Cool Free Culture in Chicago

If you’re a European who’s interested in studying in the vibrant U.S. city of Chicago, every country has organisations (such as ICEX in Spain, for example) which offer scholarships and programmes. In addition, the “Windy City” is fabulous just to visit (at least in the warm weather!).

And if you’re a culture vulture, you’ll truly be in heaven, because Chi-town boasts some amazing architecture, art, photography, and museums of all kinds. And furthermore, there are many ways you can score some of this for absolutely free.

Free Chicago Museums

  • Chicago Cultural Center

78 East Washington Street, the Loop

One of the USA’s first (est. 1893) and foremost free municipal cultural spaces, this handsome Beaux-Arts building is open to all, offering exhibitions, concerts, movies, conferences, and other events.

  • City Gallery, Chicago Water Tower

806 North Michigan Avenue

Local artists display their work in a ground-floor gallery in a singular historic building, also downtown, which we covered in this blog last year.

  • Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

5550 South Greenwood Avenue

Uni campuses aren’t just for studying! This is one great example, and another is the Museum of Contemporary Photography (600 South Michigan Ave.) at Columbia College.

  • Hyde Park Art Center

5020 South Cornell Avenue

In the Kenwood neighbourhood, this is one of the country’s oldest (1939) and most respected community spaces for the visual arts – and the edge here is cutting, indeed.

All of which helps go to show: when it comes to the arts and to saving money, your kind of town, Chicago is.

Photo | Kevin Dooley