Free things to do in Chicago in February

Close out winter with a happy wallet by taking advantage of these fantastic free things to do in Chicago in February

Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

All right, Chicago, this is the tough stretch. It may be the shortest month of the year, but between the “Oh my god, it’s still winter?” weather and Valentine’s Day, February in Chicago seems to drag on forever. But don’t worry! We’ve assembled this list of the best free things to do in February to keep you sane and happy, without going broke. Take in fantastic Chinese New Year events, check out incredible contemporary up and hit up concerts at the city’s best venues, all free of charge. Just because the weather is miserable this month doesn’t mean you have to be!

Recommended: Events calendar for February in Chicago

Free things to do in February in Chicago

The Paper Machete


Christopher Piatt hosts this weekly “live magazine,” a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for a Saturday afternoon of drinks, hot takes and laughs. 

The Green Mill , Uptown Wednesday July 18 2018 - Saturday December 29 2018


Burliness is optional at this night for bearded boys, funky folk and all other queers and allies, which takes over Logan Square dive the Burlington. Resident DJ Butch Sassidy and the Come Dance Kid spins punk, disco and new wave galore.

The Burlington , Logan Square Wednesday July 18 2018 - Wednesday December 19 2018

Night Names


Set a new high score at this arcade bar’s monthly queer night. Guests can take advantage of free pinball (make sure you take a turn on the classic Star Wars and PIN·BOT tables), enjoy bar specials or bust a move in the back room with resident DJ Essential Logic.

Logan Arcade , Logan Square Thursday September 6 2018 - Thursday December 6 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.

Big Chicks , Uptown Friday August 10 2018

Off Chances


If you like your gays in skinny jeans, queer heaven awaits at this offshoot of Chances Dances, with the same inclusive spirit as its currently-on-hiatus sib but a more conversational vibe.

Danny's Tavern , Bucktown Tuesday August 14 2018 - Tuesday December 11 2018