Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Skokie, IL

  • Published 2023/02/14

Skokie is a quaint village in Cook County, Illinois, located 16 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.

This diverse neighborhood is home to a sizable Jewish population, and some of its attractions are directly influenced by their cultural heritage.

Sprinkling a few free attractions into your Skokie itinerary is a great way to add diversity to your trip while saving money.

Many tourists love going back to Skokie time and time again.

See these free things to do in Skokie, Illinois, if you want to visit this hidden gem.

Appreciate the Public Art at Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park

The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is the result of integrating art and nature.

With over 60 sculptures on display, this park is a beautiful space for contemplation and relaxation.

It has been astoundingly transformed into a breathtakingly beautiful park showcasing remarkable public sculptures from renowned local artists.

Featuring four distinct areas, these open spaces are enveloped by lush landscaping adorned with vibrant lawns and growing trees.

It’s a genuinely exquisite oasis in the heart of Skokie that’s easily accessible through the North Shore Channel Trail.

The park’s captivating appeal lies in its unique blend of styles and materials, ranging from works by renowned international sculptors to pieces crafted by the students of local high schools.

So, if you’re looking for free art in Skokie, the Skokie NorthShore Sculpture Park is worth checking out.

Go on an Outdoor Adventure at Skokie Valley Trail

The Skokie Valley Trail is the premier hiking spot in Skokie, Illinois.

Spanning the entire Skokie Valley Trail corridor, this well-maintained asphalt path offers a multi-use experience for hikers, cyclists, and joggers alike.

The trail also covers Highland Park in the south to Lake Bluff in the north, providing an immersive outdoor experience through sights and activities.

Stretching 9.8 miles long, the trail has plenty of nature to explore, with lush greenery and various wildlife sightings.

The trail is also free year-round, offering a great way to enjoy the fresh air without breaking the bank.

Why not go on an adventure along the Skokie Valley Trail and experience nature up close?

Enjoy the Scenery at Donald W. Lyon Park

Donald W. Lyon Park has breathtaking scenery, including lush greenery, free-to-use equipment, and an overall community-centric atmosphere.

This popular park is a great place to relax, unwind, or get active, with ample trails and courts.

Donald W. Lyon Park features baseball fields, basketball courts, a charcoal pit, drinking fountains, and a free library where visitors can borrow books.

A particular area is designed for picnicking, with tables, grills, and nearby restrooms.

There’s also a playground for the kids and plenty of walking paths to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of this park.

The tennis court here is also bustling, with players of all ages looking to compete with the locals and visitors.

From its free-to-use amenities to its stunning natural beauty, Donald W. Lyon Park is a great place to enjoy some time outdoors in Skokie, Illinois.

Enjoy a Quiet Moment at Skokie Public Library

Sometimes, it takes some peace to recharge your batteries.

If that’s the case, then a visit to the Skokie Public Library may just be what you need.

Located at 5215 Oakton Street in downtown Skokie, this public library offers a comprehensive collection of books and other reading materials.

There are also tons of free programs, such as British programming, e-book classes, bilingual conversations, and more.

The library also hosts various annual special events open to everyone in the community.

This library should captivate with its unique architecture and interior design that features an inviting atmosphere of comfort and calm.

You can also participate in low-key activities such as board games and puzzles at the Skokie Public Library.

Whether you’re looking for some quiet time with a good book or interesting free programs, the Skokie Public Library is the perfect place.

Go on a Picnic at Oakton Park

Oakton Park is one of Skokie’s best parks, with picnic areas.

Located at 4701 Oakton Street, this park offers plenty of open spaces, lush greenery, and enough amenities to make your picnic memorable.

Oakton Park has several family-friendly facilities, including playgrounds, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, and more.

The park also has bag toss boards, charcoal pits, an electronic playground, an indoor facility, a native area with a rain garden, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and much more.

With all the free facilities and amenities available, it’s no wonder Oakton Park is such a popular spot for picnics.

Why not grab some food and drinks, gather your friends and family, and head to Oakton Park for a picnic you won’t soon forget?

Learn Local History at Skokie Heritage Museum

The Skokie Heritage Museum is an impressive museum located at 8031 Floral Avenue in downtown Skokie, Illinois.

The museum showcases the history of the village and its residents through free exhibits, programs, and events.

Discover Skokie’s historical roots and uncover the past by exploring the Historic Engine House and 1847 Log Cabin!

Both landmarks showcase permanent and revolving exhibits and special interest classes for all ages.

Moreover, educational programs are designed to inspire young minds about history in an engaging manner.

If you want a fun and educational activity in Skokie, check out the Skokie Heritage Museum.

Enjoy the Peaceful Vibes at Winnebago Park

Winnebago Park is a compact outdoor space that has something for everyone.

Located at 8315 Knox Avenue, this park is peaceful and serene, with plenty of open space for exploring.

This park also offers a variety of facilities and amenities, such as playgrounds, walking paths, basketball courts, drinking fountains, and so much more.

Since it’s a smaller park than others in Skokie, Winnebago Park is an excellent place for a quiet and peaceful stroll.

With so many free activities, this park will surely provide plenty of entertainment despite its size.

Why not take a break from the other bustling parks and go for a more subdued experience at Winnebago Park?

Meet the Locals at Westfield Old Orchard

A shop at Westfield Old Orchard

Pamela Brick /

Westfield Old Orchard is a shopping mall in Skokie.

It’s right next to the Skokie Swift CTA station, making it easy to reach.

When you visit Westfield Old Orchard, don’t just focus on shopping.

