Fall in the city is gorgeous. Enjoy the sites and take advantage of FREE admission and spend day in the city.
As always, days can change and residency restrictions may apply. Be sure to check the museum’s pages before heading out. Also remember the other low-cost alternatives to visiting some of our areas great museums, the Museum Adventure pass, available free at your local library!
FREE Days at Chicago Museums
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive., Chicago | (312) 922-STAR (7827)
Free general admission: September 11-17, October 9, October 25-27, November 10, November 15-17 December 4-10
Illinois teachers (pre-K through 12) and active military personnel receive free general admission which can be applied to any admission pass. Please show proper identification at the box office to take advantage of this benefit.
Should you go? Read: Exploring Space with Kids
Don’t Miss: Reel Science– The REEL Science Film Series combines cinematic favorites with science conversations about the film—providing a unique opportunity to discuss the facts vs. the creative liberties taken in Hollywood. Next show is October 6 featuring The Martian.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago | (312) 857-7161
Free admission Thursday Evenings, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Admission is always free for kids younger than 13. Ryan Education Center (enter through the Modern Wing entrance at 159 East Monroe Street) admission is always free!
Should you go? Read: Taking Kids to the Art Institute
Don’t Miss: Picture This: first Thursday of the month in Griffin Court. Listen to children’s picture books in the galleries (for age 18 months- 3 years) The Wreathing of the Lions and Holly Days – Starting November 24.
Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E Grand Ave., Chicago, | (312) 527-1000
FREE for all visitors every Thursday, 5:00-8:00 p.m. FREE on the first Sunday of each month for children 15 and younger. Always free to children younger than one.
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | (312) 922-9410
Discount Days: September 10, 11, 23, and 24, October 9, 22, 23, and 31, November 12 and 19, December 3 and 24
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.Illinois teachers (pre-K through 12) and active military personnel receive free basic admission.
Don’t Miss: Jurassic World: The Exhibition This year, not only can you see real dinosaur fossils inside The Field Museum, you’ll be able to imagine what it would have been like to walk among these breathtaking animals in Jurassic World: The Exhibition.
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago | (312) 280-2660
Free Admission: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Tuesdays. Always free for kids 12 and younger.
Don’t Miss: Stroller Tours take place on the first Wednesday of the month, free with museum admission.
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | (773) 684-1414
Free General Admission: September 11-15, 18-22, and 25-29 October 2-5 Homeschoolers get free admission anytime. Melissa shared tips on making the trip affordable with Mom’s in the Mix.
Don’t Miss: Explore the power of play at Brick by Brick. This exhibit, developed and created by MSI, will feature a spectacular collection of more than a dozen giant LEGO®-built engineering marvels. (requires an additional entry ticket) Or check out the return of the robots at Robot Revolution featuring new robots and hands on features that let your children get up close and personal with robots.
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | (312) 939-2438
Free Admission: September 6 – 30
On our Illinois Resident Discount Days, Illinois residents can enjoy free general admission. This includes the Waters of the World, Amazon Rising, and the Caribbean Reef. Learn about Shedd’s commitment to animal rescue and rehabilitation.
Wildlife Discovery Center
1401 Middlefork Drive (Elawa Farm), Lake Forest
Free Admission during normal visiting hours Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (closed on major holidays) Read why it’s a Little Lake County favorite.
We learned from Chicago Parent that Bank of America card holders get FREE admission to The Art Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, Chicago History Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Shedd Aquarium the first weekend of each month (one free admission per card holder). See the Bank of America Website for More Information.
Which museum will you be visiting this winter?