In a world-class city like Chicago, one of the best things to do is explore its world-class museums. Unfortunately, seeing them all can be very expensive. Fortunately, however, there are several free museum days. Chicago offers these throughout the year. While general admission is free on those days, special exhibitions usually require a paid ticket.

There are also several Chicago museums that are free all the time, and we've got them, too! 

If these dates don't fit your schedule you can save money on tickets with a Go Chicago Card. Save up to 55% off Chicago attractions - get this virtual pass on your smartphone now!

Related: How to save money in Chicago

Please note that many free days are for Illinois residents only.

Chicago Museum Free Days 2019

Find out when your favorite museum is offering free days.

Free Days at Adler Planetarium in downtown Chicago

Adler Planetarium

  • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
  • January 21-22, 29-31
  • 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
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

 

Art Institute of Chicago

  • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
  • Thurday nights from 5pm to 8pm for Illinois residents only
  • Free for all Chicago teens under 18

Find hotels near the Art Institute of Chicago

 

African Lion at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo

  • City: Brookfield
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays
  • Always free for Military Personnel

 

Chicago Children's Museum

  • Neighborhood: Streeterville
  • 1st Sunday of every month free admission for children 15 and under
  • Always free for Military Personnel, but active and veterans

Check out these hotels near the Chicago Children's Museum:

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

  • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
  • Every Tuesday 12:30pm to 9pm
  • Also free on Commemorative Days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4, and July 4
  • Free days for Illinois residents only

 

    DuSable Museum of African American History

    DuSable Museum of African American History

    • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
    • Free on Tuesdays

     

    Field Museum of Natural History

    Field Museum of Natural History

    • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
    • January 21
    • February 1-28

    • April 5 - 7

    • May 2

    • June 26 - 28

    • Free days for Illinois residents only

    International Museum of Surgical Science

    • Neighborhood: Gold Coast
    • Free on Tuesdays

    Loyola University Museum of Art

    • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
    • Free on Tuesdays

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

    • Neighborhood: North Suburbs (Evanston)
    • Free 1st Friday of every month

    Museum of Contemporary Art

    • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
    • Free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents, open until 8pm

    Museum of Science & Industry

    • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
    • January 7–10, 14–17, 21–24, 28–31

    • February 4–7, 11–14, 19–21, 25–28

    • Free admission is for Illinois residents only

    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum:

    • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
    • Free on Thursdays (donations suggested)

     

      Jellyfish at the Shedd Aquarium in downtown Chicago

      Shedd Aquarium

      • Neighborhood: Grant Park / Museum Campus
      • January 17-21
      • February 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-28
      • Free days are for Illinois residents only

      Swedish American Museum

      • Neighborhood: Andersonville
      • Free on second Tuesday of every month
      U-505 German Submarine at the Museum of Science & Industry

      Free Chicago Museum Days by Date

      Sometimes it's easier to see when Chicago offers free admission by date.

      JANUARY

      Monday, January 7

      Museum of Science & Industry

      Tuesday, January 8

      Brookfield Zoo
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Swedish American Museum

      Wednesday, January 9

      Museum of Science & Industry

      Thursday, January 10

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Saturday, January 12

      Brookfield Zoo

      Sunday, January 13

      Brookfield Zoo

      Monday, January 14

      Museum of Science & Industry

      Tuesday, January 15

      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry

      Wednesday, January 16

      Museum of Science & Industry

      Thursday, January 17

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Saturday, January 19

      Brookfield Zoo

      Sunday, January 20

      Brookfield Zoo

      Monday, January 21

      Adler Planetarium
      Chicago History Museum
      Museum of Science & Industry

      Tuesday, January 22

      Adler Planetarium
      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry

      Wednesday, January 23

      Museum of Science & Industry

      Thursday, January 24

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Saturday, January 26

      Brookfield Zoo

      Sunday, January 27

      Brookfield Zoo

      Monday, January 28

      Tuesday, January 29

      Adler Planetarium
      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Wednesday, January 30

      Adler Planetarium

      Thursday, January 31

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Shedd Aquarium

      FEBRUARY

      Friday, February 1

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
      Shedd Aquarium

      Saturday, February 2

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Sunday, February 3

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Monday, February 4

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Tuesday, February 5

      Adler Planetarium
      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      Field Museum of Natural History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Wednesday, February 6

      Adler Planetarium
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Thursday, February 7

