Credit: courtesy chicago park district

Looking to reignite your creative spark? If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at acting, learn a new instrument, or make some ceramics with a kiln, you should check out the Chicago Park District’s adult education classes. They’re truly one of the best bargains in the city, as many of the instructors are working musicians, artists, and members of Chicago’s theater community with years of training that they’re eager to pass on to new students. The pricing is appropriate for a city organization that serves all people: residents usually pay from $50-$70 for a ten-week class, and most of the time that includes all materials. And if you’re 60 years or older, the price is cut in half. 

Most spring classes start during the week of Monday, March 30 and run through the first week of June. Class registration is now open online at Note that courses have reserved spots for in-person registration at the parks themselves to entice their neighbors to come in (so if something looks closed online, it pays to go to the park in person to register because you might still be able to snag a seat). The classes listed here are designated for those 18 years and older, but the park district also offers courses that are teen-specific and classes for seniors. Go in person to your local park to find out more.

Taiko Drumming at Mozart Park, 2036 N. Avers

Learn traditional and contemporary Japanese drumming (wadaiko) in this Beginning Taiko class, Tuesdays at 7 PM starting April 7.

Poetry at Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W. Lake
The park district says poets can learn to write with “symbolism, strength, and style” at this totally free course, Thursdays at 6 PM starting April 2.

Woodcraft at Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G
Class includes instruction in using band and scroll saws plus projects like birdhouses, bookshelves, and more, tailored to students’ experience. Studio is open Tuesdays at 5 PM and Fridays from 9:30 AM-4:30 PM, starting April 7.

Ceramics at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore
Learn how to throw clay around and make beautiful objects in the process (bonus: the cultural center just installed a new kiln this year) at this beginner’s class on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM, starting April 1.

Acting at South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore
Actors can work on their craft on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM, starting April 1.

Guitar Group Lessons at Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley
Grab a friend and learn the basics of becoming a rock star in this group setting. Wednesdays at 6:15 PM starting April 1.  v