“Calling me home, Chicago is... Why I just grin like a clown... It's my kind of town,” sang Frank Sinatra.
Attractions in Chicago make tourists grin but free attractions make tourists jump for joy. While Chicago can be expensive there are many places that are free and fun, day or night.
National Geographic mentioned Buckingham Fountain, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo and Millennium Park as some of Chicago’s best attractions. All of these attractions allow you to take in some great history while enjoying the outdoors, all year round.
The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, was opened May 1927 and is the central hub of Grant Park. The fountain is a symbol of Lake Michigan and the majestic sea horses stand for the states that boarder the lake.
About 15, 000 gallons of water creates a 20 minute water display every hour on the hour and after dusk it is accompanied by lights and music. Buckingham Fountain is a beautiful sight to see.
If you are looking for free window shopping then Navy Pier is a great place. Being a place for cargo shipping in 1916 and housing soldiers during World War I, the pier has gone through countless transformations.
Shops, theaters, museums, restaurants, boat tours and amusement park rides fill the pier today. There is something for everyone at Navy Pier and even though it is free to walk around, many special happenings cost money.
Another place that is free to walk around in is one of the country’s last remaining not-for-profit zoos, the Lincoln Park Zoo.
When the New York Central Park Commission decided to give Chicago two swans in 1868, they didn’t know it would lead to Chicago buying bears, bison and sea lions. Chicago’s beautiful landmark opens a new exhibit every year.
The highlight of the summer months is seeing the animals enjoying the Chicago weather, while during the holiday’s the zoo is lit up with thousands of twinkling lights for the annual ZooLights presentation.
The last place on the list also caters to the different seasons. Millennium Park is full of live free music and dancing in the summer and covered in Christmas spirit and ice skating in the winter.
After opening in 2004 the centerpiece is the metallic bean, formally called the Cloud Gate. “The Bean” creates a picture perfect reflection of the city skyline and the inside is like one huge fun house mirror, making it a popular attraction.
So with the start of a new year take the time to get outside and enjoy these timeless Chicago attractions free of charge.