Free days for Chicago museums


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. You're on your own in the gift shop.

Free days can change at the last minute, so ALWAYS call first to confirm before heading out to the museums.

Check out our complete guide to Chicagoland's museums featuring reviews, upcoming exhibits and tailored tours for little feet.

Love this? Want more? Sign up now for our e-newsletters and get more great content just like this sent straight to your inbox.



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 a free admission to The Art Institute of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, the Chicago History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Shedd Aquarium. One per cardholder, so it won't be free for the entire family (unless each of your children have a B of A credit card), but a free adult admission is nothing to sneeze at.

Check out Bank of America website.


Adler Planetarium

January: 6-13, 16-20

February: 6-10, 20-24

April: 22

June: 5-9


John G. Shedd Aquarium

January: 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 27-31

February: 6-7, 10-14, 21, 27-28

June: 5-6, 12-13

August: 28-29

September: 5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26

October: 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-26, 30-31

November: 6-7, 13-14, 20-21


The Field Museum

June: 21-23

August: 10, 28, 31

September: 10, 11, 23, 24

October: 9, 22, 23, 31

November: 12, 19

December: 3, 24


Museum of Science and Industry

January: 10-12, 16-19, 24-26, 31

February: 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28

June: 5-9, 12

September: 5-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29

October: 2-5


Art Institute of Chicago

Weekdays, Jan. 9-Feb. 16

Free for Illinois residents 5-8 p.m. Thursdays. Kids 13 and under are always free.



Museum of Contemporary Art

Free 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays for Illinois residents; kids 18 and under are always free (starting June 1, 2017).

Free the second Saturday of the month (October-May) for families with kids 12 and under.




Chicago History Museum

Free 12:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays (starting Jan. 3)

July: 4


Chicago Children's Museum

Free 5-8 p.m. Thursdays and the first Sunday of every month for kids 15 and under. Always free to kids under 1.


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

January: 9-13

Free Thursdays for Illinois residents. Kids under 3 are always free.


Midway Village Museum

May: 25

June: 8, 22

July: 23, 27

August: 10, 24

September: 7, 14


Joliet Area Historical Museum

October: 10

November: 25


Midwest Museum of Natural History

Free the first Wednesday and Thursday of every month.

May: 24

June: 1, 7, 13

July: 5, 6, 11

August: 2-3, 8, 30

September: 5-8, 12-15



Fischer Farm

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays.


Copyright 2017 Wednesday Journal Inc. All rights reserved. Chicago web development by liQuidprint