With so many amazing music venues in Chicago, it's never difficult to find a great show to attend. While the options for free concerts in Chicago are a bit more limited, it's possible to find gigs that don't cost a dime.

Most of the city's free music can be found during the warm summer months, when Millennium Park hosts gratis shows and street festivals pop up in neighborhoods. 

But some of the best bars in Chicago and a few other venues keep free concerts going year-round, showcasing local bands and DJs. Not sure where to go? We've rounded up some of the best spots to catch free concerts in Chicago.

Millennium Park 

Looking for free live music in the summers? Look no further - Millennium Park is here, more specifically Pritzker Pavilion. 

Hosting a number of outdoor shows right as the weather warms up, this park is unbelievably popular with Chicago residents as the crowds begin to pile up with passionate singing crowds at the ready. 

Considering the incredible free admission, the park hosts widely loved festivals like the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, and the Grant Park Music Festival. 

Not to mention the Millennium Park Summer Music series which brings touring bands to the Pavilion for a series of free concerts. 

Time Out Market 

Time Out Market Chicago is an interesting venue because of its usual purpose of hosting some of the best chefs in the entire city as well as having 3 bars in the area, it regularly is a venue for live music. 

Not only in the summer is there live performances on the sidewalk patio, but during the rest of the year there is jazz every Sunday during the Feed Your Soul Jazz Brunch. 

Empty Bottle 

One of the city’s most loved rock clubs - this venue offers a generous mix of free and need to pay for shows. 

Some Mondays you’ll find both local acts or even a touring band playing a free show as well as the legendary local group the Hoyle Brothers playing a free set on Friday nights to kick off the weekend. 

Tack Room

Nestled inside the beloved entertainment center that is Thalia Hall, imagine a classically gorgeous hidden piano saloon that’s brimming with equestrian-themed decor. 

This one of a kind venue is only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday nights. Yet you’ll always find an absolutely magical jazz combo or piano player playing for the smitten crowd - a sight that’s popular for Chicago. 

The Whistler

Best known for its vibrant and creative displays and amazing cocktails - The Whistler is one of the greatest spots in town for local jazz musicians and lively DJs which very rarely requires a cover fee. 

City pop, techno, and house music are the most popular genres of music in this beloved venue with the popular Relax Attack Jazz Series on Wednesday nights. 

Posted by Michael Clendenning on
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