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


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:



First and Third Fridays & Saturdays, 11-11:45am

Lifeway Est. 1986

Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington St.
Garfield Park Conservatory, Horticulture Hall, 200 N. Central Park Ave.

With engaging music and dance in a kid-friendly setting, the FREE admission Juicebox presented by Lifeway Foods, programs are geared toward the stroller set and enjoyable for the whole family. Children will experience a diverse range of artistic and educational presentations, with hosts regularly inviting youngsters to move, dance and interact with performers. View additional details and the full schedule of events on the website.




Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St.

OUT OF SIGHT is a hopscotch (also referred to by the French "marelle") designed to be installed on the ground and used by the public. The piece is aimed to inspire all walks of life- especially young people-to think creatively about the direction of their lives and to encourage positive thinking and visualization. The artist's philosophy for the project is about encouragement and inspiration; it is about developing positive thoughts and strategies for achieving goals.


Flying Creatures Flying Creatures

Fall, Winter and Beyond

Hanging from the street poles along Wabash Ave. between Washington and Randolph Streets

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to present the Flying Creatures as part of the Year of Creative Youth - a citywide celebration of Chicago's young artists and the mentors who inspire them. An array of kinetic street sculptures - or modern gargoyles - the Flying Creatures were created by students from the youth art programs at SkyART, After School Matters, Dundee-Crown High School, Marengo Community High School and YOUmedia Chicago.


Chicago Humanities Festival at the Chicago Cultural Center

Visualizing Women with Donna J. CoxVisualizing Women with Donna J. Cox

Sunday, November 4, 12:30-1:30pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Donna J. Cox, an internationally acclaimed computer artist, designer, writer and recognized pioneer in scientific and data visualization, presents her new book "New Media Futures," which explores the women who turned the Midwest into a hotbed of explorations in the emerging digital arts. A book signing will follow.



The New World: Industrial, Corporate and Sponsored FilmsThe New World: Industrial, Corporate and Sponsored Films

Sunday, November 4, 2:30-4pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

Chicago Film Archives presents a short program of innovative corporate and industrial films which showcase how the filmmakers skillfully navigated the bounds of corporate culture and values while frequently challenging the conventions of the sponsored film. This 67-minute screening will be followed by a Q&A led by Lara Allison of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.



Midcentury Design and OpportunityMidcentury Design and Opportunity

Sunday, November 11, 3-4pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor South

In conjunction with the Chicago Cultural Center exhibition African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce, and the Politics of Race, art historian Maggie Taft, artist David Hartt, modern architecture and design historian Jonathan Mekinda and the exhibition's co-curator Chris Dingwall explore the social, artistic, entrepreneurial and political opportunities to be found within midcentury design in Chicago.


Millennium Park Campus Holiday Programming


Millennium Park will be the epicenter of holiday cheer in Chicago, featuring your favorite seasonal traditions, Chicago's official Christmas Tree, ice skating, music, exhibitions, a NEW holiday art market, the Lurie Garden in winter and free family fun. The Millennium Park Campus is comprised of events and attractions at Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, Maggie Daley Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harris Theater and Park Grill. For the complete schedule of events, visit


105th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 105th Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Friday, November 16, 6pm
Millennium Park, Wrigley Square, Michigan Ave. & Randolph St.

Enjoy the glittering tree set among Chicago's sparkling skyline and the iconic art and architecture of Millennium Park. Miguel Cervantes, star of Hamilton Chicago Company playing Broadway In Chicago's CIBC Theatre, will serve as the emcee for the ceremony featuring music and special guests.


Caroling at Cloud Gate Caroling at Cloud Gate

Fridays, November 23 & 30, December 7 & 14 and Wednesday, December 12, 7pm
Millennium Park, Cloud Gate

Bundle up and belt out some holiday classics as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song.



