Free museum days at the best Chicago museums

It's no secret that family outings can come with a hefty price tag. Luckily there are plenty of free museum days at Chicago institutions throughout the year

Travel through space at the Adler Planetarium.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to spend a fortune in order to visit some of Chicago's best museums and cultural institutions. If you're willing to plan ahead, you can take in masterpieces at the Art Institute or gaze at tropical fish while strolling through Shedd Aquarium without spending a dime. You'll need to be an Illinois resident to take advantage of many of these offers, but that's one of the perks of living in Chicago.

Museums with free admission days

Adler Planetarium

Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.
March 2, 3, 4.
June 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12.

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South Loop

Art Institute of Chicago

Illinois residents with ID receive discounted general admission each day, in recognition of the tax money used to support the Art Institute.
Admission is free for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5–8pm.

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Loop

Brookfield Zoo

Free admission in January and February on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Active military personnel receive free admission daily.

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Brookfield

Chicago Botanic Garden

Free admission daily. Parking is $25 per car and $30 per van. The Metra Union Pacific North line stops just outside the gates, which means you can avoid parking if you're up for a train ride with the family.

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Glencoe

Chicago History Museum

Critics' pick

Free for children 12 and younger daily.
Illinois residents can enjoy free admission to the museum during Illinois Resident Discount Days.
March 4.
July 4.
August 18–20, 24–27, 31.
September 1–3.

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Lincoln Park

The Field Museum

Critics' pick

Active Military Personnel and Illinois teachers receive complimentaty admission.
Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.

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South Loop

Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA)

Free admission every Tuesday.
Free everyday for active military personnel and their families, children 17 and under, Loyola University Chicago faculty and staff, Loyola students, members of the clergy and employees from other museums (all with valid ID).

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Chicago

Museum of Science and Industry

Critics' pick

Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.
March 2–6.
April 22.
May 21.
June 1–5, 8.
September 8–11, 14–18, 21–25, 28–30.
October 5, 6.

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Hyde Park

Shedd Aquarium

Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.
June 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16.
September 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29.
October 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27.
November 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24.

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South Loop

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