Chicago’s South Loop is home to Columbia College and a host of other attractions that people are just now discovering. The 8,000 students who attend Columbia are all in the arts – visual, performing, media, and communications. Naturally, they’re attracted to the amazing museums, as well as the Art Institute, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Symphony Center. After a little bit of research, I have found some of the best free attractions, close enough to walk or take your bike! Here are 10 free things to do around Columbia College Chicago!
1. The Museum Campus
On a nice day, there are 57 acres of park grounds surrounding the Planetarium, the Aquarium, and the Field Museum, for you to enjoy. Picnics, Frisbee, and long walks can easily take up an entire sunny afternoon.
2. Grant Park
This park is 319 acres of lakefront property, often called “Chicago front yard.” The Museum Campus is housed within Grant Park, but there is so much more to do and see. There’s amazing artwork, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and, more recently, a skate park! While the park is a host to lots of fee-based events and concerts, there are also lots of free events during the spring, summer, and early fall.
3. Events Of The South Loop Neighbors Association
This is a relatively new organization, founded because of the area’s recent growth. It has annual events, such as a Photo Show, to which all residents, even those of the college, can submit their personal shots that highlight the area and/or its history!
4. Prairie Avenue Historic District
While this district has much more history, during the latter part of the 19th century, it became a neighborhood of some of Chicago’s most elite families. Walking through this neighborhood is quite literally like going back in time. For anyone interested in 19th century architecture, this is an area not to be missed.
5. Rollerblading Along The Lakefront
There is a dedicated rollerblading route for those who are into this sport. Having this space set aside allows students to get out and get physical.
6. The 12Th Street Beach
For those who love sun, sand, and water, there is no need to travel far; a short walk or bike ride will get you there! There is also a distance swimming area and a beach walk. As the spring semester winds down, the temptation, of course, is to be at the beach more and more. This may carve into study time, but with all of this free entertainment, students will have some spare cash to get some help from professional research/writing services like Okdissertations!
7. Wabash Art Corridor
Often called a “living urban canvas,” this area is comprised of galleries, schools, performance spaces for street musicians, public art spaces, etc. This is a great place for Columbia students to participate in public displays and performances.
While not technically in the South Loop district, Chinatown is still within walking or biking distance. There are a bunch of buildings that have historical significance for the heritage of the Chinese in Chicago, such as the Pui Tak Center. More recently, there has been lots of new development and new landmarks, including the Chinatown Mural, Nine Dragon Wall, and the Chinatown Square. Anyone going to Chinatown should not miss the new library. It is the newest and most feature-modern library in Chicago!
9. Millennium Park
Originally planned as an extension of Grant Park, Millennium Park has taken on a life of its own. It was begun in 1997 and continues to be developed. Right now, there are attractions such as interactive public art, some pretty amazing architecture, and landscaping, along with free concerts in its Pritzker Pavilion!
10. Columbia College
This is the center of visual and performing arts. Throughout the year, there are programs, exhibits, etc., which are all free and open to the public. In May of each year, there is an event called “Manifest” in which graduating seniors, in all of the programs, showcase their work. There are outdoor concerts, artwork, fashion design, video games, and more!
So there you have it-10 things to do in your “backyard” if you are at Columbia College, and they are all for free! Most students tend to spend their money on food, drinks, and entertainment. When they come up short on cash, though, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of free things around to satisfy intellectual, cultural, social and athletic needs!
These are some of the best free things to do around Columbia College Chicago! What’s your favorite place to go for free? Share in the comments!
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Featured Image Source: pinterest.com
Ashley Kornee is a blogger and freelance writer. She always tries to write about ordinary things in a creative way.