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Trip List by dinkyninky

chicago on a budget

14 Jul 2006  im a student and i spent 3 months in chicago
4.0 of 5 stars based on 12 votes

there are plenty of places to go and things to do in chicago if you're on a tight budget

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Chicago
  • Category: Best of
  • 1. free concerts
    Chicago, Illinois

    free lunchtime concerts in the Chicago Cultural Centre at 12:15 weekdays. you can buy lunch there or take your own, and enjoy the music! sometimes they have talks or readings too.
    Millenuim park has free concerts and music festivals ongoing all summer. some eveings at 6:30, some lunchtimes around 12:15, and weekends, depending. gospel, blues, jazz and other types of music festivals. bring you food and a big bottle of water, and sit around all day or all evening! you can bring a bottle of wine or some beer too - a cheap night out!

  • 2. cheap theatre tickets

    there are tons of theatres in chicago, and some of them can get very pricey. go to hottix.org, or call into any Tower Records, for half-price, last-minute tickets. dont have your heart set on a particular show or a specific time, but just see what they have. plays in the large theatres, as well as the smaller places, and musicals, comedy places such as Second City, dance, and other types of show. you just never know what they'll have, from 6 dollars to 40.

  • 3. see the museums for free
    Chicago, Illinois

    museums and galleries around chicago can be pricey, but some do offer free days.
    the art institute: thursdays and fridays from 5 til 9.
    museum of contemporary art: free on tuesdays.
    the Field museum offers some free days too but it depends on the time of year so check online!

  • 4. free tours
    Chicago Architecture Foundation, Chicago, Illinois

    while most of the CAF tours are expensive, there is a free tour of the loop available. you go around on the El train, and an experinced guide shows you what's what. tickets can only be obtained on the day, at the chicago cultural centre.
    there are also free trolleys which run between areas like the loop, navy pier and lincoln park, wherever there are touristy places! timetable is available at the cultiral centre.

  • 5. free places to enjoy
    Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois

    lincoln park is a beautiful park on the north side of the city, and there's a nice little zoo which is totally free all year round. its not a huge zoo, but it has some nice collections and exhibits, and was recently refurbished. you could spend an hour or two here.

  • 6. cheap eats

    there are loads of beautiful parks around the city - take your sandwiches or whatever! or bring a small or disposable barbeque to the park or down to the beach and grill up. portions are huge in chicago, so splitting a main course between two people is often plenty. or if eating alone, take your leftovers (there will be plenty), and have them for lunch the following day. chicago-style pizza is deep-dish - one sliceis enough for lunch, maybe 2 for dinner, but dont order a whole one unless you hava an amazing appetite! au bon pain is a nice place for lunch - its a help-yourself salad bar, and you only pay for what you get. coffee here is quite nice and inexpensive. a lot of places do a lunchtime special whereby an extra doller or so gets you a drink and a cookie, chips or dessert, so always check that out. many office buildings have food courts beneath them with good-value lunches. hotdogs here are good - and big - and good value. go away from the city centre towards chinatown, pilsen(mexican neighbourhood), argyle (korean) and other ethnic neighbourhoods. the food is authentic, really delicious, and much cheaper than downtown.