A free day in Lincoln Park

With boutiques and gourmet cupcake shops aplenty, is anything in Lincoln Park free? We chronicle a Sunday sans wallet.

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Teacup Pomeranian at Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Teacup Pomeranian at Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Teacup Pomeranian at Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Teacup Pomeranian at Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Teacup Pomeranian at Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Teacup Yorkshire Terrier at Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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Photograph: Martha Williams

Pocket Puppies

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10am: Yoga class at lululemon athletica
2104 N Halsted St (773-883-8860)

We start our free day here, where, every Sunday, instructors from a rotation of local studios push aside racks of those ubiquitous Wunder Under pants and teach poses—no charge, mats provided—to yogis of all levels. Core Power hosts in June.

11:22am: Makeover at Benefit Cosmetics Boutique
852 W Armitage Ave (773-880-9192)

We get glam gratis at this bubble-gum-pink shop stocking the San Fran–founded Benefit line, deflecting pressure to spend by requesting a list of products used. Then come back Monday to buy the semi-magical Eye Bright concealer.

12:34pm: Picnic at Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Fullerton Ave and Cannon Dr (312-742-7529)
Serenity now! We unwrap a sandwich (packed pre-yoga) and marvel at turtles, tropical lilies and a 1.5-acre pond in this 122-year-old oasis, rehabbed by the Park District in 2001. Catch a free tour, given every half hour (Fridays 1–4pm; Saturdays 9am–noon and 1–4pm; Sundays 1–4pm, May–October only) by volunteer docents, to learn about 20th-century architect Caldwell’s stonework and more.

1:32pm: Play with pooches at Pocket Puppies
2479 N Clark St (773-857-1519)

Clerks encourage us to sink into a cherry red love seat and hold the $1,195-and-up teacup pups—a store-coined term meaning no dog grows to exceed five pounds—at this posh pet store, which works with humane breeders. We fall for a feisty Yorkie and a puffball of a Pomeranian, but can’t get attached: Most puppies are sold within a week of arriving, an employee tells us.

2:30pm: Bike ride starting at Cycle Smithy
2468½ N Clark St (773-281-0444)
We relinquish our ID to road test the bikes in this serious-about-cycling store. The downside is that we now have our eye on a sleek black Cinelli Vigorelli priced at $2,295—proof that there’s no such thing as a truly free ride.

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