How to Take an Inexpensive Trip to Chicago

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September 11, 2017

We get it…taking a trip anywhere can mean the dollar signs quickly add up. Travel doesn’t come cheap these days, and a trip to the Windy City is no different. But it doesn’t have to be like that!

There is plenty you can do to make your vacation or next trip to Chicago a great, yet inexpensive one. See the sights, while also keeping money in your pocket with these helpful tips.

Check out what’s free

There are plenty of free activities to enjoy in our great city and, in an effort to keep your trip inexpensive, it’s a great place to start. Here are a few of our all-time favorites:

  • Concerts in Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion: With unique artists from all over the country and the world, there’s something for everyone’s musical taste at Millennium Park. Even better? Enjoy free concerts here!
  • Chicago Cultural Center: Free events, concerts, lectures, art exhibitions in a breathtaking space? Sign us up! Check out the Cultural Center’s calendar for something that suits your fancy.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo: Who doesn’t love a visit to the zoo? And what’s more? The Lincoln Park Zoo is free for you and your family 365 days a year!
  • Navy Pier: This iconic landmark is a must-see for an Chicago visit. Enjoy plenty of free events and community programs at the pier, along with inexpensive tours or breathtaking cruises.

Check out Hot Tix

Interested in the latest shows the Chicagoan theatre has to offer? Start with Hot Tix. Using this incredible service, you’ll see savings of up to 50% off local Chicago theatre tickets.

Take public transportation

Über rides, cab fares, car rentals, and parking fees can add up quickly on vacation. Save yourself a few dollars by taking public transportation.

From buses and the L train to bike sharing with Divvy, you’ll not only save money, you’ll also be able to see the Windy City in a whole different way.

Stay in an Airbnb

Skip the pricey hotel costs and try an Airbnb instead. Check out all the great options in Chicago for your next trip and you won’t be disappointed!


There are plenty of sites and companies that offer Chicago tourism coupons…and we’re one of them! Purchase a Chicago Trolley ticket, and you’ll receive our coupon book full of great deals around the city.

Enjoy museums on discount days

Many of our local museums offer big discounts (or even free admission) on off-peak days or special times during the year. Illinois residents, children, and seniors can also receive additional specials or savings at the museums.

To see specific discounts, check out this great list.

Try neighborhood street festivals

You won’t be let down when visiting a Neighborhood Street Festival in the Windy City. Great food, fun, and entertainment happen at every event…all with a little something for everyone.

For an upcoming street festival during your visit, check out this calendar.

Your next visit to Chicago doesn’t need to break the bank. Instead, try these tips and enjoy yourself, while also saving a little cash!