Chicago Free Museum Days In 2019

In Chicago, you really have no excuse for not embracing everything the city has to offer. 

No budget? No fear. Free museum days are here. Mark these days on your calendar for your chance to enjoy Chicago's museums and galleries care and cost-free. 

Photo via Facebook/Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium

1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. - South Loop/Museum Campus

General admission is free to Illinois residents on the following dates in 2019:

January 21-22, 29-31

February 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, 26-28

April 2-4, 9-11

June 3-5, 10-13

September 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27

October 7-9, 14-16

November 8, 11

December 2-3, 7, 12-13

Art Institute Of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Ave. - Loop

Chicago residents under the age of 18 can get into this museum for free any time. Children age 14 years and younger are always free.

Illinois residents of any age can also enjoy free admission year-round on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m.


Brookfield Zoo

8400 W. 31st St. - Brookfield, IL

Free admission offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from January 1 through February 28.


Chicago Botanic Garden

1000 Lake Cook Rd. - Glencoe, IL

Admission is always free! Check the garden's website for seasonal hours.

Chicago Children's Museum

700 E. Grand Ave. - Downtown/Navy Pier

Admission is free for kids 15 and under all day on the first Sunday of every month.

Chicago History Museum

1601 N. Clark St. - Lincoln Park

Children under 12 years old and Illinois residents under 18 years old are always free. Illinois residents of all ages are offered free admission every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. (excluding January 1, January 8, December 24 and December 31).

DePaul Art Museum

935 W. Fullerton Ave. - Lincoln Park

Admission is always free at the university's on-campus art museum!

DuSable Museum of African American History

740 E. 56th Pl. - Washington Park

Free admission every Tuesday, all year long. Children under 5 always get in free.


The Field Museum

1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. - South Loop/Museum Campus

Free days in 2019 are 

- January 21

- April 5 -7 

- May 2 

- June 26 -28

- August 14, 21, 28

- September 4, 11, 18, 25

- October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

- November 6, 13

The museum is also admission free for the entire month of February. 

Photo: Facebook/Heritage Museum of Asian Art

Heritage Museum of Asian Art

218 W. 26th St. - Chinatown

Heritage Museum of Asian Art is free and open late, until 8 p.m., the first

Friday of every month. Active military and children under 13 are always


International Museum of Surgical Science

1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. - Lincoln Park

Admission is waived on Tuesdays for Illinois residents, with proof of residency. However, donations are still accepted.

Leather Archives & Museum

6418 N. Greenview Ave. - Rogers Park

Admission is free every Thursday for those who are 18+. 

Lincoln Park Zoo

2001 N. Clark St. - Lincoln Park

Offers free admission 365 days a year. 

Loyola University Museum of Art

820 Michigan Ave. - Streeterville

Free to the public every Tuesday. 

Museum of Contemporary Art

220 E. Chicago Ave. - Streeterville

Illinois residents can skip the admission fees every Tuesday, year round.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

600 S. Michigan Ave. - Loop

Free daily, but is closed when Columbia College is closed. 


Museum of Science and Industry

5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. - Hyde Park

MSI's 2019 free days (for Illinois residents) are as follows:

January 7-10, 14-17, 21-24 and 28-31

February 4–7, 11–14, 19–21, 25–28

National Museum of Mexican Art

1852 W. 19th St. - Pilsen

Free admission daily, all year long. 

National Veterans Art Museum

4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. - Portage Park

Free daily. 

The Oriental Institute Museum

1155 E. 58th St. - Hyde Park

Admission is free but there is a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 N. Cannon Dr. - Lincoln Park

Thursdays are free for Illinois residents but they are encouraged to make a donation upon entry.


Shedd Aquarium

1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. - South Loop/Museum Campus

Free admission for Illinois residents offered on the following days:

January 17-21

February 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-28

June 17, 18, 24 and 25

August 26-27

September 3, 4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30

October 1, 2

December 4

Swedish American Museum

5211 N. Clark St. - Andersonville

Free admission offered on the second Tuesday of every month.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

3015 W. Division St. - Humboldt Park 

Admission and parking are free year-round at this Humbolt Park cultural hub. 

Photo via Facebook/Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center

78 E. Washington St. - Loop

Admission is always free here. Plus, you can enjoy free building tours

Photo via Facebook/American Toby Jug Museum

American Toby Jug Museum 

910 Chicago Ave. - Evanston

Admission is free at this quirky museum! Free lectures from museum founder Steve Mullins and other experts are also offered. Call for more information. 

Clarke House Museum

1827 S. Indiana Ave. - South Loop

Admission is always free at this museum which gives a glimpse into pre-Civil War life in Chicago. 

Photo via Facebook/Glessner House Museum

Glessner House Museum 

1800 S. Prairie Ave. - South Loop

Admission is free to all on Wednesdays at this architectural and historic local highlight. There is never a charge for children under 5 years old. 

Mary & Leigh Block Museum Of Art

40 Arts Circle Dr. - Evanston

Northwestern University's art museum offers free admission and parking daily. 

Photo courtesy of the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Illinois Holocaust Museum

9603 Woods Dr. - Skokie, IL 

For the remainder of 2019, The Illinois Holocaust Museum will give visitors free entry on the 10th of every month in celebration of the Museum's 10th anniversary! 

Photo via Facebook/Design Museum of Chicago

Design Museum Of Chicago

108 N. State St. - The Loop

This museum and gallery inside Block 37 is always free and open to the public. 

Pritzker Military Museum & Library 

104 S. Michigan Ave. - The Loop

Museum admission is always free for anyone with an active military ID, the Chicago police and fire departments and children under 18. General free admission days for 2019 are as follow:

  • April 6 – Centennial of WWI
  • May 9 – Birthday of the Illinois National Guard
  • May 25 – Saturday before Memorial Day (in conjunction with Chicago’s observance of Memorial day)
  • May 27 - Memorial Day
  • June 14 – Birthday of the United States Army
  • July 4 — Independence Day
  • August 4 – Birthday of the United States Coast Guard
  • September 11- Anniversary of 9/11
  • September 18 – Birthday of the United States Air Force
  • October 13 – Birthday of the United States Navy
  • November 10 – Birthday of the United States Marine Corps
  • November 11 – Veteran’s Day
  • December 7 – Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor
  • December 13 – Birthday of the National Guard

Photo via Facebook/Busy Beaver Button Co. 

Busy Beaver Button Museum

3407 W. Armitage Ave. - Logan Square

Busy Beaver Button Company's adjacent museum is free and open to the public. They also accept button donations!