Free Museum Days In Chicago

Free Museum Days In Chicago

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Free Museum Days In Chicago

Hey there, Chicagoans and visitors alike!
Want to explore the rich cultural history of this amazing city without breaking the bank? Well, you’re in luck because Chicago offers a plethora of free museum days that will satisfy your curiosity and keep your wallet happy.
From the Adler Planetarium to the Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry, there are countless opportunities for you to immerse yourself in art, science, history, and more – all without spending a dime.
And let’s not forget about the Shedd Aquarium and the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, which also offer free admission on select dates.
So grab your friends or family and get ready for a day filled with discovery and wonder as you explore these world-class museums without spending a penny.

Key Takeaways

  • Many museums in Chicago offer free admission on select days for Illinois residents.
  • Some museums also offer discounted tickets or free admission for specific groups such as teachers, military personnel, and first responders.
  • Online reservations or advance ticket purchases may be required for free or discounted admission.
  • Proof of residency or identification may be required to access the free or discounted rates.

Field Museum

1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
+1 312-922-9410
Explore the Field Museum’s captivating exhibits and awe-inspiring artifacts while enjoying discounted admission on select dates.
Immerse yourself in the museum’s vast collection of exhibits and collections, which span topics ranging from ancient civilizations to natural history.
Marvel at the towering dinosaur skeletons, discover ancient Egyptian artifacts, and learn about cultures from around the world.
The Field Museum also offers educational programs for all ages, providing interactive experiences that delve deeper into scientific discoveries and cultural understanding.
Additionally, the museum is committed to conservation efforts, actively working to preserve biodiversity and protect our planet.
Don’t miss out on special events held throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and family-friendly activities.
Consider becoming a member of the Field Museum to enjoy exclusive benefits such as free admission and discounts at the museum store and café.
Illinois residents can enjoy free basic admission on
Aug 29
Sep 05, 09, 12, 19, 26
Oct 03, 09, 10, 17, 24, 31
Nov 07, 10, 14, 28
Dec 05, 12 2023
Check their website for more information

Art Institute of Chicago

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
+1 312-443-3600
When you step into the Art Institute of Chicago, you’ll be transported to a world of artistic wonder and cultural exploration. The museum is renowned for its vast collection of art exhibits, including famous paintings and a remarkable sculpture collection.
You’ll have the opportunity to admire works by renowned artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. The museum’s extensive collection of Impressionist art is particularly noteworthy.
In addition to viewing these masterpieces, the Art Institute also offers art classes for those interested in honing their own artistic skills. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious about the world of art, the Art Institute of Chicago provides a captivating experience that will leave you inspired and enriched.
Admission is free for Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. May 18–August 31, 2023.
Check their website for more information

Adler Planetarium

1300 S DuSable Lk Shr Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
+1 312-922-7827
If you’re looking to explore the wonders of outer space, head over to Adler Planetarium. They offer discounted tickets and free museum days on Wednesday evenings for Illinois residents. At Adler Planetarium, you’ll embark on a journey of space exploration through their captivating planetarium shows. These shows offer a unique opportunity to learn about our universe and its celestial bodies.
In addition to the planetarium shows, Adler Planetarium also offers astronomy education programs that cater to both children and adults. You can even indulge in telescope viewing sessions to get an up-close look at the stars and planets.
And don’t forget to explore their science exhibitions that delve into various aspects of astronomy and space exploration. So why wait? Plan your visit to Adler Planetarium and let your curiosity soar among the stars.
Illinois residents can enjoy free general admission every Wednesday evening from 4 – 10 p.m.
Check their website for more information

Shedd Aquarium

1200 S DuSable Lk Shr Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
+1 312-939-2438
Step into a world of aquatic wonders at the Shedd Aquarium. Marvel at stunning marine life and immerse yourself in the beauty of the underwater realm.
The Shedd Aquarium offers upcoming dates for free access to its permanent exhibits for Illinois residents. However, reservations are required in advance, and there are no onsite tickets available. When attending on these free days, make sure to bring proof of residency to verify eligibility.
Additionally, discounted rates are offered for Illinois residents on other days throughout the year. It’s important to note that there is a $3-per-order transaction fee when obtaining Illinois Free Day tickets online.
So, if you’re looking to explore the fascinating world beneath the waves, mark your calendar for the upcoming free museum days at the Shedd Aquarium. Secure your reservation for an unforgettable experience.
Illinois residents can enjoy free general admission on certain days.
June 13, 15, 20, 22, 27
Check their website for specific dates

Museum of Science and Industry

5700 S DuSable Lk Shr Dr, Chicago, IL 60637
+1 773-684-1414
As you step into the Museum of Science and Industry, prepare to be amazed by the captivating world of scientific wonders that await you. This renowned museum in Chicago offers a wide range of exhibits and collections that showcase the latest advancements in science and technology. From interactive displays to educational programs, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Here is a table highlighting some upcoming events at the Museum of Science and Industry:

