Forth Chicago Favorites: Fresh n' Free / by Clare Johnson

Happy Friday, happy spring and happy weekend, Forth community! This week we're bringing you a map for you and your family. If you're looking for some fun and free activities to do with your family, take a note from our community and visit one or more of their favorite locations.

1. Newberry Library - 60 West Walton Street, Chicago

Forth Approved by Julie Schumacher

"A beautiful, beautiful space, but more, it’s what it holds. I was lucky to be selected for an NEH grant for teachers in 2007 to do cartographic scholarship at the Newberry. I spent several glorious weeks amid the archives researching maps modern and ancient. I do love me some maps. It’s free and open to the public, has an awesome book sale, and just makes my heart so happy."

2. Open Books Ltd. - 213 West Institute Place, Chicago

Forth Approved by Lisa Henderson

According to Lisa, this neighborhood bookstore in nothing short of amazing! "For the kids, it has story time, lots of music and craft events, and the kid area is designed for kids to be loud and make a mess. For the Adults, super wide range of books and I always end up finding something totally random and amazing. Plus, Open Books is nonprofit and promotes literacy so you can donate books, volunteer and expect low-priced books."

3. Oak Park Farmers Market - 123 Madison St, Oak Park, IL

Forth Approved by Molly Rudberg

"There’s no better place to buy legendary hot donuts AND balance it out with fresh EVERYTHING: peppers, corn, cheese, flowers, pumpkins, salsa, etc.!  This place makes a heart happy."

4. Millennium Park

Forth Approved by Olivia Suchman Joffrey, Maria Boustead and Melissa Salvatore

Millennium Park is a Chicago (and Forth Chicago) favorite thanks to its amazing architecture, free concerts in the Pritzker Pavilion, and stunning views.  Maria puts it beautifully when she says "It feels like such a gift to have that available with such regularity and with such stunning surroundings."

5. Lincoln Park Zoo - 2001 North Clark Street, Chicago

Forth Approved by Melissa Salvatore

"I love our city zoo, I love that it’s free, and I love that it is close. And it is worth a visit in the summer and winter for zoo lights!"

6. The Art Institute of Chicago - 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Forth Approved by Jessica Jacobs

The Art Institute hosts *free* evenings every Thursday from 5:00-8:00pm. This allows for the perfect amount of time to view and experience one or two of their amazing exhibits. As Jessica puts it, "I see something new every time I go."

7. Garfield Park Conservatory - 300 North Central Park Avenue, Chicago

Forth Approved by Janelle Gonyea

Forth highly recommends the amazing Spring Flower Show: Sun Flowers. It's open daily from 9:00am-5:00pm and 9:00am-8:00pm on Wednesday. The cake topper? Admission to the Conservatory is FREE!

8. Green City Market - 2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago (Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum)

Forth Approved by Kelly Allison, Kelli Taylor and Jamie Davis

The Green City Market is a favorite of many of our Forth members. During the off season, it's located in the beautiful Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (current location) and in just a few short weeks, it will move to its summer location at the south end of Lincoln Park. Mark your calendars - May 2nd is opening day!

9. Movie in the Park (coming this summer!) - The parks of Chicago

Forth Approved by Allison Kuczwara

Come summer, there's "nothing better than a picnic in a park while watching a classic movie – for free!"

10. A trip down Lake Shore Drive

Forth Approved by Kelli Taylor

Kelli states it perfectly: Lake Shore Drive is "so beautiful and cinematic… it’s like an asphalt valentine to the city.  I blame John Hughes and Harry & Sally for never letting me play it cool when I hop on Lake Shore. My friends are always so giddy and camera-happy when we’re on it, and I think their picture-taking might distract them from my face-splitting smile too."

Now, go forth and enjoy your weekend!