Budget-friendly Chicago

Seeing the sights should never cause anyone financial grief. Fortunately, travelers will be glad to know that Chicago is a pretty affordable place when it comes to awesome things to do and places to see. So here’s the low-down on how to experience the city for a fraction of the cost, or in some instances, for free. Get ready to get the most bang for your buck!

Going All In: CityPASS and the Go Chicago Card

If you want to see as much as possible, the Chicago CityPASS is totally worth it. Why? Well, for starters, it offers access to the most popular attractions at significant savings of up to 50 percent off on admission. All anyone has to do to take advantage of this deal is purchase the ticket booklets online or at any of the Chicago attractions.

Next, simply check out all the exciting options and start figuring out which ones you want to explore at your convenience over a nine-day period. Present the CityPASS tickets to each attraction and you’re all set. Plus, whenever someone shows CityPASS, they enjoy expedited entry. Sweet!

Now for the main attractions—Chicago CityPASS includes admission to five must-visit spots: the Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium OR the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry OR the 360 Chicago Observation Deck.

Similar in concept, the Chicago Go Card offers access to multiple attractions for one low price. From bus tours to cruises and more, there are 29 options that people can experience during however many number of days their purchased on the card. Great choices include all the CiyPASS attractions plus the Hop On Hop Off Big Bus Chicago, the Shoreline Architecture River Cruise, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago Theater Tour and many more.

Free, Free, Free

Did someone say free? Yes, it’s true. It’s possible to pack in a full Chicago itinerary without spending a dime. Let’s have a look at the places where you’ll never need your wallet.

Lincoln Park Zoo is where animal lovers go wild. Along with being totally gratis 365 days a year, this place is home to all sorts of captivating creatures from African penguins to Chilean flamingos, chimpanzees, and other fascinating residents. Daily activities such as Seal Training Feeding and Snow Monkey Science and fun exhibits including Penguin Cove and Macaque Forest always keep it interesting.

History buffs head to the Chicago Cultural Center to learn something new. The best part is that there is a free 45-minute building tour on select days during the week. Spanning Washington and Randolph Streets, the Chicago landmark building has the distinction of being on the National Register of Historic Places and for being home to the world’s largest Tiffany dome.

Gorgeous greenery is on view at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Here, visitors will encounter tranquil gardens and displays of thousands of exotic plants across its 14 acres.

Those are just a few of the affordable and absolutely free things to check out throughout Chicago. Now just imagine what else you can do around the city with all of those savings—enjoy a decadent dinner, go shopping along the Magnificent Mile or maybe see a show downtown at the Theatre District.

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