The best 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: Neal O'Bryan

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, there are tons of fantastic 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

Slo ’Mo

At this polysexual Logan Square dance-off, party purveyor Kristen Kaza and DJ Audio Jack drop the needle on love-drenched classics by Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Prince and the queen of lovers' rock, Sade. Admission is always free and the Whistler's capacity is limited, so there's usually a line out the door. Arrive early if you want to start grooving on the crammed dance floor ASAP.

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The Whistler , Logan Square Thursday June 21 2018



This all-inclusive LGBTQ night that started at Double Door’s Door No. 3 is now at Beauty Bar, featuring live music, drag performances and DJ sets. It's one of the most promising new alt-queer party outposts in town.

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Beauty Bar , River West/West Town Wednesday June 27 2018



We don't know if they're painting smiles on people's faces at the door or if they're mixing something into the booze, but everyone seems to be in a good mood at this energetic and inclusive queer party that's been going strong since 2008. It's worth getting there early, or else risk getting stuck in a line running down the block.

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Big Chicks , Uptown Friday July 13 2018 - Friday August 10 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.