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free days at
chicago museums

If you are looking for some FREE fun in Chicago, look no further!  Here are the FREE DAYS at several popular Chicago Museums, many of which have free admission days on the same day!

Advanced ticket purchase is always required on free admission days. Click the "Explore More" button under the museum listing to purchase.

Shoutout to Chicago's own, ChooseChicago, for compiling this list for us suburbanites! 

Check them out for ALL THE THINGS in the city! Consider them the Stay + Play Local of Chicago.

View this COMPLETE list HERE.


Once a week throughout the year, the DuSable Museum offers free admission:

  • Every Wednesday throughout the year is FREE!

Online booking in advance is currently required for all visitors.


Admission is always free for military and first responders.


ADler Planetarium

Throughout the year, Alder Planetarium host plenty of free days for America’s first planetarium. Take note that this is only free for Illinois residents.

  • Every WEDNESDAY NIGHT (4p - 10p) is free for Illinois Residents (with proof of residency). 

*All tickets must be purchased online and in advance.* Admission is always free for Illinois teachers (pre-K through 12), active duty military and veterans, and active police and firefighters.


Art institute of chicago

Illinois residents can enjoy free admission to the Art Institute throughout the year. Here are some upcoming dates:

  • Weekdays (Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays) January 9 – March 24, 2023


Overall, children under 14, Chicago teens under 18, and active duty military along with their family are given free access any day!

You MUST secure your tickets in advance in order to receive free admission. Click the link below for tickets.


brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo is an award-winning zoo outside of Chicago, and they are offering the following free dates:

  • November 21 to December 20, 2022 on Mondays and Tuesdays

  • January-February 2023 on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays

  • A parking fee still applies

Free admission at the Brookfield Zoo for all active, reserve, and retired members of the military with an ID. Admission is also free for children age 2 and under.

*Brookfield Zoo will not require proof of vaccination to enter the zoo, visit the indoor animal exhibits, use the restrooms or to purchase food to-go from outdoor or indoor restaurant locations. 


Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is offering...


  • FREE EVERY DAY (parking, though, costs $25)!


Chicago Children's Museum

The Chicago Children’s Museum offers veterans and active military free admission every day with the presentation of valid military status identification.



They also offer families that qualify for state food assistance and are in possession of an EBT card or WIC card free admission for up to 6 people.


the field museum

Illinois residents can spend a day at The Field Museum with complimentary admission on the following free days:

  • 2023

    • January 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31

    • February 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20

    • March 7, 14

Illinois teachers (pre-K through 12th grade) and active military personnel receive free basic admission year-round.


Lincoln Park Zoo

This amazing zoo in the heart of Chicago, sitting in one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, is this sprawling zoo with beautiful gardens. They offer...



Museum of COntemporary Art

MCA is free to Illinois residents...

  • FREE EVERY TUESDAY, year-round

Free for those under 18, or who are members of the military (active or veterans), police, or fire department, visitors with disabilities and their caregivers, and Illinois elementary through high school teachers.

To encourage more people to visit and visit often, the MCA has a pay-what-you-can policy — no one will be turned away! How cool is that?!


Museum of Science and Industry

Illinois residents can enjoy free admission on the following days:

  • 2023

    • ​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

    • May 4, 9, 17–18

    • June 1, 6–7

    • August 22, 28–29

    • September 5–6, 11–12, 15, 18–20, 26

    • October 4–5, 9, 16–17

    • November 1, 8

*Limited to six children (under 18) admitted per one accompanying adult. 

The Museum of Science and Industry is always free for United States military active-duty personnel and veterans, Illinois POWs, Chicago firefighters, Chicago police officers and Illinois teachers (Pre-K through 12th grade).


The Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is offering Illinois residents free access to all permanent exhibits, including special exhibits Underwater Beauty and seasonal Stingray Touch.

  • January 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 2023

  • February 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 2023


Chicago History Museum

Children under 12 years old and Illinois residents under 18 years old are always free.


Free admission is also always available to all active-duty military and all veterans, active duty Chicago Police Department members, active duty Chicago Fire Department members, City Colleges of Chicago students, faculty, and staff, and Illinois teachers.

  • January 16–20, 24–27, 31, 2023

  • February 1–3, 7–10, 14–17, 20–24, 28, 2023


illinois holocaust Museum

The Illinois Holocaust Museum is offering free admission...


Reserve your free tickets in advance. Visitors with an active Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and a photo ID receive several other Free Admission dates (also found in the link below).


National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art is offering free admission...



Chicago Cultural Center

Admission is free year-round at the Chicago Cultural Center



Dusable museum of African american history

Admission is always free to children 6 and younger, military, and first responders.

  • FREE EVERY WEDNESDAY, year-round


Snowy Night

We do the legwork so you can spend less time SEARCHING and more time DOING.

A LOCAL'S GUIDE to St. Charles, Geneva, and Batavia, Illinois

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