Free Museum Days in Chicagoland

Enjoy family fun that is easy on the wallet with these local museums offering free admission.

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 next few months for free museum days. You’re on your own in the gift shop. Looking for more fun things to do with kids in Chicagoland? Check out our weekend picks!

City

Adler Planetarium

Free on Wednesdays 4-10 p.m.

DuSable Museum of African American History

Free on Wednesdays. Kids 14 and under and Chicago teens under 18 are always free.

Field Museum

  • August: 23-24, 30-31
  • September: 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28
  • October: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26
  • November: 1-2, 8-9

Lincoln Park Zoo

Always free.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents, kids 18 and under are always free. Advance registration is required.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Always free. Must reserve tickets in advance.

Museum of Science and Industry

  • August: 23-24, 30-31
  • September: 6-7, 12-15, 19-20, 26-27
  • November: 1, 8
  • October: 4-5

National Museum of Mexican Art

Always free.

Shedd Aquarium

More 2022 dates for select days to be announced.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Admission always free for children under 14 and Chicago teens under 18.

Suburbs

Elmhurst History Museum

Always free. Must reserve tickets in advance.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

  • August: 26
  • September: 30
  • October: 28
  • November: 25
  • December: 30

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts

Free on Wednesdays.

Mascot Hall of Fame (Whiting, Indiana)

Free the first Friday of every month through December.

Wilmette Historical Museum

Always free. Must make appointments in advance.

Other

Bank of America Free Days

Have a Bank of America card? Then on the first full weekend of each month present your card and get free admission to various Chicago area museums (see website for details). One per cardholder, so it won’t be free for the entire family (unless each of your children has a credit card), but a free adult admission is nothing to sneeze at.


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This post is updated regularly. 

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