Chicago Free Museum Days In 2018

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. 

Adler Planetarium 

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

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

Art Institute Of Chicago

111 S. Michigan Ave. - Loop

As of January 2, 2017, Chicago teens under the age of 18 can will not be charged admission to the museum. 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 

Free family nights are offered Thursday evenings from 5-8 p.m. The first Sunday of each month is also free (all day) for kids 15 and under.

Chicago History Museum

1601 N. Clark St. - Lincoln Park

This Lincoln Park museum extends free admission to Illinois residents every Tuesday from 12:30 to 9 p.m. (excluding January 2, January 9, December 18th & December 25th) and on Commemorative Days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4, and July 4. Children under 12 years old are always free.

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 2018 are January 3, 4, 15, 27 and June 20-22. The museum is also admission free for the entire month of February. 

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

Enjoy free admission every Tuesday if you're an Illinois resident.

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 2018 free days (for Illinois residents) are as follows:

January 8–11, 15–18, 22–25, 29–31 

February 1, 5–8, 12–15, 20–22, 26–27 

March 14 

June 4–7, 11–12 

September 4–6, 10–13, 17–20, 24–27 

November 12

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

Illinois residents will be extended free admission on the following days in 2017:

January 15, 18, 19, 22-26 

February 2, 14 

June 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19 

September 4-30 

October 3, 10

If you feel like staying up, the Shedd will be having extended hours (open until 9 pm);

January 24

September 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27

October 3, 10 

Hours will be extended to 10 pm on; 

September 5, 12, 19, 26

Swedish American Museum

5211 N. Clark St. - Andersonville

Free admission offered on the second Tuesday of every month.