Free Events for Kids in Chicagoland


There are plenty of budget-friendly activities to do in Chicago and the suburbs, but you just need to find them. Luckily, we’ve done that for you.

Every activity listed here won’t cost you a penny to attend. You might have to splurge on parking or something you want to buy at the event, but that’s it!

Check back here regularly as we are always updating the events we find. Also be sure to check out our calendar for more family fun.

Free Events in Chicago

Open Nature Play Days

Now-May 25, 2022

Bring your little one for some nature play time that includes stories, art and exploration. Enjoy the Dan Ryan Woods Nature Play space while helping your children connect with nature.

DIY Origami Butterflies

May 9-13, 2022

Teens and tweens can participate in this event at Clearing Branch. Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by creating a colorful origami butterfly. All supplies are provided. Registration not required.

Light up summer 2022

May 14, 2022

Celebrate the start of summer in Grant Park at Buckingham Fountain for the 8th Annual ComEd Switch on Summer. This event will feature family activities, entertainment, local food vendors, fun giveaways and special guest appearances.

Youth Poetry Day

May 14, 2022

This annual youth event features Pat Mora, Lon Tinkle Lifetime Achievement Award winner and author of numerous books for young readers, a poetry scavenger hunt, fun crafts, writing activities and more Again. Participants can also learn how to make handcrafted books out of cardboard and recycled materials called cartoneras.

Spring Festival: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 15, 2022

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Caldwell Woods with various arts, storytelling and craft projects.

Hidden treasures

May 21, 2022

Find unique treasures in this pop-up shop with local vendors.

Lincoln Roscoe Spring Art & Craft Fair

May 21, 2022

  • Address: Lincoln Ave. From Roscoe to school, Chicago
  • Cost: Free

Come shop original works of art and handicrafts from 60 artists. Also, live music, art activities for kids, festival food and more.

Nature neighborhood party

May 21, 2022

Explore nature and all the fun things you can do outdoors. Children will also create art at this nature-filled event.

Evening storytelling fun

May 21, 2022

Children ages 2-5 will be able to read and act out the script using activities such as puppets, drama and art during this story time in the park.

nature-at-night

May 27, 2022

Meet on the last Friday of the month to visit the Nature Center and preserve the night. Ideal for those who work during the day.

Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade

May 28, 2022

This year will honor the men and women who gave their lives in service to protecting our nation’s freedom. The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza. The parade starts at noon.

Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade ends at Taft High School for a tribute ceremony. Here the American flag will rise and the Taft Eagles Choir and Taft Drums & Bugle Corp. will occur.

WOOGMS Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

Celebrate the annual WOOGMS (Wellington Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society) Parade. Families can bring their pets, strollers, bikes and scooters for fun. Jesse White Tumblers will perform at the end.

Free events in the northern/northwestern suburbs

Mendou trees! Secret code search

May 1-31, 2022

For the month of May, visitors to Emily Oaks Nature Center can step outside to decode the secret message.

Norwegian Constitution Day Parade

May 15, 2022

Pre-parade activities will include a presentation of scholarships, entertainment by single Norwegian farmers, vendors, refreshments and activities for children. The parade will start at 1 p.m. and will feature local marching bands, folk dancers, singing societies and Scandinavian organizations in ethnic costumes.

art in the park

May 21, 2022

Discover over 85 artists showcasing paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics and more. The event features live music in the gazebo, arts activities for young people and festival food.

Barrington Arts Festival

May 28, 2022

This festival features 130 artists in all media, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, clothing and more. Live music and arts activities for young people add to the fun of the weekend.

Arlington Heights Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremony

May 30, 2022

Watch the Memorial Day Parade as it winds from Sigwalt Street to Chestnut and Fremont Streets. At the end, there will be a memorial service at Memorial Park.

Lincolnwood Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

Participants can take part in the Memorial Day Parade on bicycles, trikes, carts or scooters decorated with a patriotic theme. Following the parade, a ceremony will take place in the Jardin de la Madeleine.

Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

This annual parade in Park Ridge celebrates fallen soldiers who have found for our country.

Winnetka Memorial Day Celebration

May 30, 2022

Join this ceremony and parade honoring those who have given their lives in service to our country. The parade begins at the corner of Glendale and Elm St, then heads east to Village Green Park for the ceremony.

Woodstock Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The ceremony kicks off the day in Woodstock Square. The parade will follow. Stroll through the town center and admire the displays of military uniforms and memorabilia from local families.

Free events in the southern suburbs

kite festival

May 14, 2022

Families can enjoy a day in the park and watch a giant kite demonstration. Personal kiting is encouraged.

South Holland Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade begins at 170th St. and South Park Ave. After this parade, there will be a remembrance ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park.

Free events in the western suburbs

What Blooms at the Harrison Street Festival

May 21, 2022

A family-friendly festival that includes an art fair, music stage, children’s carnival, beer garden, food, makers booth and more. Fun for all ages.

Aurora Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade route will begin at the intersection of Benton St. and River St. Then it will head east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place and end on River Street.

Naperville Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The main parade departs from Jackson and West St., heads east to Washington, then north to Benton, then east to the Saints Peter & Paul Church parking lot.

Plainfield Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

This annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony celebrates fallen soldiers who have fought for our country.

River Forest Memorial Day Parade, Ceremony and Community Picnic

May 30, 2022

The 96th Annual Memorial Day Parade, Ceremony and Community Picnic begins in Augusta and Ashland. It heads south to Lake Street, then west to Keystone Park. The parade will end with a ceremony and a free hot dog lunch.

St. Charles Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

May 30, 2022

  • Address: 6th and Main Street, St. Charles
  • Cost: Free

This annual parade goes down to 6th and Main Street. It honors those who gave their lives in service to our country and pays tribute to veterans.

Western Springs Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade route begins at Hillgrove Avenue and Hampton, heads east to north on Grand Avenue, east on Chestnut Avenue, south on Lawn Avenue and ends at Tower Green.

Wheaton Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade will start at Memorial Park in downtown Wheaton and head down Main Street to Warrenville Road. It will end at Wheaton Cemetery where a ceremony will take place.

Wood Dale Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2022

The parade will start at Addison Road and Elizabeth Drive and head north to Veteran’s Memorial Park on Irving Park Road.

This post is updated regularly.

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