What’s better than spending the day at a cultural exhibit in beautiful, downtown Chicago? Not having to take out your wallet. Often unknown, there are many free activities in Chicago that provide rich entertainment and knowledge within art history and science. Plus, most of these activities are perfect for all ages, so rounding up the family and heading to an exhibit can make for a terrific, family-packed day and cultural exploration.

Taking some time to nourish your creative spirit and discover new and exciting phenomenon can open the mind to innovation, intellect, and beauty, and such inspiration can translate over into other life areas, such as work success and personal growth. Here are 9 artsy things to do in Chicago that are totally free and filled of fun.

Chicago Cultural Theater Performances

While not all performances are free, the Chicago Cultural Center offers plenty of complimentary concerts, ranging from blues to jazz, as well as dancing programs, film screenings, and theatrical events. Checking out the calendar of free events will help you stay in touch and allow enough time to make room in your schedule. With such diversity of musical and artistic talent, it’s easy to find inspiration.

Cambodian American Heritage Museum

Immersing yourself in a new culture, such as Cambodian history, can open the mind to diverse ideas and principles and provide greater experience into different ways of producing art. At the Cambodian American Heritage Museum, you can learn about the Cambodian American history, its modern elements, and its insightful community, today. Offering dance, music and language classes, there’s plenty to choose from. Check the calendar for free events.

Chicago Architecture Foundation Program

A nonprofit in hopes of providing insight into design and culture, Chicago Architecture Foundation Program, or CAF, offers inspirational boat cruises and many free, special events and educational outlets to take in the 3D model of the city, found at their headquarters in the Loop. Understanding urban design and innovation boosts intellect and creative thinking. Attend a free seminar, based on the calendar of events online.

Chicago Foodseum

Calling all foodies: this museum offers exciting seminars and stimulating exhibits to entice a crowd and learn more about leading chefs, dining, and gastronomy. The Chicago Foodseum offers many opportunities to immerse yourself in food education and to have fun delighting the senses. Experiencing and cooking food is a pure joy and an art, and as humans, we are naturally inclined to love food. While not free, you can also purchase a choc-o-box for over 3 lbs. of chocolate.

Chicago Design Museum

Open to the public and free on Tuesdays-Saturdays from 12-7p.m., the Chicago Design Museum offers a plethora of stimulating workshops, exhibitions, and tours that welcome people of all ages and preferences. Learn more about innovative building and design techniques, art and beauty, and designers’ histories through guided programs and educational events.

City Gallery At The Water Tower

If you are into pop-up artists and exhibits, spend a day at the City Gallery At The Water Tower and wander through the galleries to observe artwork and photography from interesting and modern artists. The pieces rotate on display, so it’s easy to keep coming back for brand new experiences, inspiration, and knowledge.

Harold Washington Library

Reading a book about art and science within the beautiful, renowned Harold Washington Library is sure to transport you back in time to whatever adventure you’ve embarked upon. With an abundance of exhibits and theatrical performances, as well as a public art collection, there’s plenty to see and experience that will open the mind to beauty and intellect.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Spending a day roaming the halls of the Art Institute of Chicago is easy, as there are so many wonderful exhibits and events to go to that will open the mind and engage thought. Plus, on Thursdays from 5-8p.m., the museum is free for all Chicago residents. It’s a great place to recharge after a busy day at work.

Navy Pier

Right off Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier is a land full of amusement, dining, education, and entertainment. Free of charge, The Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass at Navy Pier, offer beauty and wonder through its stained glass windows and landscapes designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The gallery is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 10a.m. to 5p.m.

With so many exciting and interesting activities in Chicago, it’s easy to explore and interact with artistic and innovative concepts. Engaging the mind is great for your wellbeing and health, and these free events will certainly provide stimulation.