Upcoming EventsDate
Giant Dome Theater ShowsMarch 15th-20th
Robot RevolutionApril 1st-May 31st
Science WorksOngoing

In addition to these exciting events, the museum also features various permanent exhibits such as “The Great Train Story” and “Numbers in Nature: A Mirror Maze.” These exhibits provide visitors with a hands-on experience that explores different scientific concepts.
The museum’s facilities are designed to enhance your visit with amenities like cafes, gift shops, and interactive play areas for children. So come explore the Museum of Science and Industry and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of science!
Illinois residents can enjoy free general admission on certain days.
August 28–29
September 5–6, 10–12, 15, 17–20, 26
October 4–5, 9
November 1, 8
Check their website for more information

Chicago History Museum

1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
+1 312-642-4600
Immerse yourself in the vibrant history of the Windy City at the Chicago History Museum, where captivating exhibits and fascinating stories await. The museum offers a variety of Chicago history exhibits that showcase the city’s rich past. From exploring the Great Chicago Fire to learning about iconic figures like Abraham Lincoln and Al Capone, there is something for everyone to discover.
The museum houses an impressive collection of historical artifacts, including photographs, documents, and objects that provide insight into significant moments in Chicago’s history. Visitors can also take part in engaging Chicago history tours led by knowledgeable guides who bring the city’s stories to life.
For those interested in delving deeper into Chicago’s past, the museum has an extensive selection of Chicago history books available for purchase. These books offer a comprehensive look at famous events in Chicago’s history and provide a deeper understanding of the city’s cultural heritage.
Overall, a visit to the Chicago History Museum is a must for anyone wanting to explore and learn about this dynamic city’s fascinating past.
Admission is free for Illinois residents on
August 15–17
September 4, 13, 27
Check their website for specific dates

DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

740 E 56th Pl, Chicago, IL 60637
+1 773-947-0600
Discover the rich cultural heritage and impactful contributions of African Americans at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. The museum boasts a diverse range of exhibits and collections that highlight the history, art, and achievements of African Americans throughout the centuries. From interactive displays on prominent figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to captivating exhibits showcasing the struggles and triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement, visitors can immerse themselves in an educational journey through black history.
In addition to its exhibits, the DuSable Black History Museum offers a variety of educational programs for all ages. These programs aim to foster a deeper understanding of African American culture and history through workshops, lectures, and performances.
The museum also prioritizes community outreach initiatives by collaborating with local schools and organizations to promote awareness and appreciation for black history within Chicago’s diverse communities.
With its historical significance as one of the first institutions dedicated to preserving black history in America, the DuSable Black History Museum continues to make strides towards future plans and developments. Through ongoing research, acquisitions, and partnerships with other institutions, it strives to provide an even more comprehensive representation of African American heritage for generations to come.
Admission is free for everyone on Wednesday
Check their website for specific dates

Swedish American Museum

5211 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
+1 773-728-8111
Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Andersonville, the Swedish American Museum offers a unique cultural experience that celebrates the rich heritage and contributions of Swedish immigrants to America.
The museum provides visitors with an opportunity to delve into Swedish-American culture and learn about the history of Swedish immigration to the United States.
Through its exhibits, events, and educational programs, the Swedish American Museum showcases various aspects of Swedish heritage, including art, music, language, traditions, and customs.
Visitors can explore displays highlighting notable achievements and influential figures within the Swedish-American community.
The museum also hosts special events throughout the year that showcase Swedish-American history through performances, workshops, and festivals.
Whether you have a personal connection to Sweden or simply want to broaden your knowledge of different cultures, a visit to the Swedish American Museum is sure to be both educational and enjoyable.
Admission is free for everyone on the second Tuesday of every month and on Swedish holidays
Check their website for specific dates

Museum of Contemporary Art

220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
+1 312-280-2660
The Museum of Contemporary Art offers a vibrant and inclusive space for visitors to explore and engage with modern art and creative expression. Here are some highlights of what you can expect when visiting:

  • Contemporary art exhibitions: The museum showcases a diverse range of contemporary artwork, featuring both established and emerging artists. From paintings to sculptures, installations to multimedia presentations, there is something to inspire everyone.
  • Educational programs for teachers: The museum provides professional development opportunities for teachers, including workshops, lectures, and resources that integrate contemporary art into the classroom. These programs aim to foster creativity and critical thinking skills among students.
  • Accessibility initiatives: The MCA is committed to making art accessible to all. They offer audio guides, captioned videos, tactile tours, and other accommodations for visitors with disabilities. Additionally, they have designated parking spaces and assistive listening devices available.
  • Community outreach events: The museum hosts a variety of community events throughout the year, such as artist talks, panel discussions, performances, and film screenings. These events provide opportunities for dialogue and engagement between artists and the public.
  • Collaborations with local artists: The MCA actively collaborates with local artists on exhibitions and projects. This fosters connections between the museum and the vibrant Chicago arts community while supporting local talent.

