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FREE MUSEUM DAYS IN CHICAGO 2018

Dinosaurs, moon rocks, U-boats, Van Goghs—Chicago's many award-winning museums have incredible collections that inform as much as they inspire.

Fortunately, free museum days mean you can soak up all that history and culture without spending a dime. (Note: 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.) 

Looking for other ways to save? Check out free Chicago museums and attractions. Or consider a Chicago CityPASS or Go Chicago Card, which package several top museums and sightseeing attractions into pre-paid discount admission booklets.

YOUR FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION STARTS HERE

adler

ADLER PLANETARIUM

Upcoming Illinois resident free days:

January 3, 4, 7-12, and 15-19
February 2, 5-9, and 19-22
June 21
August 27-31
September 9-16
October 8, 21, 24, 25
November 11, 12, 14, 15
December 1, 3-7, and 10

Art Institute during Fall

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

Museum admission is free for Chicago teens under the age of 18. 

Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Thursday evening from 5-8pm.

Additionally, children under age 14 are always free and the public can enjoy the following museum areas free of charge:

  • The Ryan Education Center in the Modern Wing, as well as all programs for families and children within the center
  • 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

MSI Exterior

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY

Upcoming Illinois resident free days:

January 8–11, 15–18, 22–25, and 29–31
February 1, 5–8, 12–15, 20–22, and 26–27
March 14
June 4–7 and 11–12
September 4–6, 10–13, 17–20 and 24–27
November 12

The Field Museum Chicago

THE FIELD MUSEUM

Upcoming Illinois resident free days:

January 3, 4, 15, 27, and 28
February 1-28
June 20-22

Shedd Aquarium

SHEDD AQUARIUM

Upcoming Illinois resident free days:

January 15, 18, 19, 22-26
February 2, 14
June 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19
September 4-30
October 3, 10

Chicago History Museum

CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM

Every Tuesday from 12:30 to 9 p.m. admission is free except on January 2, January 9, December 18 and December 25. Other free days include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4 and July 4. 

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. Members of the US Armed Services, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department and Illinois teachers, also are admitted for free.

Navy Pier Entrance in the Fall

CHICAGO CHILDRENS MUSEUM AT NAVY PIER

Free admission for visitors age 15 and under on Free First Sundays, offered the first Sunday of each month. Additionally, free admission for all visitors on Target Free Family Night, offered Thursday evenings 5-8pm.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Illinois residents admitted for free on Tuesdays year round.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM 

Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents year round. Illinois teachers are admitted for free with guests.

Brookfield Zoo

BROOKFIELD ZOO

Through February 28, 2018, admission is free on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

DuSable Museum

DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY

Free admission every Tuesday. Military personnel and children under 5 years also receive free admission.

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART

Admission is free for Illinois residents every Tuesday, year round.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

MCCORMICK BRIDGEHOUSE & CHICAGO RIVER MUSEUM 

Free admission every Sunday while the museum is open from May to October. Children under 5 years are admitted for free.

Swedish American Museum

SWEDISH AMERICAN MUSEUM

Free admission every second Tuesday of the month year round. Children aged 1 year or younger are admitted free.

Clarke House Museum

CLARKE HOUSE MUSEUM

Admission is always free. 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 16 or more).

Glessner House

GLESSNER HOUSE MUSEUM

Admission is free on Wednesdays, year round.

CHARNLEY-PERSKY HOUSE

Tours are free on Wednesdays, through March (tour limited to 15 individuals).

National Veterans Art Museum

National Veterans Art Museum

Free admission year round for everyone.

National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of Mexican Art

Free admission everyday for anyone.

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center 

Free entrance always, as well as free on-the-spot tours.

 

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.

Related Listings

Adler Planetarium
1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-7827

DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Pl.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 947-0600

Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 728-8111

The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-9410

Brookfield Zoo/Chicago Zoological Society
31st St. and First Ave.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Dr.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 755-5100

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FREE THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO

ALWAYS FREE CHICAGO ATTRACTIONS

NEW MUSEUM EXHIBITS FOR 2016

Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438

Clarke House Museum
1827 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-1480

Glessner House Museum
1800 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-1480

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