Free Summer Fun – 2013

Free Summer Fun header

School is out and it’s up to you to keep the kids entertained. It can be expensive going on family outings, but there are plenty of ways to have fun for free this summer. Have any other suggestions? I’m happy to add them to the list!

Baseball Games

See the full post of Baseball Clubs for Kids. Many local teams offer promotional items and even tickets to games for free.

Book Clubs

See my full post about Summer Book Clubs for kids or check your local library or bookstore.

Bowling – 2 free games of bowling every day for the entire summer at participating bowling alleys. Passes emailed weekly. See individual locations for age restrictions, cost of shoe rental, and any  other restrictions.

Family Fun Festival

Millennium Park Family Fun Festival is a free event that offered daily at the Chase Promenade North in Millennium Park from June 17 through August 18, 2013. See live family-friendly performances, attend story time, and participate in activities. Each week has a different theme. See my Family Fun Festival post from 2011 for information about our experience.

Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets are a great place to spend a couple hours on a nice day; just browse or get some shopping done. Some offer free entertainment or activities and it’s some much more interesting that shopping at the grocery store.


In the theatre (Not quite free but super cheap)

Many movie theatres offer a summer movie program with discounted admission to movies. See my full post – Summer Movie Guide for Families – for locations, schedules, and prices.

In the park

Parks are another great place to see free movies this summer. Pack up some snacks or a picnic dinner (and maybe some bug spray) and enjoy a flick in the grass. Check your local park district for movies or watch for my post (coming soon!).


Visit my Museum Free Days post for free and discounted days at Chicago area museums.


When the kids are getting restless I pack up some sandwiches and head to the park, forest preserve, or even the backyard for a nice picnic. It gets us out of the house and into the fresh air and we don’t have to spend anything. And for some reason the same old food the kids don’t like to eat at home seems slightly more appealing to them when it’s packed in their own LunchBots container.

Roller Skating

Kids Skate Free – free passes for children at participating roller rinks. See individual location listings for days and times passes can be used, age restrictions, the cost of skate rental, and any other restrictions. (Note: When I searched for location by zip code I was given locations in another state so please double check that the locations listed are correct. I got better results by clicking on Illinois on the map.)

Science Activities

Summer Brain Games from the Museum of Science & Industry – Register to receive 8 weekly science experiments by email. You’ll also receive a voucher for free admission to the museum and a winner will be chosen weekly to receive a household membership for a whole year.


Chicago Fire Kids Club – Children 14 years and younger can sign up and will receive an official membership card, giveaways at Chicago Fire home games (see the Chicago Fire website for a list of dates and giveaway items), access to a “Kids Club Only” autograph session with the Chicago Fire, and a monthly newsletter.

More free fun

For more free fun follow my FREE Fun wishlist on
What’s your favorite free thing to do during the summer?


  1. kristin b says

    Muvico in rosemont does do free muvies 🙂
    So you know if pinstripes does the child (mom/tot) cheap bowling still?

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