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arts & culture · attractions & tours ·

Published January 18, 2024

Free Museum Days in Chicago (2024)

Here's how to visit Chicago's top museums for free. 🖼🏛

by Chicago Bucket List

 

Who doesn't love a good museum day? Whether you're looking to change up your date night routine, need something to do on a rainy day, or just want to see a T-Rex up close, spending an afternoon wandering through galleries and exhibits is always a good idea.

But do you want to know what's even better? Doing it all for free. Some of the most iconic museums in the city offer free entrance days throughout the year, and we've rounded them all up so you can see fossils and butterflies at The Field Museum, Van Gogh's renowned self-portrait at the Art Institute, and sharks and beluga whales at the Shedd Aquarium without spending a penny!

2024 Free Museum Admission Days in Chicago

Adler Planetarium

Free admission for Illinois residents every Wednesday from 4–10 pm.

Art Institute of Chicago

Free admission for Illinois residents on weekdays from January 8–March 22, 2024.
Free admission for Illinois educatios (pre-K through grade 12). Pre-registration required.
Kids under 14 and Chicago teens under 18 are always free.

Brookfield Zoo 

Free admission every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday from January 2–February 29, 2024.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Free admission for Illinois residents on select dates throughout the year. Note that preregistration is required for non-members.

  • January 2024: 8-15
  • February 2024: 4-9, 19
  • March 2024: 18-22
  • April 2024: 8-11
  • May 2024: 7, 9
  • June 2024: 11, 13, 19
  • July 2024: 9, 11
  • August 2024: 6, 8
  • September 2024: 10, 12
  • October 2024: 1, 2, 14
  • November 2024: 4-8, 11, 12
  • December 2024: 9-15

Chicago Children’s Museum

Free admission for veterans and active military members.

Chicago History Museum

Free admission for Illinois residents on weekdays from January 15–February 29.

Illinois residents under the age of 18 and all children under 12 are always free.

DuSable Museum of African American History

Free admission for Illinois Public School students (pre-k through grade 12) and active military members.

Field Museum

Free admission for Illinois residents every Wednesday.
Free admission for active military members and Illinois teachers (pre-K through grade 12).

Heritage Museum of Asian Art

Free admission for active military members and children under 7.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Admission is free to all on the last Friday of January, February, and March 2024.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Free admission for Illinois residents every Tuesday.
Children and teens under 18 are always free.

Museum of Science and Industry

Free admission for Illinois residents on select dates throughout the year.

  • January 2024: 22-24, 28-31
  • February 2024: 5-8, 11-15, 20-22, 26-29
  • April 2024: 21

Free admission for active military members and Illinois teachers (pre-K through grade 12).

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Free admission for Illinois residents every Thursday for weekly donation days.
Free admission for active military members and Illinois teachers (pre-K through grade 12).

Pritzker Military Museum and Library

Free admission for active military members.

Shedd Aquarium

Free admission for Illinois residents on select dates throughout the year.

  • January 2024: 9-16, 23-25, 30, 31
  • February 2024: 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29
  • Every Tuesday evening between 5–9 pm from March 5–June 25

Free admission for active military members.
Free admission for Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin teachers. Pre-registration required.

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts

Free admission for all every Wednesday.
Free admission for active military members.

Mascot Hall of Fame (Whiting, Indiana)

Free admission every first Friday of every month in 2024.
Free admission for active military members.

 

Always Free Museums in Chicago

21c Museum Hotel

DePaul Art Museum

Design Museum of Chicago

Elmhurst History Museum

Hyde Park Art Center

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Lincoln Park Zoo

Loyola University Museum of Art

Money Museum

Museum of Contemporary Photography

National Museum of Mexican Art

National Puerto Rican Museum

National Veterans Art Museum

Smart Museum of Art

The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern

Wilmette Historical Museum

 

Free & Discounted Museum Programs

Museums For All

Through Museums for All, those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) can gain free or reduced admission to more than 40 museums throughout Illinois simply by presenting their EBT card and a photo ID.

 

Bank of America Free Days

Bank of America offers cardholders free general admission to more than 225 cultural institutions in cities across the United States during the first full weekend of every month. Just present your card and a valid ID.

 

EXPLORE MORE:
12 Cool Museums to Visit in Chicago
16 Creative Things to Do on A Rainy Day in Chicago
25+ Fun Activities in Chicago That Don't Involve Alcohol or Food

 

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