Student discounts in Chicago. Being saddled with high tuition and low income doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in Chicago. There are a ton of free and cheap things to do and you can turn your student ID into your golden ticket to savings.
Following are discounts found to date. This list will always be a work in progress so check back periodically. Enjoy!
- The best way to get a discount is to always have your ID on you and always ask for a discount. You’d be surprised!
- To keep up with the latest news on deals, discounts and free events in Chicago, sign up for the daily Chicago on the Cheap newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.
- You can always find a complete list of events by day on our Calendar page. If you know of a free or cheap event (or deal) you think we should add, email us at email@example.com. Thank you.
The first place to check for deals is your college website:
- Columbia College
- DePaul University and here.
- Loyola University
- National Louis University
- Northwestern University
- Robert Morris University
- Roosevelt University
- School of the Art Institute
- University of Chicago
- University of Illinois Chicago
Then if you can’t find what you’re looking for check out more discounts below. And search through our site for free and cheap things to do.
Clothing (Slim pickings still searching).
- Ann Taylor offers a 20% discount with valid college ID.
- Banana Republic offers a 15% discount in store with valid college ID.
- Eddie Bauer offers a 15% discount on all items in store with valid college ID.
- J.Crew: The store offers 15% off when you’re shopping in-store.
If you’re a local student you probably know which restaurants around your school offer discounts. Check your college website. And drop me a line so I can add them to this post firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many Happy Hour Deals include food items so even if you’re not 21 you can still order a non-alcoholic beverage and turn happy hour food deals into a dinner.
- Chicago Loop Happy Hours
- Gold Coast Chicago Happy Hours
- River North Chicago Happy Hours
- Streeterville Chicago Happy Hours
- Downtown Chicago Dive Bars: no food deals here but if you’re 21 or over enjoy for cheap booze.
- Chicago French Market Happy Hour: Their deals change monthly and always include food items.
Here are the best cheap eats by area:
- Cheap eats Gold Coast
- Cheap eats Loop
- Cheap eats N. Michigan Avenue
- Cheap eats around Millennium Park
- Cheap eats Navy Pier
- Cheap eats River North
- Cheap eats State Street
- Cheap eats Streeterville
- Cheap eats South Loop
- Cheap eats West Loop
Check the weekly sale ads for deals at Walgreens and Target as well as Mariano’s and Jewel. Trader Joes never has sales because they keep their prices low year round.
- Regal Cinemas and AMC Theatres offer student discounts at certain times and days of the week.
- Gene Siskel Film Center: $7 admission with Valid student ID required. Discounted tickets must be purchased in person at the box office.
- The New 400 (Rogers Park): Student : $7.50 (With Student ID)
Other movie discounts:
- Art Institute of Chicago: General Admission students $19/Chicago students $14/Illinois students$16. Loyola students Loyola students receive free membership including all special exhibitions, lectures and programs and access to AIC libraries.
- Chicago Architecture Foundation: discount membership $55
- Chicago History Museum: Students (13–22 with ID): $12 with audio tours
- Driehaus Museum: $10 Student with valid I.D.
- Field Museum: $15 General Admission, $20 Discovery Pass and $25 All Access Pass
- Museum of Contemporary Art: $7 Student admission
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: $7 Student admission
- Shedd Aquarium: With a valid school I.D., students receive a $3 discount on admission every day except Illinois Resident Discount Days.
- Blackhawks Student Tickets: If a game doesn’t sell out students can go to the ticket window near the start of the game and purchase discounted tickets. I can’t imagine that happens often these days.
- Chicago Cubs have student discount days.
- Amazon Prime: This 2-Day Shipping service is FREE for college students for the first six months. Just be sure to opt out before the six months is up.
- Apple: discounts on their laptops and ipads.
- Microsoft: discounts on laptops, software, and XBOX.
- Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all offer student discounts.
Theater and music
Theater companies want students to attend their productions. As their current fan base ages they want to cultivate a new generation of audience members. Take advantage now because regular priced theater tickets are expensive.
- Broadway in Chicago offers a limited number of $25 day-of-show student rush tickets for select productions that can only be purchased at the box office for cash only. Limit of 2 tickets per valid ID.
- Tix4students: subscribe for $7 annually and get access to reduced priced tickets in Chicago and New York. The only Chicago offering at the time of this article was Blue Man Group for $39.
- Auditorium Theater: $15 student rush tickets
- Blue Man Group: $35 day of show tickets
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater: $20 student tickets
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra: $15 tickets day of. One ticket per ID cash only.
- Court Theatre: $5 student tickets
- Goodman Theater: $10 student tickets
- Harris Theater: $25 tickets at 6pm day of performance
- Joffrey Ballet: $15 student rush tickets
- Lookingglass Theater: $20 rush tickets
- Lyric Opera: $20 student tickets
- Victory Garden Theater: $15 student tickets
- Amtrak: If you have the Student Advantage Discount card, you can save 10% off on tickets plus earn bonus points on travel.
- Divvy offers an annual Student membership for $55 v. $75
- Greyhound Bus Company: Student Advantage Discount Card after a one-time payment of $20 plus shipping you save 20 percent on all bus trips.
- Sta Travel: Discounts on flights, hotels and some sight seeing. Sta Travel has an office in Chicago.
- Ventra: Remember a CTA trasnfer is good for two transfers within 2 hours. If you head out for a short period check the app and try to return within 2 hours and you’ll only pay one fare.
- Bring your ID with you when you go on vacation. Many museums and other institutions offer student discounts. Long after graduation I got into museums around the world as a “student” with that beat up old ID!
- Brad’s Deals has a long list of student discounts.
- Giftcard Granny has a great list of student discounts.
- Save money with used gift cards: If you plan ahead when making purchases you can buy a discounted gift card in advance.