(credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

We all know about the economic downturn that’s taken Chicago by a strong grip in the past few years, and yes, we’ve all had to tighten our belts a little bit because of it. But don’t hang your heads too low just yet! There are plenty of things to do in Chicago that won’t widen the hole in your pocket, and might even be more fun than things you pay for! Take a look at this list of stuff around the Windy City to do when you’re being frugal, and soon enough, “Money” won’t be the only thing you want! To check out all of 93XRT’s suggestions, take a look at their original photo gallery.

Chicago Art Institute

111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

Free on the first and second Wednesday of every month, this epicenter of culture and art marvels is always an entertaining day spent with family or friends. (credit:

Chicago SummerDance

Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden
601 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

Get some free dance lessons with a different style each night: swing, cajun, salsa, line dancing, and others from around the world! In the Spirit of Music Garden on South Michigan Avenue from mid-June to mid-August, Thursdays through Saturdays from 6-9:30pm and Sundays from 4-7pm.

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

Get ready for some wild family fun here! The grounds are open from 8am-6pm, and the buildings are open from 10am-5pm, so round up your herd and get ready for an animal-filled adventure!

Second City Comedy

With alumni such as John Belushi, Mike Meyers, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey, Second City is one of the funniest activities in Chicago. There are free improv sets after the last regular performances on Monday through Thursday. You never know, you might see somebody famous one night! (credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images)


3605 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

Bless you! This strange name is a screen printing workshop produced by Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi. They produce screen printed art and design work, and they’re part of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s We Are Here: Art & Design Out Of Context series this whole month.

Bookslut Reading Series
Chicago Slam Works
Guild Literary Complex

Spoken word poetry is wildly popular in Chicago, with free poetry readings and storytelling events everywhere at almost any time.  For an up to date listing of events and readings, check, the Bookslut Reading Series, the Chicago Slam Works, or the Guild Literary Complex.

By Zack Nechvatal/ XRT. To see more of 93XRT’s awesome suggestions, check out their “The Best Things In Life Are (Actually) Free!” photo gallery.