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Carolred Jun 26th, 2004 01:29 AM

Chicago, best vaule/$
We are on a really really budget trip. We have been to Chicago before and will re-visit our favourite sites. We are world travellers (40+, independent travellers) who will try anything, but we are on a strict budget (I am unemployed!)

We would like an idea of what is really cheap or freebee. We are staying in at Arlington House... good value restaurants nearby?

Good things to see and do that do not cost a lot?

patg Jun 26th, 2004 12:58 PM

Since you'll be staying just a few blocks from DePaul University, try that area for inexpensive eating. It's south of Fullerton and west of Halsted. Athenian Room, on Webster, has good value dining. In general, the Thai, Polish/Bohemian and pizza restaurants are good values in Chicago. For delicatessan food, skip the sit down restaurants and try the take out offerings from Big Apple Market on Clark Street just south of Fullerton. To save some money, eat in the neighborhood before heading to the museums or downtown.

For free concerts and the like, check the Chicago Tribune "Free For All" column on Thursdays. Also, the free weekly Reader is available all around town beginning Thursday nights, and at It has extensive listings of different things to do.

supercat Jun 28th, 2004 10:08 AM

A great source of free entertainment is the Chicago Cultural Center:

They list a wide variety of events that are FREE!!

Kristi Jun 28th, 2004 11:00 AM


All of the museums have free days, typically during the non tourist season. Check the museums' website to see which days. The Terra Museum, closing in October 2004, is free every day as is the Lincoln Park Zoo and the LP Conservatory


1/2 price tickets to a lot of Chicago area productions are available at the Hot Tix booths, visit for more info


From O'Hare or Midway airport, take the el for $1.75, no extra charge for luggage. If you plan on using a lot of public transportation, there are also 1-5 day visitor passes, cost $5-$18.

There are free trolleys to most of the tourist attractions from Memorial Day (May)-Labor Day (1st Monday in Sept.)


Many of the foods Chicago is known for are inexpensive-pizza, hot dogs, Italian beef are all good budget options. And the further you get away from the city center (North Michigan Avenue and the loop), generally the less expensive the food is.


There are many events during the year that are free including Venetian Night, the Air and Water Show, July 4th fireworks (actually on July 3rd), concerts in Grant Park, free movies in Grant Park and many events at the Cultural Center including the free loop train tour and guided tours of the Cultural Center.


The Chicago Greeter service is free, you can use them to visit parts of the city that are off the beaten path


One of the best resources for Chicago entertainment, the Chicago Reader, is free, available at bookstores/record stores.

A good website to check out

missypie Jun 28th, 2004 11:09 AM

I believe that at the Art Institute, there is a "suggested donation" but that you don't have to pay that much.

Kristi Jun 28th, 2004 11:21 AM

Yes, that is true about the Art Institute, $10 (or is it now $12) is the suggested donation, you must give something. Tuesday is always free.

Laurie Jun 28th, 2004 02:07 PM

Hi Kristi,
Thanks for posting the website, Lots of great information there!

There is a listing for the Drake Hotel under the events link that says the Coq d'Or room has free entertainment and a free buffet every night from 7-9pm. Does this sound right? It is hard for me to believe that they have free food every night!!

Do you know anything about this offer? Thanks, Laurie

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