Not only is this shopping center home to many stores, but it’s also full of excellent restaurants and entertainment venues.

Clothing store at Westfield Old Orchard

Pamela Brick /

The mall also hosts weekly events and seasonal activities open to the public, giving you a unique opportunity to meet the locals.

You can join free yoga classes, listen to live music performances, or join guided art sessions.

Plus, it’s also a great place to get free samples from various stores.

So, if you’re looking for a fun way to get to know Skokie, Westfield Old Orchard is a fantastic place to do just that!

Join the Skokie Festival of Cultures

The Skokie Festival of Cultures is an annual celebration that showcases the diversity of cultures in the Skokie area.

It’s been a staple celebration in Skokie since 1991 and has always been a lot of fun for all ages.

For 30 years, Oakton Park in Skokie has hosted a two-day multicultural event that brings together people from over 30 nations.

From its humble beginnings with just 14 cultures and 1,000 attendees to today’s 25,000 annual visitors, this festival has something for everyone!

Enjoy diverse ethnic folk music and dance performances, arts & crafts workshops, international children’s games, delicious food & drinks stalls, cultural booths, and an iconic flag display.

It’s no wonder why this festival has received both state and national art programming awards!

You’ll find free entertainment and activities at the Skokie Festival of Cultures, such as music performances and culture.

You’ll experience different cultures through traditional music, dance performances, international cuisine, various vendors, and more.

If you want a fun way to explore the diversity in Skokie, check out the Skokie Festival of Cultures.

This celebration is held every summer.

Bring Your Dog to the Skokie Pooch Park

The Skokie Pooch Park promotes responsible dog ownership and provides a safe place for your furry friends to run around and socialize.

Located at 3220 Oakton Street, this off-leash dog park features an ample 2.7-acre open space with plenty of trees and amenities such as water fountains and waste stations.

Dogs of different breeds can take advantage of the free play area open from dawn to dusk.

There are separate areas for big and small dogs so all pups can have a good time.

So, if you’ve brought your dog to Skokie, take them to Skokie Pooch Park for a fun and exciting time outdoors.

Spend a Day at Sequoya Park

Sequoya Park is a well-known park in Skokie that is popular among locals and tourists.

Located at 5311 Lyons Street, the park is known for offering plenty of free activities, such as basketball courts, a playground, several drinking fountains, and a little free library for kids.

The trees provide ample shade on hot summer days, making it a perfect spot for picnics, family outings, or relaxation.

The park is well-maintained and offers plenty of walking paths for an afternoon stroll.

If you want a free and fun way to spend your day at Skokie, check out Sequoya Park.

Let the Kids Play at Chippewa Park

Bring the kids to Chippewa Park and let them enjoy all the fun and exciting amenities of the park.

Located at 7541 Tripp Avenue in Skokie, Illinois, this small park has been a landmark since 1955.

In 1993, the park underwent a remarkable transformation.

Trash cans were installed, and a new playground and an enhanced basketball court were constructed.

Drainage improvements, new fences, trees, and picnic tables rounded out this magnificent makeover that has amazed locals.

Today, Chippewa Park is a safe, accessible place for children to play.

The playground features swings, slides, and climbers, all designed with safety in mind.

If you want a free way to entertain the kids in Skokie, drop by Chippewa Park.

Jump and Play at Tecumseh Park

Tecumseh Park is another vibrant Skokie park promoting active play and exploration.

This free park is located at 4810 Hull Street and has a large playground with swings, slides, climbers, and many other fun activities.

The park also features a few basketball courts and a dedicated picnic area.

The basketball court here, in particular, attracts many people from all walks of life who enjoy the game.

If you want to let yourself and the kids enjoy a day of fun and exploration, bring them to Tecumseh Park!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Check Out the Leaning Tower of Niles

Daytime view of the Leaning Tower of Niles

Emma_Griffiths /

The Leaning Tower of Niles is one of the unique landmarks you will encounter during your vacation.

Located in nearby Niles, Illinois, this half-sized replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a popular tourist attraction that visitors from both near and far can enjoy.

Constructed in 1934 by esteemed businessman Robert Ilg, the Leaning Tower of Niles was initially created as a recreational area for his Chicago-based company, the Ilg Hot Air Electric Ventilating Company.

Top half of the Leaning Tower of Niles

Henryk Sadura /

However, this landmark has become a popular tourist attraction that visitors can enjoy for free.

It stands 94 feet tall and leans four degrees to the north.

The tower is open to the public, making it an accessible and unique way to explore the area’s history and culture.

This spot is nine minutes from Skokie.

Aerial view of the Leaning Tower of Niles

Emma_Griffiths /

Explore the Skokie Lagoons

Scenic view of Skokie Lagoons

Chad Zuber /

Skokie Lagoons is a nature preserve located in Glencoe, Illinois, 14 minutes from Skokie.

The 894-acre Skokie Lagoons are a picturesque haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering unparalleled water recreation.

Skokie Lagoons feature public boat access, canoe and kayak rentals, and fishing opportunities.

A bird at Skokie Lagoons

Wildnerdpix /

The surrounding area features biking paths, hiking trails, and picnic spots to sit back and enjoy the view.

If you love nature and want a free way to spend your day outdoors, then the Skokie Lagoons are worth checking out.

Aerial view of Skokie Lagoons

Qqgare, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

If you want to vacation in this vibrant village near Chicago, check out the free things to do in Skokie, Illinois.

You’re guaranteed a memorable vacation from basketball courts to playgrounds and towering landmarks, and you don’t have to break the bank for it!

Plan your trip today!

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