Experience Chicago’s award-winning museums, without spending a dime. Check out our ever-growing list of free museum days in 2020, plus some Chicago museums that are free all year long.

Looking for other ways to save? Check out the Chicago CityPASS or Go Chicago Card, which offers admission to several Chicago museums and attractions for one discounted price.

Here’s a list of free Chicago museum days for 2020. Keep in mind that many museums are currently operating with shortened hours and new ticketing procedures; check our list of open museums in Chicago or contact the museum to learn more.

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute in fall

The Art Institute of Chicago is offering free admission to Illinois residents:

  • July 30 – Aug. 3, 2020

Reserve your free ticket in advance. The museum admission is always free for Chicago teens under the age of 18, and all children under age 14. The public can enjoy the following public museum areas free of charge:

  • The Ryan Education Center in the Modern Wing
  • The North and South Gardens (accessible from Michigan Avenue)
  • The Nichols Bridgeway connecting the museum to Millennium Park
  • The Bluhm Family Terrace on the 3rd floor of the west pavilion of the Modern Wing

Museum of Contemporary Art

Duro Olowu exhibit at Museum of Contemporary Art
Installation view, Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago, MCA Chicago Feb 29-May 10, 2020 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art will be free for all visitors throughout:

  • July and August 2020
  • Illinois residents receive free admission every Tuesday

Museum of Science and Industry

MSI Storm exhibit
J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

The Museum of Science and Industry will offer free admission:

  • Aug. 1 – 14, 2020
  • Aug. 26, 2020

You must reserve a free timed ticket in advance of your visit.

Chicago History Museum

Clayton Hauck

The Chicago History Museum is offering free admission for all visitors throughout:

  • July 2020

Children under 12 are always free.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Free admission year-round for everyone at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Brookfield Zoo

Free admission at the Brookfield Zoo for all active, reservist, and retired members of the military with ID.

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is offering free admission every Wednesday all year long. Reserve your free tickets in advance.

Visitors with an active Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and a photo ID on these dates:

  • Aug. 1 & 2, 2020
  • Sept. 5 & 6, 2020
  • Oct. 3 & 4, 2020
  • Nov. 7 & 8, 2020
  • Dec. 5 & 6, 2020

Field Museum

The Field Museum Exterior

There are no free admission days for the general public at the Field Museum for the remainder of 2020.

Illinois teachers (pre-K through 12th grade) and active military personnel receive free basic admission year-round.

Shedd Aquarium

Dive deep at the Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium

Due to limited capacity, Illinois resident free days at the Shedd Aquarium have been postponed.

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium exterior

The Adler Planetarium is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier

Navy Pier Entrance in the Fall

The Chicago Children’s Museum is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Clayton Hauck

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

DuSable Museum of African American History

DuSable Museum

The DuSable Museum of African American History is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

Loyola University Museum of Art

While the museum remains temporarily closed, admission is free year-round at the Loyola University Museum of Art.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The Bridgehouse Museum is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

Swedish American Museum

Swedish American Museum Exterior

Free admission every second Tuesday of the month year-round at the Swedish American Museum. Children aged 1 year or younger are admitted free.

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum Exterior

While the museum remains temporarily closed, admission is free year-round at the Clarke House Museum.

Glessner House

Glessner House Exterior

There are currently no upcoming free admission days at Glessner House.

Charnley-Persky House

The Charnley-Persky House is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

Wrightwood 659

Wrightwood 659 is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

National Veterans Art Museum

The National Veterans Art Museum is temporarily closed, please check back for future free museum days.

National Museum of Mexican Art

While the museum remains temporarily closed, admission is free year-round at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center Exterior

While the center remains temporarily closed, admission is free year-round at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Admission is free year-round at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. All visitors must reserve a free timed ticket.


Dates are subject to change and may not include fees to view special exhibits. Visit individual museum websites for admission details, as well as policies for specific community members such as military personnel and local school groups.