Completely free spring break ideas in Chicagoland

Looking for spring break ideas without breaking the bank? Well, here are fun staycation ideas that are free, free, free.


Stroll along Navy Pier. Take awesome pics by the lake. Pack a lunch and have it in the indoor Crystal Gardens amidst shooting fountains. When you’re done, be sure to check out the new musical, illuminated see-saws. Don’t forget to stop by the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows, the first ever museum dedicated to stained glass, where you’ll find 13 windows from Louis Comfort Tiffany. If the timing works, you may be able to check out some of their free events. 


It’s all about the kids at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Head to the museum on every first Sunday of each month when admission is free for those 15 and under. There is also free admission to all visitors on Thursday evenings 5 p.m.-8 p.m.


Stop and smell the flowers at Garfield Park Conservatory. Stroll through the conservatory in controlled temps and delight at the beautiful flowers surrounding you. The children will dig the interactive Elizabeth Morse Garden where they can climb a 7-foot-tall seed and ride down the twirling stem of a green slide.


Visit Siku, the polar bear, at the new state-of-the-art polar bear exhibit at one of Chicago’s best free attractions, Lincoln Park Zoo.


While you’re in the area, discover colorful florals at Lincoln Park Conservatory


Celebrate Mexican art and culture at National Museum of Mexican Art.


Get one with nature at many of the nature centers or farms in the area. Check out Crab Tree Nature Center, Kline Creek Farm, Primrose Farm, Wagner Farm and North Park Nature Village Center as they always have something fun scheduled.


If the weather cooperates, kids will have a blast exploring Maggie Daley Park and Millennium Park.


Stop by the Chicago Cultural Center to gaze at the amazing architecture and two stained glass domes. Check their schedule for various free programs including the kid-friendly Juice Box programs the first and third Fridays of the month.


Kids love art? Stop by the Ryan Education Center of the Art Institute of Chicago where they can assemble puzzles from those masterpieces they’d see in the galleries, play with blocks or browse through over 1,300 picture books. With fun exhibits such as a Picture Book Gallery and a Touch Gallery, the younger set will be excited to learn more about art. Plus, the family programs offered are also free. If you’d like to visit the actual museum for free, go on a Thursday when there’s no fee for Illinois residents from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.


Learn about the ancient Near East by exploring a recreated Assyrian palace at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum, a research organization and museum. Don’t forget to take a photo with the 17-foot-tall statue of King Tut.


Want to see a million dollars? Take a free tour at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago where you’ll a chance to see it in person.

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