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Museum of Science and Industry
Photograph: Heidi Peters

Free museum days at the best Chicago museums

Plan your next museum outing around these upcoming free days.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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There's no shortage of world-class Chicago museums to explore, but let's face it: Admission prices can be pretty steep, especially if you're paying for a group of people. When you're looking for cheap things to do in Chicago, seek out free admission days at museums, which are regularly offered by many of the city's top institutions; or, check out a variety of local museums that are always free or donation-only. We've compiled a roundup of upcoming free days and permanently free museums below—remember to check each institution's website for its masking policy and other safety rules before you visit.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best things to do in Chicago

Free museum days in Chicago

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  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • Museum Campus
  • price 3 of 4

Illinois Resident Discount Days offer free general admission for Illinois residents with ID. Free tickets must be reserved online or by phone, and a $3 service charge will be added to each reservation. Visitors must present ID upon arrival. 

 

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  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Suburbs
  • price 2 of 4

Chicago Botanic Garden offers free admission daily, though you'll need to preregister for timed entry online and pay parking fees ($25 per car, $10 for senior citizens on Tuesdays, $30 per van, $65 per limousine, minibus, bus and RV). The Metra Union Pacific North line stops just outside the gates, which means you can avoid parking fees if you ride the train.

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Find more museums in Chicago

  • Museums

Whether you're visiting the city for the first time or you're a local looking for something to do on your day off, Chicago museums are can't-miss destinations. You'll find world-class institutions throughout the city, including collections devoted to contemporary art, natural history and science that are among Chicago's best attractions.

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