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!


Adler Planetarium

Free on Wednesdays 4-10 p.m.

Art Institute of Chicago

Free on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays through March 24, 2023. Kids under 14 and Chicago teens under 18 are always free. 

Chicago Children’s Museum

  • February: 23
  • March: 30
  • April: 27
  • May: 25

DuSable Museum of African American History

Free on Wednesdays. Kids 5 and under are always free.

Field Museum

  • January: 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
  • February: 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20
  • March: 7, 14

Lincoln Park Zoo

Always free.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents, kids 18 and under are always free.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Always free. Must reserve tickets in advance.

Museum of Science and Industry

  • January: 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30, 31
  • February: 1, 2, 6-9, 13, 14, 16, 21
  • March: 1, 6, 14
  • April: 18, 22

National Museum of Mexican Art

Always free.

Shedd Aquarium

  • January: 12-16
  • February: 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28

The Art Institute of Chicago

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


Brookfield Zoo 

Admission is free during January-February 2023 on every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Elmhurst History Museum

Always free. Must reserve tickets in advance.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

  • January: 27
  • February: 24
  • March: 31
  • April: 28

Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Arts

Free on Wednesdays. Children under 7 are always free. 

Mascot Hall of Fame (Whiting, Indiana)

Upcoming 2023 free days to be announced. 

Wilmette Historical Museum

Always free.


Bank of America Free Days

Have a Bank of America card? Simply present your card on the first full weekend of each month and get free admission to various Chicago area museums. 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.

Museums For All Initiative

A fun day out at the museum isn’t always super fun for your wallet. Through Museums for All, families that receive food assistance can take advantage of free or significantly discounted admission for up to 4 people when they present their SNAP EBT card. With more than 40 participating museums in Illinois, there’s no shortage of exciting discoveries to be had.

Follow Chicago Parent on Instagram

This post is updated regularly. 

- Advertisement -


Best Things to Do with Chicago Kids in March

Plan ahead! We've rounded up some of the best activities and events to do with kids in Chicago and suburbs this month.

Local Mom Opens Chicago’s Only Bilingual Playroom in Logan Square

Kids can socialize and play in a creative, culturally relevant space at Luna y Cielo Play Cafe.

Best Food Trucks in Chicagoland

Check out these restaurants on wheels at local spots and festivals in the city and suburbs.

Feminist Books You Can Read with Kids

Celebrate women during Women's History Month and beyond with these books for kids of all ages.

- Advertisement -