"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!
Year of Chicago Theatre
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the League of Chicago Theatres have designated 2019 the "Year of Chicago Theatre." This citywide, year-long focus on theatre is the first of its kind in the U.S. The initiative will include theatre performances and special events for the public - many of them free - at hundreds of cultural venues, theaters, parks and neighborhood locations throughout the city. The City of Chicago and its partners will also launch a marketing campaign that leverages a powerful new brand for Chicago theatre; provide additional financial grants to theatre projects; encourage dialog around inclusion and equity; and call on civic, philanthropic, arts and business leaders to support the theatre community.
Chicago Cultural Center
Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North, 78 E. Washington St.
While you wait for the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival, watch these films for free at the Chicago Cultural Center! The films selected are from Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Brazil and depict the adventures, challenges and joyful moments of youth in Latin America. Visit the website for a full schedule of events. Presented by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago in collaboration with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Saturday, January 19 - Sunday, April 14
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North, 78 E. Washington St.
Over the course of seven years, artist and educator Cecil McDonald, Jr. photographed people he describes as "extraordinarily ordinary." As the artist explains, "When it comes to Black people, America is fascinated with extreme poles: either showing victims of violence, pain, and poverty (Black misery) or famous athletes and entertainers, and icons of popular culture (Black exceptionalism). This false dichotomy denies Black people the individuality and full spectrum of humanity that is so readily offered to the white population in this country." The photographs of In the Company of Black live in the space between, including tender moments with McDonald's daughters, informal portraits of his friends and collaborators and references to music, art, history and popular culture.
Through Sunday, February 3
Chicago Cultural Center, Room 108, 1st Floor South, 78 E. Washington St.
Presented as part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago's art and design legacy, "Everyone's a Designer/Everyone's Design" is a free traveling museum exhibition that explores and celebrates everyday Chicagoans' influence on art and design in the city. Travelling across Chicago's Cultural Centers, the exhibition tells the stories of five people, the homes they've made uniquely their own, and the rich design and architectural history of their neighborhoods.
Night Out In The Park
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 January, but be sure to check out their website (or download the app!) for a full listing of events!
Wednesday, January 9, 10-11am
Northerly Island, 1521 S. Linn White Dr.
This month, join us for a hike to learn about hibernation and answer the question "Where do our favorite animals go in the winter.?" Afterwards, we'll warm up indoors & enjoy books in the reading nook. There will also be a craft based on the book "Where the Wild Things Are".
Tuesday, January 15, 4-7:30pm
Tilton Park, 230 N. Kolmar
Tilton Park and the Garfield Community Council will pay Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with readings, dance performances, and music. Food will be provided. This free, family-friendly event is open to all ages.
Friday, January 4, 6:30-8:30pm
2509 W. Irving Park Rd.
Winter Wonderland Indoor movie in the park. RPAC will be selling concessions. This event is presented by the Revere Park Advisory Council.
Chicago Public Library
Friday, January 18, 12:15-1pm
Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.
Compositions from Brahms, Bartok, Debussy, and Mark A. Olivieri will be performed by Duo Lada, with violinist-professor Dr. Blagomira Lipari and pianist-teacher Dr. Elaina Burns.
Sunday, January 27, 3-4pm
Woodson Regional, 9525 S. Halsted St.
Share a Caldecott Award winning book and participate in a craft activity based on the illustrations.
Thursday, January 31, 12:15-1:15pm
Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St.
With their Artistic Director, Julianna Slager, Ballet 5:8 presents "All God's Children," which shows the beauty of what makes us distinct without forgetting what binds us together, and excerpts from "The Four Seasons of the Soul," showing how the turning of the seasons parallels the recurring themes of human life. There will be a short Q&A with the dancers at the end.
2430 N. Cannon Drive
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an accessible and affordable family destination located in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood:
- Free admission for children under 3
- Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents.
- Illinois teachers with a school ID can receive free admission for themselves when visiting alone or with friends and/or family.
- Blue Star Families: Active duty service members and their families can enjoy free admission year-round. Additional details.
- Museums for All: We are pleased to offer a discounted admission fee of $1 to individuals and families presenting an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Card. Museum visitors who display their EBT Card and a valid form of identification will receive a discounted admission rate of $1 per person, for up to six people in their party. Children under three are, as always, free. This admission rate is available during all normal operating hours.
- Kids Museum Passports: A Kids Museum Passport is good for free on-site admission for two adults and two children. They can be checked out at Chicago Public Library branches.