Experience Chicago’s award-winning museums, without spending a dime. Check out our ever-growing list of free museum days for 2019, plus some Chicago museums Free museum days mean you can soak up all that history and culture without spending a dime.
For some of the museums listed here, you must be an Illinois resident and show proof of residency to take advantage of free admission days.
Here’s a list of free Chicago museum days for 2019 and 2020. Check back soon, new dates are added throughout the year.
Illinois resident free days for the Adler Planetarium:
Jan. 7 – 9, 20 – 22
Feb. 4 – 6, 11 – 13, 17 – 20
March 9 – 12
April 20 – 23
May 10 – 16
June 2, 9, 16
Aug. 22 – 23, 31
Sept. 1 – 4
Oct. 12 – 15
Nov. 11, 17 – 19
Dec. 4 – 6
Art Institute of Chicago
Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Wednesday evening from 5 – 8 p.m. And 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 Science and Industry
Illinois resident free days for Museum of Science and Industry:
Jan. 6 – 9, 13 – 16, 20 – 23, 27 – 30
Feb. 3 – 6, 10 – 13, 18 – 20, 24 – 27
Illinois resident free days for the Field Museum:
Jan. 20, 22, 29
Feb. 1 – 29
Illinois resident free days for Shedd Aquarium:
Jan. 16 – 20
Feb. 3 – 7, 10 – 14, 17 – 21, 24 – 28
June 15, 16, 22, 23
Chicago History Museum
Illinois resident free days for Chicago History Museum:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20, 2020)
Presidents’ Day (Feb. 17, 2020)
March 4, 2020
July 4, 2020
The museum is also free for Illinois residents starting at 2 p.m. every Tuesday, excluding May 12 and Tuesdays in July and August.
Members of the U.S. Armed Services, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department, and Illinois teachers are admitted for free. Also, if you’re a member of the museum, or of DuSable Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, or the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, admission is free.
Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier
Free admission for visitors age 15 and under is offered the first Sunday of each month. Children under the age of one and veterans/military families receive free admission to the Chicago Children’s Museum every day.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Illinois residents receive free admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesdays year-round.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents year-round at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Illinois teachers are admitted for free. Veterans, retired service members, active-duty service members with ID and their families can enjoy free admission year-round.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Free admission year-round for everyone at the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Free admission at the Brookfield Zoo for all active, reservist, and retired members of the military with ID.
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
Free admission days at the Illinois Holocaust Museum: Aug. 10, Sept. 10, Oct. 10, Nov. 10, Dec. 10, 2019
DuSable Museum of African American History
Free admission every Tuesday at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Military personnel and children under 5 years also receive free admission.
Loyola University Museum of Art
Admission is free year-round at the Loyola University Museum of Art.
McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
Free admission every Sunday while the Bridgehouse Museum is open from May to October. Children under 5 years are admitted for free.
Swedish American Museum
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
Admission is always free at the Clarke House Museum. One-hour guided tours are free on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, year-round at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (not applicable to groups of 10 or more).
Glessner House Museum
Admission and tours are free for Illinois residents on Wednesdays year-round at the Glessner House Museum.
Tours are free on Wednesdays year-round (no reservations necessary, limited to 15 individuals) at the Charnley-Persky House.
National Veterans Art Museum
Free admission year-round for everyone at the National Veterans Art Museum.
National Museum of Mexican Art
Free admission year-round for everyone at the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center offers free entrance always, as well as free on-the-spot tours.
Museum of Contemporary Photography
Free admission year-round for everyone at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
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.