Do you love visiting museums? Do you love visiting museums for FREE? This summer, there is a limited window of free days at Chicago museums. We’ve put together a list of special days when Chicago museums offer free admission this summer. This list includes family favorites we know you love to visit in Chicago, with free days between May – August.
Many museums also offer discounts or freebies for veterans. Some are part of the Museums for All program, for those who have valid EBT or WIC cards – many offer admission for $3 up to six family members.
The days listed below are mostly free for ILLINOIS RESIDENTS. That means you must provide valid Illinois proof of residency; a drivers’ license or state I.D. usually suffices.
We’ve also included the average free day savings for a family of four (two adults, two kids) so you can see how beneficial these are to your family budget. For many museums, the kid price applies to children 3-11.
Save more money on your Chicago visit – avoid parking charges and take the train (our advice). (If you are disappointed by the frequency of free days in the summer, no worries; we’ve noticed that if you want free visits, winter is the best season.)
SUMMER FREE DAYS AT CHICAGO MUSEUMS
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, Chicago:
Free days: June 5-9, 12
Want to go to the Museum of Science and Industry for free? Illinois residents who show valid proof of residency can get free admission to this family favorite on multiple days in January and February (a HUGE cost savings!). On Illinois Free Days, museum entry is free for all Illinois residents who show valid proof of residency. OmniMax films, Coal Mine and optional U-505 onboard tours, and certain temporary exhibits are not included in museum entry, and require separate admission. See Ticket Prices on Illinois Free Days and Parking. Free days savings: $50
SHEDD AQUARIUM, Chicago:
Free days: June 5, 6, 12, 13
August 28, 29
On select days throughout the year, Illinois residents with a valid ID receive free general admission or discounted upgraded admission to the aquarium. Three options are available on your Illinois Resident Discount Days – free General Admission, or discounts on the Shedd Pass and Total Experience Pass. Free days savings varies, but free general admission saves $28.
FIELD MUSEUM, Chicago:
Free days: June 21, 22, 23
For Illinois residents. Must show proof of residency. Free basic admission is included; discounts are available for upgrades. See their website to plan your trip. Free day savings: $74
ADLER PLANETARIUM, Chicago:
Illinois Resident Discount Days: June 5–9
Countless galaxies, unfathomable distances, exploding stars, diamond planets, black holes, there’s no way around it, space is freaking awesome! Come learn more at the Adler Planetarium during our Illinois Resident Discount Days – where Illinois residents receive free General Admission to the museum (note: shows are extra). More information on their website. Free day savings: $40
McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, Chicago: This museum is only open in the summer months (this year between May 13 into October). Beginning at river level and spiraling five stories up, the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore a historic landmark bridgehouse. General admission is $5; children 5 and under are free, and admission is free on Sundays. Free day savings: $20
ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO: General admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every Thursday from 5-8 p.m, year round. Children 13 and under are free every day. Free night savings: $44
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO: Admission is free for Illinois residents on Tuesdays, year round. Must have proof of residency. For more info, visit their website. Children 12 and under are free daily. Free day savings: $24
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, CHICAGO: Admission is free every Tuesday, starting Jan. 1, 2017. More information: http://www.dusablemuseum.org/ Free day savings: $26 (FYI that kids 5 and under are free).
CHICAGO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM: Every Thursday, is a Target Free Family Night, from 5-8 p.m. Free admission for all visitors. The first Sunday of each month has free admission for visitors 15 and under. More information, visit their website. Free night savings: $56
CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM: Kids 12 and under are free everyday, but adults are not. The Museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday beginning January 10, 2017, from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. and on Commemorative Days: January 16, February 20, March 4, and July 4. More information visit their website. Free day savings: $32
PEGGY NOTEBAERT NATURE MUSEUM: We loved this museum when we visited last winter. One of Chicago’s hidden gems, located in Lincoln Park. (Read our review.) Thursdays are suggested donations day for Illinois residents, year round.
LINCOLN PARK ZOO: Always free.
Have you had a great museum trip with your kids lately? We’d love to hear about it!