Chicago: Cool Places on a Budget


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Museums like the Art Institute of Chicago and The International Museum of Surgical Science, among others, have free days available.

Robin Bridges , Editor in Chief

It’s not cheap being a student, and it’s not cheap living in Chicago either. Here are a couple things you can do, when you’re low on cash, or you’re trying to save, that can make a day in the city a little more eventful.

Food To Eat

At O’Donovan’s Pub, on 2100 West Irving Park, Monday burger and Wednesday taco specials will keep dinner under $10 a person — including beer for those over 21. $2 burgers are available on Monday and $2 tacos on Wednesday. The average beer is about $6.50. You could easily get away with a $5-$8 dinner if everyone sticks to soft drinks. The specials only come with soft drink or alcohol purchase, between 4-11 p.m.
On Fridays at the Lion’s Head Pub, on 2251 North Lincoln, it’s great to wash down the 25 cent wings available from 4-7 p.m. with a $4 draft. They have a decent selection of on-tap and bottle beer. It’s a good way to end the week. Eight wings and a beer will keep the bill under $10 and give you the wiggle room to tip well.

Shows to See

Whip out that student ID and head on down to the theatre. The theatres that I’ve experienced these discounts best at are the Goodman Theatre and the Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park. At the Goodman, on 170 North Dearborn, you can order your ticket online beginning at 10am the day of the show with Promo code “10TIX.” You can call at anytime to pick it up with your student ID.
At the Lifeline Theatre, show up before any KidSeries show and tickets will be available at any price you’re willing to pay. The way to ensure your seat is to go to a matinee show — that is, any show before 5 p.m.
For those who like to plan ahead, check out and for anything from “free” to half price tickets at just about any venue or event in the city. There is a service charge anywhere from $3.50-$5, but the ticket price is 100 percent free. Filter your search for comp tickets and your world of “free tickets” awaits.

Things To Do.

All the Chicago Museums have free days; all you need is a state ID. The problem with these free days is that everyone and their mother go to them and the lines can get a bit outrageous. Instead, I like to pick the “other” free days. The Museum of Contemporary Art is free throughout the day on Tuesdays, as is the Museum of Surgical Science. It sounds gross, but it’s totally nifty if you’re into that kind of thing. Loyola University Museum of Art is free on Tuesdays as well.
The Art Institute of Chicago is free Thursday night from 5-8pm. The Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier is free from 5-8 p.m. on Thursdays as well. It is also free for adults on the first Sunday of every month — which will save you about $15 bucks per adult.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College is free everyday, for those who need a daily dose of art in their lives.