Free Museum Days In Chicago 2019

Chicago Bucket List By Chicago Bucket List

We've rounded up all the free museum days you need to hit before the year ends! 🖼🏛


Who doesn't love a good ole museum day, whether you choose to browse with the family or with some friends post-brunch. There are countless moments we've spent discussing (debating) how dinosaurs existed besides Sue the T-Rex or viewing the esteemed Monet lilypads in the Impressionist Wing. What's better than that? 

Doing it for freeee, of course. 

There is a plethora of renowned establishments to choose from within the city, from The Field Museum to the Art Institute. So, mark these dates in your calendar and enjoy Chicago's museums and galleries for free! 

  

 
 
 
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Art Institute 

The Art Institute is a must see whether you are a tourist visiting this amazing city or even a local Chicagoan! Located in Grant Park, it's one of the oldest and most visited museum in Chicago (and the world!), we recommend you take advantage of these free museum days!

  • Chicago residents under 18 years-old can see the exhibits at any time for free!
  • All Children 14 years-old and younger are welcome for free at all times! 
  • Illinois residents of all ages are able to enjoy enjoy free admission year-round on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m
  • Active-duty military and their families receive free admission to the museum Memorial Day through Labor Day!

Where: 
111 S. Michigan Ave. - The Loop 

Hours:
Open everyday from 10:30am –5:00pm and Thursdays until 8:00pm.

 For more information.  

 

 
 
 
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Museum of Contemporary Art 

Standing as one of the largest contemporary museums in the world, the Museum of Contemporary Art is filled with history, culture, and exciting exhibitions that feature modern art of our time by artists of local and international prominent artists! 

  • Free for MCA Members and anyone 18 and under.
  • Admission is FREE for Illinois residents on Tuesdays
  • Students and Teachers -  $8
  • Seniors (65+) - $8
  • FREE for members of the military, police, fire departments, veterans, and anyone 18 and under!!!

Where: 
220 E. Chicago Ave. - Streeterville

Hours:

Monday : 10 am–5 pm
Tuesday : 10 am–9 pm
Wednesday & Thursday : 10 am–5 pm
Friday :  10 am–9 pm
Saturday & Sunday : 10 am–5 pm

 For more information.

 
 
 
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Adler Planetarium

Planets, Stars and Space… Oh my! Experience outer space like never before and the study of astronomy and astrophysics at the Adler Planetarium. There are endless possibilities here with immersive theater programs, amazing “out of this world” exhibits,  and even events such as in person lectures and viewing parties! 

  • Students and seniors (65+) can get $2 off their admission when they come. This applies every time! 
  • All Chicago residents (must show proof!), get a discount everyday as well! Adult can get $2 off
  • And children (ages 3-11) get  $3 off. 

General admission is free to Illinois residents on the following dates in 2019:

January 21-22, 29
February 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, 26-28
April 2-4, 9-11
June 3-5, 10-13
September 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
October 7-9, 14-16
November 8, 11
December 2-3, 7, 12-13

Where: 
1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. - South Loop/Museum Campus

Hours:
Every Day 9:00 am–4:00 pm
Memorial Day (May 27, 2019) – Labor Day (September 2, 2019): 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

*Note: The Adler Planetarium has amazing deals for discounted tickets throughout the year, these discounted passes must be purchased in person on the day of your visit!* 

For more information.  

 
 
 
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Field Museum 

In this beloved Chicago museum you can expect to see over 24 million historical objects from earth, plants, animals, people, and more! Who wouldn’t want to see real dinosaur bones?!?! With about 4.6 billion years under this roof, it's your ticket to timetravel back in history.

  • Just for Illinois residents: Spend Wednesdays at the Museum—for free!

Where: 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. - South Loop/Museum Campus 

Hours:
The Field Museum is open 364 days a year (every day but Christmas Day) 
Museum open daily 9am-5pm. Last admission at 4pm. 

 For more information.

 
 
 
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Shedd Aquarium 

The Shedd Aquarium is like no other aquarium in the world… Penguin training, dolphin shows, and shark feeding are only three out of the many opportunities for you to experience at the Shedd! 

Free admission for Illinois residents offered on the following days:

August 26-27
September 3, 4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30
October 1, 2
December 4

Where:
1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. - South Loop/Museum Campus

Hours:

Weekdays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekends: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Extended summer hours (June 15-Aug. 18, 2019) 
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of July 27

For more information.

 
 
 
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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

If you’re an Illinois resident, Thursdays are free! (donations encouraged)

Students - $9
Seniors (60+) - $7
Children (3 - 12) - $6
Under 3 years-old - FREE

Active duty service members and their families can enjoy free admission year-round 

Where:
2430 N. Cannon Dr. - Lincoln Park

Hours:

Monday through Friday : 9am - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday : 10am - 5pm
Last admission is over 4:30 pm

 For more information.

Chicago History Museum 

Calling all history peeps! This museum is filled with a wide range of Chicago history but is focused on being the hub of scholarship, learning, inspiration, and civic engagement! Make sure to stop by this Museum in Lincoln Park!

  • Children under 12 years- old and Illinois residents under 18 years- old are always free!
  • Illinois residents of all ages are offered free admission every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m 
  • *City of Chicago residents receive a $2 discount (with valid I.D.)
  • Free for Chicago Police, US Armed Service, Fire Department, and Illinois Teachers (With ID)

WHERE:
1601 N. Clark St. - Lincoln Park

HOURS:

Monday-Saturday : 9:30 am - 4:30 pm 
Sunday : 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm 

For more information.

(Cover photo credit: Field Museum) 

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