Wreathing of the Lions Wreathing of the Lions Wreathing of the Lions

Friday, November 23, 10am
Art Institute of Chicago, Michigan Avenue entrance, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
Outdoor wreathing is FREE; museum entry requires general admission, though children under 14 are FREE

Start the winter season with this Chicago family favorite. The outdoor ceremony, emceed by cast members from the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker, celebrates the 125th anniversary of the museum's Michigan Avenue home. Then move indoors to enjoy fun-filled art activities at the Ryan Learning Center.




Chicago Thanksgiving ParadeChicago Thanksgiving Parade

Thursday, November 22, 8-11am
State St. from Congress to Randolph

Looking for family entertainment on Thanksgiving morning? Please join us on State Street for the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade featuring the nation's best marching bands, giant popular inflatable balloons, spectacular performance acts and much more! Or tune into WGN9 or WGN America to watch us on live TV!


Chicago Public Library


A Wrinkle In Time (2018)Film Screening: A Wrinkle In Time (2018)

Saturday, November 3, 2-4pm
Brighton Park, 4314 S. Archer Ave.

Meg meets three supernatural beings who transport her through the universe to rescue her father, who mysteriously disappeared and is being held captive by an evil force.




Art, Movies and PerformancesExhibit Opening: Forced Migration Photovoice Project

Wednesday, November 7, 6:30-8pm

Sulzer Regional, 4455 N. Lincoln Ave.

Refugees and asylum seekers who are living in Chicago and who participated in a Forced Migration Photovoice Project will share photos and stories about their experiences in Chicago.

6:30pm - Opening Reception, 7pm - Program


Makers on 8 - ArtWorks StudioMakers on 8 - ArtWorks Studio

Wednesday, November 21, 4:30-7:30pm

Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.

Bring your creative ideas to this weekly drop-in art studio. Sessions are directed by the participants and all materials are provided. Each session is facilitated by graduate students from the School of the Art Institute's Art Therapy Department.



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 November, but be sure to check out their website (or download the app!) for a full listing of events!


Back Room Shakespeare at Theater on the LakeBack Room Shakespeare at Theater on the Lake

Monday, November 5, 6-9pm

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

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors by Back Room Shakespeare Project at TOTL

Back Room Shakespeare Project does Shakespeare in bars and other unconventional spaces. With limited rehearsal (generally 2), no director (the choices are actor driven), and a boatload of daring, BRSP has been an underground phenomenon since 2011. Doors at 6pm, Show begins at 7pm.


Chicago Park District Everyone's Design Storytelling at Tuley

Tuesday, November 13, 6-8pm

Tuley Park, 501 E. 90th Pl.

Join Illinois Humanities for an exploration of the role played by everyday Chicagoans in the history of art and design in the city. Bring a unique object from your home to this live storytelling event and share how your personal space reflects your history, culture, and community. Cultural historian Tim Samuelson and designers Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth will be on hand to provide historical and design context.


Yulia LipmanovichYulia Lipmanovich Piano Concert at Indian Boundary

Sunday, November 25, 3-4:30pm

Indian Boundary Park, 2500 W. Lunt Ave.

Join us in the historic Indian Boundary auditorium for an afternoon of music in the park! Internationally known teacher and concert performer, Yulia Lipmanovich performs a FREE piano concert for the community.





Museum of Science and IndustryMuseum of Science and Industry

Monday, November 12, 9:30am-4pm

5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.

On Illinois Free Days, Museum Entry is free for all Illinois residents who show valid proof of residency. The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago—one of the largest science museums in the world—is home to more than 400,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity.


The Field MuseumThe Field Museum

Sunday, November 11 and Sunday, November 18, 9-5pm

1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.

On Free Admission Days, Basic admission is free for Illinois residents with proof of residency. Discounted passes are available in person and cannot be purchased online in advance. Free Admission Days are the perfect opportunity to explore our general admission exhibitions with your family or a group of science-loving friends. Or, use these days to check out special ticketed exhibitions or a 3D movie with a discounted Discovery or All-Access Pass.


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