March in Chicago means that spring is here and summer is right around the corner. As the weather warms up, there are more and more FREE things to do around Chicago. Read on for some top picks to finish out the month.




1.  Go on a Guided Tour of the Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center


Chicago Cultural Center has free art exhibits, concerts and much more. Go on a guided architecture tour or explore the underground pedway, all without spending a dime! Learn more about the free activities at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago Cultural Center  | 78 E. Washington Street  |  312-744-6630




2.  Check out the New Arrivals at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo is free year-round, but is especially lovely to visit in the spring. Put on some sunscreen and walking shoes to enjoy the animals and beautiful greenery. Pack a picnic lunch to save money on concessions, and check out the zoo's new arrivals and new animal habitats (for visitor favorites, the penguins and polar bears!) before you plan your trip.

Lincoln Park Zoo  |  2001 N. Clark Street  |  312-742-2000






3.  Ride a Musical Seesaw at Navy Pier


Free public art show Impulse comes to Navy Pier this March (until May 21), with 15 light-and-sound seesaws for kids of all ages to take a ride. Take a stroll down the mile-long pier while you're there: the views are free, so bring your camera!

Navy Pier  |  600 E. Grand Avenue  |  1-800-595-7437




4.  Get a Taste of Pilsen at the National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of Mexican Art

Located in Pilsen, this free museum is a great under-the-radar location. It’s an especially great activity if you’ve never been to the Pilsen neighborhood before. Grab some tacos for lunch at one of the many authentic Mexican restaurant. 5 Rabanitos is excellent, and just a short walk away from the museum. Special exhibits on display now: Hecho en CaSa and Time to Get Ready: Fotografía Social.

National Museum of Mexican Art  |  1852 W. 19th Street  |  312-738-1503




5.  Feel (Like) a Million Bucks at the Money Museum

Money Museum at Chicago Federal Reserve Bank

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum offers free tours (Monday–Friday at 1 p.m.) where you can see what a million dollars looks like. This museum even won a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. A great activity for kids.

The Money Museum  |  230 S. LaSalle Street  |  312-322-2400






6.  Dive into the Collection at Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

Many Chicago museums offer free days to Illinois residents: the Chicago History Museum is free every Tuesday from 12:30–7:30 p.m. Check out the History Highlights Gallery Tour (March 27 at 1:30 p.m.), free with admission to the museum. The special exhibit on display now is Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier, and Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs opens April 8.

Chicago History Museum  |  1601 N. Clark Street  |  312-642-4600




7.  Take a Free Fitness Class at Navy Pier

Zumba at Navy Pier

Get your workout on for free at Navy Pier. The classes offered through March 30 include yoga and Zumba. See the full schedule.

Navy Pier  |  600 E. Grand Avenue  |  1-800-595-7437




8.  Learn about the Big Changes Going On at the MCA

MCA Chicago building redesign rendering

The Museum of Contemporary Art is also free every Tuesday for Illinois residents. Drop in on Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. for MCA Studio: "Future Geology," a talk lead by artist and curator Stella Brown about the ongoing construction at the MCA that will convert 12,000 square feet of the museum into public gathering spaces.

Museum of Contemporary Art  |  220 E. Chicago Avenue  |  312-280-2660



9.  Check Out one of the City's Lesser-Known Museums

DePaul University Art Museum

Located in Lincoln Park, DePaul University Art Museum is free all year round. Check out their current exhibitions and plan your visit. (Note: Hours vary throughout the week. Museum is closed Monday and Tuesday.)

DePaul University Art Museum  |  935 W. Fullerton Avenue  |   773-325-7506




10.  Savor the Spring Blooms at Lincoln Park Conservatory

lincoln park conservatory

Near the Lincoln Park Zoo, the conservatory is totally free and open Monday through Sunday throughout the year. Walk around and check out all of the beautiful flowers and unusual plants. "Spring Rising," the conservatory's spring flower show, runs until May 14.

Lincoln Park Conservatory  |  2391 N. Stockton Drive  |  312-742-7736



11.  Explore Chicago’s Parks


Logan Monument in Grant Park

Millennium Park, Grant Park and Maggie Daley Park are some of Chicago’s greatest free attractions. Pack a picnic for a day of family fun or a romantic evening. With the start of 2017, Chicago kicks off the Year of Public Art so take some time to seek out the collections of statues and murals that make their home here.

Chicago Park District  |  Find a Park  |  312-742-7529


What are some of your favorite things to do in March? Bonus points if they're free! Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and find other ways to stick to a budget: check out these always free Chicago attractions or browse the list of free museum days.