You don’t need to reach for your wallet to get your fill of fun things to do in Chicago. Here are 10 of our favorite free and cheap things to do in Chicago this month, including free museum days, Pride celebrations, neighborhood walking tours, and so much more. Start planning your budget-friendly adventures now.

1. Explore a free museum

Chicago museums are open to enjoy, and there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than wandering through a new museum exhibit or art gallery. Here are the upcoming free museum days this month (and make sure to reserve  your tickets ahead of time):

You can also check out one of the city’s always-free museums, like the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Hyde Park Art Center, or explore online for free with virtual museum exhibits. And check out free museum days throughout the year.

2. Celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride

June is Pride Month and there are plenty of fun (and free!) ways to celebrate all around Chicago. The Legacy Walk lights up the streets of Northalsted, the oldest official gay neighborhood in the country. This rainbow-hued outdoor museum honors the historic contributions of the LGBTQ+ community. Check out other LGBTQ+ attractions and historic homes around Chicago for more ways to celebrate Pride.

3. Visit the Chicago Cultural Center

After a long hiatus, the Chicago Cultural Center is reopening to the public on June 2, 2021. The cultural heart of the Loop, this stunning landmark building is home to free art exhibits, concerts, tours, and the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world. Spend a day exploring, then head right across the street to spend some time in Millennium Park.

4. Catch live music, movies, yoga, and more on the lakefront

Navy Pier offers a full schedule of free summer events, from live DJ performances to outdoor fitness classes. Check out everything happening on the Pier this summer and visit the Navy Pier events calendar for more details:

  • Navy Pier Pride on Saturday, June 26
  • Wave Wall Moves dance series on Saturdays
  • Wave Wall Wax DJ sets on Saturdays
  • Live on the Lake! concerts on Saturdays and Sundays
  • Pier Fitness classes on Tuesdays
  • Skyline Sessions concerts on Thursdays and Fridays
  • Water Flicks movie screenings on Mondays and Thursday starting July 8

5. Celebrate Juneteenth

DuSable Museum exhibit
Lucy Hewett for Choose Chicago

The DuSable Museum of African American History, the nation’s first independent Black history museum, is reopening on Juneteenth, a cultural holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. They’ll be marking the occasion with a Welcome Back celebration, which includes free admission to the museum on June 19 through the end of the month. After exploring the exhibits, make sure to take a stroll around the museum’s scenic grounds of Washington Park.

6. See the world’s largest video art show

Art on theMART

Art on theMART is back! The free show lights up the Chicago Riverwalk with a stunning light display each night at 8:30 and 9 p.m. Grab a spot near the water and enjoy projections inspired by the Adler Planetarium and the Year of Chicago Music.

7. Scoot or skate along the Ribbon

Rock climb at Maggie Daley Park

Grab your skates or a scooter and head to Maggie Daley Park, where the free Skating Ribbon has been converted from an ice rink to a paved path. The Ribbon is open and free to use with your own equipment seven days a week (or rent some wheels for $12). The park offers scenic views of the surrounding skyline and is a short walk to Millennium Park or the lakefront.

8. Take a free neighborhood tour

Whether it’s you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, there’s always something new to discover in Chicago. Get to know a new neighborhood on a free Chicago Greeter tour, led by a friendly local who will show you each neighborhood’s landmarks, hot spots, and hidden gems. Register for a tour online ahead of time.

9. Wander The Lakefront Trail

Biking down Lakeshore Drive on Divvys
Clayton Hauck for Choose Chicago

Explore a stretch of the 18-mile Lakefront Trail, where you’ll find scenic views of the vast Lake Michigan. Venture out by foot or rent a Divvy bike to cover more ground. Make sure to check the weather and trail conditions before heading out.

10. Experience the Chicago Riverwalk

Pedestrians walk on the Chicago Riverwalk in summer
Alice Achterhof

Last but certainly not least, the Chicago Riverwalk is the perfect vantage point to admire the city’s stunning architecture. The award-winning stretch of waterfront is open year-round, though concessions are seasonal.

Looking for more? Check out our guide on free things to do in Chicago all year long.