Overall, the Museum of Contemporary Art provides an enriching experience that celebrates artistic innovation while promoting inclusivity and engagement within the community.
Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays
Check their website for specific dates

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N Cannon Dr, Chicago, IL 60614
+1 773-755-5100
Now let’s move on to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where you can immerse yourself in a world of wildlife exhibits, conservation efforts, nature trails, educational programs, and native plant gardens.
At the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, you’ll discover a diverse range of exhibits showcasing the beauty and importance of our natural world. From interactive displays on local ecosystems to stunning collections of butterflies and birds, there is something for everyone to explore and learn from.
But it doesn’t stop at just exhibitions. The museum actively engages in conservation efforts through research and community initiatives. Through their educational programs, they aim to inspire visitors of all ages to appreciate and protect our environment.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure, the museum also offers nature trails that allow you to explore the surrounding area and observe native plants and animals in their natural habitats.
So whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply curious about the wonders of our planet, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a must-visit destination that offers an immersive experience into the fascinating world of nature.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
1.Wildlife exhibits
2.Conservation efforts
3.Nature trails
4.Educational programs
5.Native plant gardens

Admission is free for Illinois residents on Thursdays
Check their website for specific dates

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

9603 Woods Dr, Skokie, IL 60077
+1 847-967-4800
Immerse yourself in the powerful stories and educational exhibits at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center. History comes alive through interactive displays and thought-provoking narratives. The museum is dedicated to Holocaust education and serves as a memorial to the millions of lives lost during this tragic event. It provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the Holocaust’s historical significance and its relevance in today’s world.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts commemoration events throughout the year. These events honor survivors and victims of genocide, raising awareness about genocides that have occurred globally. They aim to foster empathy, understanding, and action.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center offers various educational programs for students and educators. Through workshops, seminars, and resources, it equips individuals with the knowledge needed to combat hatred and prejudice.
By visiting this museum, you will gain valuable insights into one of history’s darkest chapters. You will also actively participate in genocide awareness efforts.
Admission is free for everyone on Thursdays
Check their website for specific dates

Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier

700 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
+1 312-527-1000
Discover the engaging and interactive exhibits at Navy Pier’s Chicago Children’s Museum, where young minds can explore, create, and learn through hands-on experiences. The museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits that engage children in imaginative play, problem-solving, and exploration. From the Dinosaur Expedition exhibit where kids can uncover fossils to the Tinkering Lab where they can experiment with tools and materials, there is something for every curious mind.
The museum also offers educational programs and hands-on activities throughout the year, including art workshops, science experiments, and storytelling sessions. It’s a family-friendly attraction that provides a safe and stimulating environment for children of all ages. Located at Navy Pier, it is easily accessible by public transportation or car. So bring your little ones to this exciting destination and watch as their creativity and curiosity soar.

ExcitementWow! This sounds like a fun place for my kids to explore and learn!
CuriosityI wonder what kind of interactive exhibits they have at this museum?
AmazementIt’s great that they offer educational programs for children as well!
ConvenienceI’m glad it’s located at Navy Pier – it’ll be easy to get there with my family!

Admission is free for everyone on the first Sunday of every month
Check their website for specific dates

Free museums in Chicago

Explore the rich cultural offerings of Chicago by taking advantage of complimentary admission opportunities at some of the city’s most renowned institutions.
When visiting free museums in Chicago, you can enjoy a range of benefits. Not only do these museums offer access to fascinating exhibits and collections, but they also contribute to the accessibility of art and history by eliminating financial barriers.
To make the most out of your experience, consider these tips:

  • Plan your visit on free museum days or discounted dates.
  • Arrive early to beat the crowds.
  • Take advantage of guided tours or audio guides for a deeper understanding.

As you explore Chicago’s free museums, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s cultural heritage and discover hidden gems that may surprise you. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, there is something for everyone to enjoy without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any age restrictions for free museum days in Chicago?

Age restrictions vary depending on the museum. While some museums offer free admission for all ages, others may have age restrictions for certain exhibits or activities. However, most museums in Chicago are family-friendly and provide educational benefits with local discounts available.

Can I purchase tickets for free museum days in advance?

Yes, you can purchase tickets in advance for free museum days in Chicago. Online reservations are available, allowing you to secure your spot early. However, there may be ticket limits, so make sure to check the availability.

Are there any additional fees or charges for attending free museum days?

There are no additional fees or charges for attending free museum days. However, parking options may have separate fees. The museums have different capacities and offer accessibility accommodations, but photography policies vary.

Do I need to provide proof of residency to access free or discounted admission?

Proof of residency is required for discounted or free admission at most Chicago museums. However, there are exceptions for certain groups such as active-duty military personnel, veterans, and Illinois teachers. Alternatives to residency proof may include valid ID or membership cards. Residency verification methods vary by museum.

Can I bring my own food or drinks to the museums on free days?

Sure, you can bring your own food and drinks to the museums on free days! However, it’s important to note that there are museum policies regarding picnic options and eating restrictions. Make sure to check the specific food and beverage regulations before your visit.

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