Free Stuff

A very shiny bean
Every city has free yet iconic things to do so you can get a feel for the city. Here are some recommendations for Chicago!

Chicago Greeters program - A real Chicagoan will give a free 2-4 hour walking tour of the city. Register at least 7-10 business days ahead of time, theses greeters are popular.

Magnificent Mile - Even if you aren’t a shopper, do yourself a favor and plan to stroll down Michigan Avenue north of the river to Oak Street. The architecture is incredible. If these directions mean nothing to you, don’t worry. Friendly Chicagoans are more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Cloud Gate - affectionately referred to as “The Bean” by locals it was inspired by liquid mercury. It’s super easy to find, just a block or so north of the Chicago Art Institute. It’s huge and you’ll want to take a picture under it.

Walking on water :)
Crown Fountain - Don’t be afraid to go out on the water. It’s maybe a half-inch deep. Get a walk on water picture. It’s just south of Cloud Gate in Millenium Park.

Chicago Architecture Foundation - Across the street from the Chicago Art Institute you will find this place. Go through the gift shop and check out the scale model of the city. It was made with a 3D printer and  is a fun way to orient yourself to the city.

River Walk - Much of Chicago is built on rail lines. So much of the downtown is actually a few stories above ground. Descend down to the Chicago River and enjoy the views of the enormous building from the water.

Buckingham fountain - Walking south to the museum campus you’ll run into Grant Park. You will know you are there because you will see water shooting above the trees. As you get closer you’ll be greeted by this enormous fountain. Who needs a fan mister on a hot day when you could just stand in the spray path?