Free, Free, Free! Chicago Arts + Events

Free Free Free! Chicago Arts + Events

"Free, Free, Free!" is an e-newsletter and website that provides a monthly curated list of free programs, events and activities happening throughout the city in our libraries, museums, cultural centers and parks. We encourage you to express your culture through the arts and take advantage of the many opportunities the City of Chicago provides you to engage, create and participate!

  Rahm Emanuel Mayor   Mark Kelly Commissioner
Rahm Emanuel
Mark Kelly


Summer Festivals

Taste of Chicago38th Annual Taste of Chicago

Chicago Department Affairs and Special Events

July 11-15, Wed.-Fri. 11am-9pm, Sat. & Sun. 10am-9pm

Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St.

A cultural experience for all your senses, Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier free outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining scene, alongside a smorgasbord of cooking demonstrations, music concerts, dance performances, art activations, family activities and more.


Year of Creative Youth

Presented by Good Starts Young, Allstate


The Year of Creative Youth is a citywide initiative to celebrate Chicago's young artists and the mentors who inspire them! Check out the Year of Creative Youth website for more arts events and programs featuring and for young Chicagoans all year long:

Born to Create: A Teen Art ExhibitionBorn to Create: A Teen Art Exhibition

July 9 - October 21
Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.
Gallery Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9am-9pm; Fri. and Sat. 9am-5pm; Sun. 1-5pm
Opening Reception: Thursday, July 12, 5pm in Exhibit Gallery, 3rd Floor

Born to Create presents an eclectic collection of original art created by Chicago high school teens submitted to the Chicago Public Library 2017 Teen Winter Challenge. In honor of the 2018 Year of Creative Youth hosted by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Born to Create brings together 18 artists and 33 works of painting, photography, video art, fashion design, and musical composition. Works from the Teen Winter Challenge were featured in DCASE's Year of Creative Youth #BornCreative poster campaign, including a design (pictured) by young Chicago artist Victoria Goite.


Arts in the Dark - Lantern Procession on the RiverwalkArts in the Dark - Lantern Procession on the Riverwalk


Tuesday, July 10, 8:30-9:15pm
Chicago Riverwalk, between Franklin and Wells at Wacker Dr.

Join in for a little taste of Arts in the Dark this summer on the Chicago Riverwalk! Part of 2nd Tuesdays on the Riverwalk, LUMA8 is partnering with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to present the Arts in the Dark Lantern Processions. The theme for the July event will be "Starry Nights & Flying Creatures".


Fresh Fest! Fresh Fest!

Navy Pier, Inc.

Thursday, July 12 and Friday, July 13, 10am-8pm

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.

Fresh Fest! presented by Allstate Insurance Company is a two-day showcase of Chicago's talented young performing artists, presenting a range of musical and dance talent in a variety of styles, including blues, classical, rock, jazz and more.


Yollocalli Arts ReachThe Chills - Beach Party

Yollocalli Arts Reach

Friday, July 27, 1-5pm

Humboldt Park Beach, 1400 N. Sacramento Blvd.

The Chills Beach Party is the second in a series of three traveling teen nights brought to you by Yollocalli Arts Reach and the DuSable Teen Councils.


Chicago Cultural Center

Cleveland Dean: Recto/Verso - Duality of a Fragile EgoCleveland Dean: Recto/Verso - Duality of a Fragile Ego

Through July 29
Chicago Cultural Center, Michigan Ave Galleries, 78 E. Washington St.

The abstract and conceptual works by Cleveland Dean are presented through a wide range of prosaic materials executed in mixed-media on panels and sculptures. The charred and highly reflective surfaces, grids, wood, cement and resin create tension-filled objects that invite the viewer to reflect into their own psyche and remind them that they are greater than they may believe.



Bronzeville Echoes: Faces and Places of Chicago's African American MusicBronzeville Echoes: Faces and Places of Chicago's African American Music

Through January 6, 2019

Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Gallery, 78 E. Washington St.

