by Lauren Wulf LaRoche
While everyone knows, Lincoln Park Zoo is free, there are plenty of other free places opening this weekend worth checking out! From gardens to beaches, get outside and take in the free sites the city has to offer.
Chicago Park District Beaches
While the water may not be above freezing until August, Chicago’s 26 miles of free public beaches officially open May 27th. From the South Shore to Rodgers Park, there are 26 beaches and 18 miles of lakefront path to keep you busy this weekend. Check out the full list of beaches with addresses at cpdbeaches.com.
Memorial Day Parade
State Street – From Lake Street to Van Buren Street
Chicago’s Memorial Day parade begins with the Wreath Laying Ceremony at 11am at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets) in remembrance of the men and women who have served our country. The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Fun Fact: The Chicago parade is considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation. Since 1870, Memorial Day parades have graced the streets of Chicago.
The recently opened Lurie Garden is free of charge, open Memorial Day weekend and daily from 6:00am-11:00pm. This beautiful urban oasis is located at the southeastern end of Millennium Park.
Guided walks in Lurie Garden take place each Thursday, Friday, and Sunday now through September 23, 2016. Tours highlight elements of the Garden’s design, its plant life and how this can be applied to your home garden. Tour Times: Thursdays & Fridays: 11am – 1:15pm, Sundays: 11am – 2:15pm
Navy Pier Ferris Wheel Grand Opening
600 E. Grand Avenue
Navy Pier is free and open to the public Memorial Day weekend. Bring the kiddos to check out the lake and skyline along the pier and witness history at the new Centennial Ferris Wheel. The Centennial Wheel will open, May 27th at noon.
Picnic In The Park
Chicago Park Disctrict
Pack some snacks and dine for free alfresco style. There is no shortage of Chicago Public Parks to choose from this Memorial Day weekend. One to note – Humboldt Park on Chicago’s west side features beautiful lagoons, prairie grass, and boat houses dating back to the 1800s. With plenty of wildlife to see, you’ll get a little dose of nature in the city.