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
      Shedd Aquarium

      Friday, February 8

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Shedd Aquarium

      Saturday, February 9

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Sunday, February 10

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Monday, February 11

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Tuesday, February 12

      Adler Planetarium
      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      Field Museum of Natural History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium
      Swedish American Museum

      Wednesday, February 13

      Adler Planetarium
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Thursday, February 14

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
      Shedd Aquarium

      Friday, February 15

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Shedd Aquarium

      Saturday, February 16

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Sunday, February 17

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Monday, February 18

      Adler Planetarium
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Shedd Aquarium

      Tuesday, February 19

      Adler Planetarium
      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      Field Museum of Natural History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Wednesday, February 20

      Adler Planetarium
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Thursday, February 21

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
      Shedd Aquarium

      Friday, February 22

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Shedd Aquarium

      Saturday, February 23

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Sunday, February 24

      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History

      Monday, February 25

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Tuesday, February 26

      Adler Planetarium
      Brookfield Zoo
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      Field Museum of Natural History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Wednesday, February 27

      Adler Planetarium
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Shedd Aquarium

      Thursday, February 28

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Brookfield Zoo
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Museum of Science & Industry
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
      Shedd Aquarium

      Adler Planetarium in Chicago

      MARCH

      Tuesday, March 5

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, March 7

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Friday, March 8

      Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

      Tuesday, March 12

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Swedish American Museum

      Thursday, March 14

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, March 19

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, March 21

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, March 26

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, March 28

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

      APRIL

      Tuesday, April 2

      Adler Planetarium
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Wednesday, April 3

      Adler Planetarium

      Thursday, April 4

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Friday, April 5

      Field Museum of Natural History
      Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

      Saturday, April 6

      Field Museum of Natural History

      Sunday, April 7

      Field Museum of Natural History

      Tuesday, April 9

      Adler Planetarium
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Swedish American Museum

      Wednesday, April 10

      Adler Planetarium

      Thursday, April 11

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, April 16

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, April 18

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, April 23

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, April 25

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, April 30

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      MAY

      Thursday, May 2

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Friday, May 3

      Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

      Tuesday, May 7

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, May 9

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, May 14

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Swedish American Museum

      Thursday, May 16

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, May 21

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, May 23

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, May 28

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, May 30

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago

      JUNE

      Monday, June 3

      Adler Planetarium

      Tuesday, June 4

      Adler Planetarium
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Wednesday, June 5

      Adler Planetarium

      Thursday, June 6

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Friday, June 7

      Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

      Monday, June 10

      Adler Planetarium

      Tuesday, June 11

      Adler Planetarium
      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art
      Swedish American Museum

      Wednesday, June 12

      Adler Planetarium

      Thursday, June 13

      Adler Planetarium
      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, June 18

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Thursday, June 20

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Tuesday, June 25

      Chicago History Museum
      DuSable Museum of African American History
      International Museum of Surgical Science
      LUMA - Loyola University Museum of Art
      Museum of Contemporary Art

      Wednesday, June 26

      Field Museum of Natural History

      Thursday, June 27

      Art Institute of Chicago, 5pm to 8pm
      Field Museum of Natural History
      Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

      Friday, June 28

      Field Museum of Natural History

       

      Adler Planetarium

      Free Museums in Chicago

      These Chicago museums are free all the time.

      The Arts Club of Chicago

      • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile / Streeterville
      • Always free

      City Gallery

      • Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile/Streeterville
      • Always free
      Jane Addams Hull House Museum

      Jane Addams Hull House Museum

      • Neighborhood: University Village
      • Always Free, $5 suggested donation

      Lincoln Park Zoo

      • Neighborhood: Lincoln Park
      • Always Free

      Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art

      • Neighborhood: North Suburbs (Evanston)
      • Always Free

      Museum of Contemporary Photography

      • Neighborhood: South Loop
      • Always Free

      National Museum of Mexican Art

      • Neighborhood: Pilsen
      • Always free (donations accepted)

      The Oriental Institute

      • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
      • Always free (donations accepted)

      The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

      • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
      • Always free

      Smart Museum Of Art

      • Neighborhood: Hyde Park
      • Always Free

      Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art

      • Neighborhood: Ukrainian Village
      • Always Free; $5 suggested donation

      These aren't the only free things to do in Chicago! Find more in our ultimate guide.

      Don't miss a free day! Pin this: 

      Free Museum Days Chicago: there are several free days at #Chicago museums, including the Museum of Science & Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Art Institute of Chicago. There are also Chicago museums that are free all the time. #freethingstodo