Explore Chicago's music legacy through ragtime, jazz and blues in an exhibition that highlights the contributions of important places and people that shaped the music scene. Seldom-seen original artifacts are on display including sheet-music, rare 1920s records with quirky period graphics-and even the original 1932 telephone booth from the old Sunset/Grand Terrace Café from which the actual music can be heard.



Chicago History Museum, Fourth of July Celebration 59th Annual Fourth of July Celebration

Wednesday, July 4, 12-4:30pm

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park

Commemorate our nation's independence at the Chicago History Museum! Join the event for time-honored traditions, family-friendly festivities, and a keynote oration by the Honorable Anne M. Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice. Other highlights include patriotic musical performances, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and a children's costume parade led by the World's Tallest Uncle Sam! Following the event, the Museum is open from 12 noon until 4:30pm with free admission for Illinois residents.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture Barrio Arts Fest 2018

July 14, 10am-6pm & July 15, 11am-5pm

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, 3015 W. Division St.

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is hosting the 18th Edition of Barrio Arts Fest during the July 14th and 15th weekend, commemorating the opening of the museum after the reconstruction of the Humboldt Park Stables. Every year, this signature arts festival offers workshops for the entire family and features local artists, traditional dance and musical performances, and local food vendors.

Thaddeus Tukes' ViibezTuesdays on the Terrace: Thaddeus Tukes' Viibez

Tuesday, July 17, 5:30-8pm

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.

Enjoy an evening of free music on the MCA's Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden for its annual summer performance series highlighting artists from Chicago's internationally renowned jazz community. Tuesdays on the Terrace are always FREE for Illinois residents.


Night Out In The Parks


Presented by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Night Out in the Parks brings over 1,000 cultural events to neighborhood parks each year. Chicagoans and visitors alike, enjoy the breadth of world-class events in every one of the city's 77 community areas. Here are a few programming highlights happening in July, but be sure to check out their website (or download the app!) for a full listing of events!

Hidden FiguresMovies in the Parks: Hidden Figures

Thursday, July 5, 8:30-10:37pm

Fuller Park, 331 W. 45th St.

As the United States races against Russia to put a man into space, NASA finds untapped genius in a group of African-American female mathematicians (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae) who become the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. space exploration history.

Copyright: 20th Century Fox Film Corp.


SummerDance in the ParksSummerDance in the Parks: Salsa & Mambo

Wednesday, July 18, 6-9pm

Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N. Humboldt Blvd.

In collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, patrons will enjoy a free dance class and then dance the night away.


Felons and FamiliasFelons and Familias

Wednesday, July 25, 7-9pm

Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr.

In 2014, President Obama announced that in his new immigration policy "felons, not families" would be the target of deportation efforts. But what happens when these two identities intersect? A dark comedy with heightened movement, Felons and Familias is the story of a Chicago woman caught in the black hole of criminal immigration courts as she fights to remain mother and daughter in the city she calls home.


Chicago Public Library


Since first opening our doors in 1873, Chicago Public Library has served all Chicagoans with free and open places to gather, learn, connect, read and be transformed. The libraries are that special third place-beyond home and work-where people come to improve their lives, nourish their intellect or savor entertainment. Their 80 locations host a variety of free events ranging from performances, arts and crafts, writing and poetry, continuing education and more.

Chicago Public Library Summer Learning ChallengeLet's Make Something: Celebrate the 4th of July

Tuesday, July 3, 2-5pm

Jefferson Park Branch Library, 5363 W. Lawrence Ave.

Drop into the branch to create a patriotic craft in celebration of the 4th of July. All ages are welcome.



Chicago Public Library Summer Learning ChallengeSpaceship Earth with Mad Science of Chicago

Tuesday, June 10, 11am-12pm

Blackstone Branch Library, 4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

Did you know that the things you do each day can help or hurt the Earth? Come join Mad Science to learn how all the parts and systems on our planet are interconnected within our environment. Be a part of working together to make a positive impact on Earth's land, water and living things.


Navy Pier

Navy Pier Summer FireworksSummer Fireworks

Wednesday, July 4, 9:30-9:45pm

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.

This Independence Day, join Navy Pier for the best free Fourth of July fireworks display in Chicago: the Summer Fireworks!



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