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.

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Travel through space at the Adler Planetarium.

Travel through space at the Adler Planetarium.


Adler Planetarium
(1300 S Lake Shore Dr, 312-922-7827, adlerplanetarium.org)
Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.
September 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30
October 1, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15
November 3, 4, 5

Art Institute of Chicago*
(111 S Michigan Ave, 312-443-3600, artic.edu/aic)
*Illinois residents with ID receive free admission the first and second Wednesday of every month. And Illinois residents receive a $2 discount off general admission on other days, in recognition of the tax money used to support the Art Institute.
Admission is free for Ilinois residents from January 6 to February 12.
Admission is free for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5–8pm.

Brookfield Zoo
(3300 Golf Rd; Brookfield, 708-688-8000, czs.org/czs/Brookfield/Zoo-Home)
Free admission January and February on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Active military personnel receive free admission daily. Parking $10. 

Chicago Botanic Garden
(1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe; 847-835-5440, chicagobotanic.org)
Free admission daily. Parking $25 per car, $30 per van, and $10 for senior citizens on Tuesdays. Free parking is available for active military personnel and non-active Illinois POWs. 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 fam.  

Chicago Children's Museum
(700 E Grand Ave, 312-527-1000, chicagochildrensmuseum.org)
Free Thursday evenings from 5–8pm. The first Sunday of every month is free for children 15 and younger.

Chicago History Museum
(1601 N Clark St, 312-642-4600, chicagohistory.org)
Free for children 12 and younger daily.
January 20
Every day in February except Saturdays
March 4
July 4
August 10, 19-21, 26-28
Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of September
October 1-2, 7-9

Clarke House Museum
(1827 S Indiana Ave, 312-326-1480, clarkehousemuseum.org)

Free admission every Wednesday, year round.

DuSable Museum of African American History
(740 E 56th Pl, 773-947-0600, dusablemuseum.org)
Free every Sunday, year round. Free admission for all CPS students on school days. Children younger than five are free. 

The Field Museum
(1400 S Lake Shore Dr, 312-922-9410, fieldmuseum.org)
2014 Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID. City of Chicago residents receive discounts off admission, in recognition of tax money given to the museum.
February 3-6, 11-13, 18-19, 24-27
The Crown Family PlayLab is free with Basic admission and is open Thursday-Monday, 10am-4pm.

Glessner House Museum
(1800 S Prairie Ave, 312-326-1480, glessnerhouse.org)
Free admission every Wednesday, year round.

Kohl Children's Museum*
(2100 Patriot Blvd; Glenview, 847-832-6600, kohlchildrensmuseum.org)
*Free admission Wednesday afternoons after 1pm for Glenview Residents with ID.
Free parking.

Lincoln Park Zoo
(2200 N Cannon Dr, 312-742-2000, lpzoo.org)
Free admission daily.

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
(220 Cottage Hill Ave; Elmhurst, 630-833-1616, lizzadromuseum.org)
Free admission every Friday, year round. Active military personnel receive free admission daily.

Loyola University Museum of Art
(820 N Michigan Ave, 312-915-7600, luc.edu/luma)
Free admission every Tuesday. Free everyday for active military personnel and their families, Loyola University Chicago faculty and staff, Loyola students younger than 25, members of the clergy and employees from other museums (all with valid ID).

McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum
(376 N Michigan Ave, 312-977-0227, bridgehousemuseum.org)
Free on Sundays.

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
(3001 Central St; Evanston, 847-475-1030, mitchellmuseum.org)
Free admission every first Friday of the month. Kids’ craft activities free with regular admission. Tribal members free daily.

Museum of Contemporary Art*
(220 E Chicago Ave, 312-280-2660, mcachicago.org)
*Free every Tuesday for Illinois residents with ID. Free for military personnel and children 12 and under.

Museum of Science and Industry
(5700 S Lake Shore Dr, 773-684-1414, msichicago.org)
2014 Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.
January 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-31
February 4, 11, 18, 25
March 4, 5, 10
May 5
June 1-6
September 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, 29
October 6, 7
November 3
December 8

National Museum of Mexican Art
(1852 W 19th St, 312-738-1503, nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org)
Free admission daily.

The Oriental Institute Museum
(1155 E 58th St, 773-702-9520, oi.uchicago.edu/museum)
Free admission daily with a suggested donation of $10 adult and $5 child.

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
(2430 N Cannon Dr, 773-755-5100, naturemuseum.org)
Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents with ID. Free for children 3 and younger.

Shedd Aquarium*
(1200 S Lake Shore Dr, 312-939-2438, sheddaquarium.org)
*2014 Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID.
February 3-4, 10-11, 16-18, 24-25
Free admission for the first weekend of the month for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch card holders. Free online passes for educators from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Discounts to active-duty military personnel and Chicago police officers and fire fighters. 

Smart Museum of Art - The University of Chicago
(5550 S Greenwood Ave, 773-702-0200, smartmuseum.uchicago.edu)
Free admission daily.

Swedish American Museum Center
(5211 N Clark St, 773-728-8111, swedishamericanmuseum.org)
Free admission on the second Tuesday of each month.


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