Staying in one of the best hotels in Chicago will provide any travel-savvy tourist with a perfect base from which to explore the myriad attractions the Windy City offers. Those less inclined to indulge in typical 'touristy' things will be keen to know the city also boasts a number of interesting places not blatantly aimed at tourists, which can be visited for free.
Top free attractions
Any of the city's many parks and beaches, for instance, makes for a great place to while away a morning or afternoon without spending money. Park yourself on a bench, relax, and indulge in reading or people-watching or, alternatively, pack up your beach gear and head to the river for a bout of sun-tanning (weather permitting!). Certain city parks also double as wildlife sanctuaries, which can add a whole new dimension to this type of activity, particularly for animal lovers.
And speaking of animal lovers, they should not pass up the opportunity to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo (yes, the zoo has free admission!) or any of the numerous conservatories scattered throughout the city, which display some of the most interesting and rare examples of plant life. Fans of outdoor art should also head to Millennium Park, where they can admire outdoor sculptures or, with luck, witness a free performance on the park's pavilion or stage. Finally, some city neighbourhoods make for a fascinating exploratory day-trip in their own right - such as the Magnificent Mile, the upmarket district, where you may be located already if you are staying at any of the best hotels in Chicago.
If the weather happens to be unpleasant (they don't call it the Windy City for nothing) or if you are just not that fond of outdoor activities, fear not. Being cooped up inside your hotel room during a leisure trip is not fun (even when you are staying at one of the best hotels in Chicago), but in this case, it is also not necessary.
Plenty of indoor spots in the city can be visited for free, including art galleries such as the Centerspace Gallery, the Hyde Park Art Center or the Smart Museum of Art. Museums are also in plentiful supply, from more standard institutions such as the Renaissance Society and the Oriental Institute Museum, to more culturally diverse offerings such as the Cambodian American Heritage Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art. Alternatively, visitors can drop by the Cultural Center and take in one of the sundry free shows and performances held there.
As you can see, there is more than enough reason to venture out from the comforts of the best hotels in Chicago to take a free day-trip around the city.