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!
This post needed updating and then I discover that now through July 17 Amazon is offering a free 6 month Prime Student membership. You must have a .edu email address. Sign up here. (My affiliate link. Thank you!) Just put it in your calendar to cancel because you will be automatically upgraded to a paid membership plan at the end of the trial period. Prime Student is $59 per year plus tax. End Your Amazon Prime Membership.
- 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!
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- 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:
- Northwestern University
- Robert Morris University Link gone from website.
- Roosevelt University
- School of the Art Institute
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.
- 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.
- $5 Tuesdays AMC Theatres
- $5 Tuesdays Showplace Icon Theaters
- 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. Must be purchased in person at the box office.
- The New 400 (Rogers Park): Student : $7.50 (With Student ID)
- American Writers Museum: Discount student admission with a valid school I.D.
- Art Institute of Chicago: General Admission students, Chicago and Illinois student discounts.
- Chicago Architecture Foundation: 15% discount on membership
- Chicago History Museum: Discount student admission with a valid school I.D. Chicago and IL residents get additional discount.
- Driehaus Museum: Discount student admission with a valid school I.D.
- Field Museum: Discount General Admission, Discovery Pass and All Access Pass with a valid school I.D.
- Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Discount student admission with a valid school I.D.
- Shedd Aquarium: Discount student admission with a valid school I.D.
- All free Chicago Museum Days for Chicago and Illinois residents.
- 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 Student Prime: $59 per year plus tax.
- 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. Limit of 2 tickets per valid ID.
- Auditorium Theater: $15 student rush 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
- 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.
- Sur la Table 10% discount on cooking classes if you register in-store at the time of the class.