Do you love visiting museums? Do you love visiting museums for FREE? We’ve put together a list of special days when Chicago museums offer free admission this fall. This list includes family favorites we know you love to visit in Chicago, with free days between September – December.
Many museums also offer discounts or freebies for veterans and/or teachers. 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. Always check with each museum when in doubt.
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. These are based on general admission prices at the time of publication. Of course, always check yourself as there are add-ons not included in the general admission price at some places. 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). (Don’t worry if your schedule doesn’t jive with the free days in the fall; we’ve noticed that if you want free visits, winter is the best season.)
FALL 2018 FREE DAYS AT CHICAGO MUSEUMS
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, Chicago:
Free days: September 4–6, 10–13, 17–20, 24–27; November 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: $62
SHEDD AQUARIUM, Chicago:
Free days: every day between Sept. 4 and Sept. 30; October 3, 10
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. Note: you can reserve free tickets online, which is recommended; there is a service charge to do so, however. Free days savings varies, but free general admission saves $140 (no that is not a typo).
FIELD MUSEUM, Chicago:
Free days: September 15-17, Sept. 30; October 8, 21, 28, 31; November 11, 18; December 9, 16
For Illinois residents. Must show proof of residency. Free basic admission is included; discounts are available for upgrades. See the website to plan your trip. Free day savings: $82
ADLER PLANETARIUM, Chicago:
Illinois Resident Discount Days: September 9-16; October 8, 21, 24, 25; November 11, 12, 14, 15; December 1, 3-7, 10
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 Illinois Resident Discount Days – where Illinois residents receive free General Admission to the museum (note: shows are extra). Cannot be reserved online. More information on their website. Free day savings: $40
McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, Chicago: This museum is only open in the summer months and early fall (this year until Oct. 29). 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 adult residents on Tuesdays, year round. Must have proof of residency. Children 18 and under are free daily. Admission is just suggested; the museum does not turn away anyone. For more info, visit the MCA website. Free day savings: $30
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY, CHICAGO: Admission is free every Tuesday. Kids 5 and under are free every day. More information: http://www.dusablemuseum.org/ Free day savings: $26
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 the museum website. Free night savings: $60
CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM: Kids 12 and under are free everyday, but adults are not. The Museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday (excluding December 18 and 15), from 12:30 to 9 p.m. More information visit its 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.
CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER and LINCOLN PARK ZOO: Always free.
SWEDISH AMERICAN MUSEUM: Located in Andersonville, one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the United States, with Swedish roots dating back to the 19th century. What’s of most interest to families is the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration. Free admission the second Tuesday of every month. Free day savings: $10
Have you had a great museum trip with your kids lately? We’d love to hear about it!