids, festival food and more.

Nature Block Party

May 21, 2022

Explore nature and all the fun things you can do outdoors. Kids will also create art at this nature-filled event.

Evening Storytime Fun

May 21, 2022

Ages 2-5 will be able to read along and interpret the story line using activities like puppets, drama and arts at this story time in the park.


May 27, 2022

Drop in on the last Friday of the month to visit the Nature Center and preserve at night. Great for those who work during the day.

Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade

May 28, 2022

This annual will honor the men and women who gave their lives in service protecting our nations freedom. The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 11 the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza. The parade kicks off at noon.

Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade concludes at Taft High School for a tribute ceremony. Here, the American flag will raise and the Taft Eagles Choir and Taft Drums & Bugle Corp. will perform.

WOOGMS Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022 

Celebrate WOOGMS (Wellington Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society)’s annual parade. Families can bring their pets, strollers, bikes and scooters to join in on the fun. Jesse White Tumblers will perform at the end.

Free events in North/Northwest Suburbs

Tree-Mendous Trees! Secret Code Search

May 1-31, 2022 

For the month of May, visitors of Emily Oaks Nature Center can come out to decode the secret message.

Norwegian Constitution Day Parade

May 15, 2022 

Pre-parade activities will include a scholarship presentation, entertainment by The Norwegian Bachelor Farmers, vendors, refreshments and activities for children. The parade will begin at 1 p.m. and will feature local marching bands, folk dancers, singing societies and Scandinavian organizations in ethnic costumes.

Art in the Park

May 21, 2022

See more than 85 artists showing paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and more. The event features live music in the gazebo, youth art activities and festival food.

Barrington Art Festival

May 28, 2022

This fest features 130 artists in all media including paintings, sculpture, jewelry, wearables and more. Live music and youth art activities add to the weekend’s fun.

Arlington Heights Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremony

May 30, 2022

Watch the Memorial Day parade as it trails from Sigwalt St. all the way until Chestnut and Fremont Streets. At the end, there will be a Memorial Ceremony at Memorial Park.

Lincolnwood Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

Participates can take part in the Memorial Day Parade on bikes, trikes, wagons or scooters decorated with a patriotic theme. Following the parade, a ceremony will take place in Madeleine’s Garden.

Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

This annual parade in Park Ridge celebrates the fallen soldiers that found for our country.

Winnetka Memorial Day Observance

May 30, 2022

Join this ceremony and parade event in honor of those who gave their lives serving our country. The parade begins at the corner of Glendale and Elm St, then heads east to the Village Green Park for the ceremony.

Woodstock Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The ceremony kicks off the day in Woodstock Square. The parade will follow. Walk downtown and view that storefront displays of military uniforms and mementos from local families.

Free events in South Suburbs

Kite Festival

May 14, 2022

Families can enjoy a day in the park and watch a giant kite demonstration. Personal kite flying is encouraged.

South Holland Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade begins 170th St. and South Park Ave. After that parade, there will be a remembrance ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.

Free events in Western Suburbs

What’s Blooming on Harrison Street Festival

May 21, 2022

A family-friendly festival that features an art fair, music stage, children’s carnival, beer garden, food, makers booth and more. Fun for all ages.

Aurora Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022 

The parade route will begin at the intersection of Benton St. and River St. Then, it will head east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place and end at River Street.

Naperville Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

Main parade steps off from Jackson and West St., travels east to Washington, then north to Benton, then east to Saints Peter & Paul church parking lot.

Plainfield Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

This annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony celebrates the fallen soldiers that fought for our country.

River Forest Memorial Day Parade, Ceremony and Community Picnic

May 30, 2022 

The 96th annual Memorial Day Parade, Ceremony and Community Picnic begins at Augusta and Ashland. It travels south to Lake Street, then west to Keystone Park. The parade will conclude with a ceremony and a free hot dog lunch.

St. Charles Memorial Day Parade & Ceremony

May 30, 2022

  • Address: 6th and Main St., Saint Charles

This annual parade steps off at 6th and Main Street. It honors those who have given their lives in service for our country and to honor veterans.

Western Springs Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022 

The parade route begins at Hillgrove Avenue and Hampton, heads east to north on Grand Avenue, east on Chestnut Avenue, south on Lawn Avenue and ends at Tower Green.

Wheaton Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade kicks off in Memorial Park in downtown Wheaton and will head down Main Street to Warrenville Road. It will end at Wheaton Cemetery where a ceremony will take place.

Wood Dale Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade will begin at Addison Road and Elizabeth Drive and travel north to Veteran’s Memorial Park on Irving Park Road.

This post is updated regularly.

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