Musings of a Museum Fanatic: Chicago Free Museum Days 2016

2.04.2016

Chicago Free Museum Days 2016

The winter is a fantastic time to go visit Chicago museums. Many of the big museums offer a ton of free days! What better way to enjoy the mild winter then to trek to your favorite museum or to find a new favorite. Some of the bigger museums only post the free days a few months at a time so be sure to bookmark your favorite and check back often.

There are also usually discounts for certain groups, such as military personnel and teachers. Be sure to check websites or call and check to see if you can get that discount before you go.

If you're from the Chicago area I would also highly recommend you become a member of your favorite museums you visit often. This not only gets you into the museum for a discounted rate and in most cases special member perks but it supports the museum and the work that they do.




The Big 6 Chicago Museums
Adler Planetarium
1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605
312-922-7827
These are Illinois resident discount days
  • February 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29


Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603
312-443-3600
  • Free admission every Thursday 5-8PM

700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
312-527-1000
  • Target Free Family Night - Free admission every Thursday 5PM-8PM
  • First Free Sunday - Free admission for visitors 15 and under on the first Sunday of each month


Field Museum of Natural History
1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
312-922-9410
Illinois residents can enjoy free Basic admission on Field Museum Discount Days. On these Discount Days, Illinois residents may upgrade to a Discovery Pass for $11 or upgrade to an All-Access Pass for $18.
  • February 1-29 


Museum of Science and Industry 
5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
773-684-1414
These are Illinois resident discount days
  • February 29
  • June 1-3, 6-8
  • September 6-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
  • October 4-6
  • November 3, 10
  • December 1


Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
312-939-2438

  • February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29
  • June 6, 7, 13, 14
  • September 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27
  • October 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
  • November 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29



Art
Elmhurst Art Museum
150 Cottage Hill Ave. Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
630-834-0202
  • Free admission every Friday


Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
220 South Cottage Hill Avenue, Elmhurst, IL 60126
630-833-1616
  • Free admission every Friday


Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery
100 West Randolph Street Chicago, IL 60601
312-814-5322
  • Free daily admission


Loyola University Museum of Art
820 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
312-915-7600
  • Free admission every Tuesday


Museum of Contemporary Art
220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
312-280-2660
  • Free admission every Tuesday


National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60641
312-326-0270
  • Free daily admission


Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-0200
  • Free daily admission


Ethnic Museums
DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637
773-947-0600
  • Free admission every Sunday


Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
3001 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847-475-1030
  • Free admission every first Friday


National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608
312-738-1503
  • Free daily admission


Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago
1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
773-702-9514
  • Free daily admission (suggested donation)


Swedish American Museum
5211 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60601
773-728-8111
  • Free admission every second Tuesday of the month


History Museums
Robert McCormick Museum and
First Division Museum (at Cantigny)
1S151 South Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
630-668-5161
  • Free daily admission, $5 parking fee per car


Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
312-642-4600
Illinois resident discount days
  • February Monday -Friday


Clarke House Museum
1827 South Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
312-326-1480
  • Free on Wednesdays


102 E. Wesley Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187
630-510-4941
  • Free daily admission


120 E. Park Ave.  Elmhurst, IL 60126
630-833-1457
  • Free daily admission


Glessner House Museum
1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616
312-326-1480
  • Free on Wednesdays


Illinois Holocaust Museum
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077
847-967-4800
Free days for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch ATM, credit or debit cardholders ONLY.
  • January 2-3
  • February 6-7
  • March 5-6
  • April 2-3
  • May 7-8
  • June 4-5
  • July 2-3
  • August 6-7
  • September 3-4
  • October 1-2
  • November 5-6
  • December 3-3

Jane Addams Hull House at UIC
800 S. Halsted Chicago, IL 60607-7017
312-413-5353
  • Suggested donation of $5


International Museum of Surgical Science
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60610
312-642-6502
  • Free on Tuesdays


McDonalds #1 Store Museum
400 N. Lee Street Des Plaines, IL 60016
847-297-5022
  • Free daily admission


Naper Settlement
523 S. Webster St. Naperville, IL 60540
630-420-6010
  • Free general admission for Naperville residents. Discounted rate during the winter season (November-March)

Local Historical Societies
These local historical institutions usually have free admission, suggested donation or an extremely low fee which will usually include a tour. Since a majority these institutions are run by volunteers be sure to check what their hours are since sometimes they will only be open certain days of the week to the public.



Nature Museums, Farms & Zoos
Brookfield Zoo
8400 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513
708-688-8000
  • General admission is free in February Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays 


Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022
847-835-5440
  • Free daily admission, parking fees apply


Cantigny
1S151 South Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
630-668-5161
  • Free daily admission, $5 parking


Garfield Park Conservatory
300 North Central Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60624
312-746-5100
  • Free daily admission, street parking available


Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614
312-742-2000
  • Free daily admission, parking fees apply


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614
773-755-5100
  • Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents


The Grove
1421 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL
847-299-6096
  • Free daily admission


Wagner Farm
1510 Wagner Road, Glenview, IL 60026
847-657-1506
  • Free daily admission


***While this list is pretty comprehensive there are a number of museum's that don't advertise free/discounted days but you should definitely be sure to check them out as well because there are some amazing museums in the Chicago area***

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