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Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago, IL

Things to do Lincoln Park Free
4 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
The polar bear window at Lincoln Park Zoo

Time Out says

Everything you need to know about visiting Lincoln Park (2001 N Clark St, Chicago IL 60614)

See some 1,200 animals—from apes to zebras to flamingos—at one of the last free zoos in the country. The 35-acre attraction connects visitors with animals from all over the world, and a variety of seasonal events and special programming keep locals coming back again and again.

All about the animals

Of course, the zoo's main attraction is its inhabitants. From mammals (beavers, lions, otters and bears) to birds (penguins, eagles and parrots) to reptiles (snakes, crocodiles and turtles), there's something for every animal lover at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Plus, there are always new additions, which means plenty of incredibly adorable baby animals every time you visit. It's easy to see hundreds of creatures in a single day, as the space's terrain is very walkable, even with little ones in tow.

Something extra

The zoo also plays host to special events throughout the year, including outdoor yoga sessions, Summer Wine Fest, Craft Brews at the Zoo and kid-friendly sing alongs. Check the zoo's website for an updated roster of events happening during your visit.

Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. Chicago was most recently updated with new tips on June 28, 2017.



Address: 2001 N Clark St

Cross street: between Lake Shore Dr and Fullerton Pkwy
Transport: Bus: 151, 156.
Opening hours: Memorial Day–Labor Day, Mon–Fri 10am–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–6:30pm
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  • Festivals Saturday May 9 2020
  • Festivals Friday June 19 2020 - Saturday June 20 2020

Users say (11)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Been coming to LPZ since I was 17, even worked as a Docent for a while.  Great staff, wonderful exhibits, petting zoo and Farm in the Zoo.  And while you're in Lincoln Park, check out the Conservatory (free - with annual flower shows) and just wander around this beautiful area.  Great restaurants nearby when you get hungry, including the iconic Cafe Brauer.  I go as often as I can - best weekdays spring, fall and winter, not so crowded.


Lincoln Park Zoo has been a go-to of mine since living in the city - whether it's looking to take friends from out-of-town for something different, checking out Zoolights in the winter, or just something fun and free to do on a nice Saturday. I recently checked out the Adult's Night Out, an after-dark event that's exactly what it sounds like. After the zoo closes to the public, folks 21+ can buy tickets to check out the exhibits, enjoy adult beverages, and dance to a live DJ among other activities. Crowds are plentiful and the music is loud, reminded me a bit of my high school Senior night out AKA a huge party. Don't expect to see too many animals in the dark/with the blaring music playing, but other than that it's a fun and unique date activity or girl's night out.


I recently attended Adults Night Out at the Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s essentially a 21+ event after the zoo closes where people can walk around, enjoy alcoholic beverages (beer and wine), and listen to music. It would benefit from more interactive activities, especially because not all the animals come out in the evening. I enjoyed the DJ and the top 40 jams he was spinning. It was like being at an outdoor bar with people dancing and getting hype, which was fun to see.


For a free zoo, this is one of the best! I love coming with family and friends when they are visiting. The zoo lights are awesome to see during the holidays. Food is relatively cheap. The best time to visit is definitely during the week when it's not so crowded. Expect half the city here on the first warm day after a cold winter. 


The zoo is free which is a great city attraction. I'm not really a zoo person- I'm way too in my head thinking about how sad the animals are HOWEVER, I have brought my nephew here for a fall fest and he had a BLAST. You could buy tickets for rides and games. I don't think we even saw an animal that day. Overall, they have great events for kids that are well planned. 


There are three things I love about Lincoln park zoo. 1. It's free! 2. They have adults night out in the fall/winter. 3. During the holidays (thanksgiving and christmas) they have a night called Zoo lights, You get to walk the zoo while it is lit up with beautiful holiday lights! The entire zoo is just amazing spring winter summer and fall. They have the best animals to view and learn about as well. You can take the kids during the day, and later at night join in on the Adult night only fun! See the animals, learn about them and enjoy a glass or two of your favorite drink! You will love it. 


It's awesome that the Lincoln Park Zoo is free. I always tell visitors about it and they are always surprised about its free admission. I like going here when it's a tad bit colder and during weekdays because it's not as crowded  and I get to take leisurely walks around the zoo.

moderatorStaff Writer

I love the Lincoln Park Zoo! I've been coming since I was a kid and it's just as much fun now as it was when I was a kid and the smell of those wax figurines still lingers in my nose every time I walk into one of the buildings where you can find them. You can't beat the free admission year-round and it's even more fun to stop by with a group at night in the winter and check out ZooLights. 


Full disclosure - I used to live across the street from LPZOO so I've been there A LOT. So while it may be bias speaking, I am truly a fan of this zoo. Especially for the cost (free!) there's a lot to see and their special events are great (particularly Adults Night Out at the Zoo and Zoo Lights). The new snow monkeys are adorable and definitely a new favorite stop for me. Similar to what someone stated below, the cat house can feel a bit depressing (that can't possibly be enough space!) but the history of the property and good conservation work they're doing is heartwarming. Definitely a good stop when family comes to visit or you're looking for a cheap day date!

Guys but the giraffes. Giraffes are my favorite, and this is one of the few places you can go (for free!) and get pretty close to giraffes. The cat house is also tons of fun, and in winter everyone loves Brew Lights and Zoo Lights, but I'm in it for the giraffes.

This free city zoo is better than most paid admission zoos in other cities. If you're walking through Lincoln Park, you owe yourself a visit to say hello to a red panda or a beaver. The cat house, though historic, can feel a little sad, but otherwise many of the habitats here seem very well maintained and cheerful. Make sure to visit during the holidays to see Zoo Lights.