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Free things to do in Chicago in December

With these excellent free shows, holiday events and dance parties, you can enjoy December in Chicago without emptying your pockets

Photograph: Todd Rosenberg
It's a colorful winter wonderland at ZooLights, one of the top Chicago festivals in December.

December can be a particularly rough month on our wallets. Between ticking off names on your gift list, splurging for holiday theater and treating yourself to special Christmas concerts, there’s good reason to spend money in Chicago this month. Luckily, we’ve got a strong slate of free things to do to counterbalance the spending you’ll do in December. No need to be a hermit after you shelled out for holiday gifts—here are the best things to do for no money at all. 

Free things to do in Chicago in December

Do your Christmas shopping at a holiday market

Okay, so it's hard to go to these markets without spending money. But if you've got the self-restraint, these holiday markets all have free entry, so you can window shop to your heart's content. Before you surrender to the shopping gods and just get everyone gift cards, waltz through these fabulous holiday markets all across the city.

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By: Grace Perry

Slo ’Mo

At this polysexual Logan Square dance-off, party purveyor Kristen Kaza and DJ Tess drop the needle on love-drenched classics by Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Prince and the queen of lovers' rock, Sade.

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The Whistler , Logan Square Thursday September 21 2017 - Thursday June 21 2018


Paul A

The Christkindle Market is an absolute must this time of year. I went with my wife over the weekend and we bought a few gifts for family and enjoyed walking around with roasted chestnuts and gluehwein while we took in the the sights. Be sure to dress warm, but there are plenty of places to pop in to beat the cold around the plaza.