Free Museum Days in Chicago 2015

Chicago’s museums are world-class, but all those bones, weather simulators and rides in Chicago’s first El train car don’t come cheap. Throw in parking, special exhibits, and the gift shop, and it adds up fast.

But in the philanthropic spirit of our fine city, most museums offer free admission for Illinois residents on certain days. Here’s a complete calendar for the coming month. You’re on your own in the gift shop.

Free days can change at the last minute, so ALWAYS call first to confirm before heading out to the museums. And please note that these are for Illinois residents only in most cases.

Check out our complete guide to Chicagoland’s museums: Reviews, coming exhibits and tailored tours for little feet


Adler Planetarium

January: 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 26-28
February: 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25
March: 2-4

Art Institute of Chicago

Free for all Illinois residents from 5-8 p.m. Thursdays. Kids 13 and under are always free.

Free Winter Weekdays: Jan. 5-Feb. 10, free to Illinois residents every weekday.


Chicago History Museum

January: 5-9, 12-15, 19-23, 26-30

February: Weekdays

March: 4

July: 4

August: 18-20, 24-27, 31

September: 1-3


Field Museum

January: 7, 14-15

February: 1-28


Museum of Contemporary Art

Always free Tuesdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for Illinois residents; children 12 and under are free every day.

From October through May, the second Saturday of the month is free for families with children 12 and under.


Museum of Science and Industry

January: 5-9; 12-16, 19-23, 26-30 (i.e. weekdays in January starting Jan. 5)

February: Kids 3-11 are free all month (two free kids tickets permitted per purchase of one paying adult).

March: 2-6


John G. Shedd Aquarium

January: 5-8, 12-13, 18-20, 23-27

February: 2-3, 9-10, 13-17, 23-24

June: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16

September: 8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29

October: 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27

November: 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Thursdays are free for Illinois residents. Children under 3 are free every day.

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