I’ve lived in Chicago for almost 9 months now and it recently occurred to me that I haven’t done much of the “touristy” stuff. Part of that was due to the fact that it took several months for us to get settled in, part of it was due to the extreme cold we had going for us during the winter months – thanks polar vortex! – and a big part of it was due to the whole “unemployed husband thing.” After all, you don’t want to spend a bunch of money to go look at the dinosaurs if you need to hang onto that money to pay the electric bill next month.

Frugality Fatigue

At this point, I’m pretty much over the whole “we need to save money however we possibly can, wherever we possibly can” way of life. It’s really boring. However, I also know that we can’t afford to do all the fun stuff I would like to. To compromise, I’ve been furiously researching all the free stuff you can do in Chicago. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but there is a lot of stuff that you can do for free around here.

First up on my Tour de Free Stuff: The Art Institute of Chicago.


If you’re a resident, you can go for free every Thursday night from 5-8 pm.

Tell Us More About the Art

I don’t know much of anything about art, art history, or what you’re supposed to look for when you go to a museum. I will say, that the Art Institute of Chicago is gigantic. We went for about two hours last Thursday and I would say that we only saw 10% of what the museum has to offer.


This whirligig was part of the exhibit on American Folk Art.

image_4do have a fun story about this painting, though. According to the retired art historian who started talking to us, this painting of the Assumption is actually the first cubic painting ever. Apparently, Picasso used to look at this painting for inspiration.

Here are some other artsy-type pictures:

Really old poker chips.

Really old poker chips.

009 image_6 image_7 image_8Have you done anything fun and exciting recently? What other free stuff should I check out?