Fall in the city is gorgeous. Enjoy the sites and take advantage of FREE admission at the museums!
As always, days can change and residency restrictions may apply to listed dates. Be sure to check the museum’s pages before heading out. Also, remember the other low-cost alternatives to visiting some of our area’s great museums, the Museum Adventure pass, is 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 9-16, October 8, 21, 24, 25 and November 11, 12, 14, 15
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: Family after Dark Sci-Fi & Fantasy Adventure September 28. Harness your imagination and creativity and join us at the Adler Planetarium as we dive deep into a world of fantasy and science fiction! Admission includes after hours full access, hands-on activities, and live entertainment.
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago | (312) 857-7161
Free admission Thursday evenings, 5:00-8:00 p.m. Admission is always free for kids younger than 13. At the 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)
Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E Grand Avenue, 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.
1899 W. Winchester Road, Libertyville, IL 60048 | (847) 968-3400
Tuesdays are Discount Days – Children younger than 17 are free (with an adult) and adults are only $3!
The first and third Thursday of the month, the museum stays open until 8:00 p.m. with family activities and free admission (after 5:00 p.m.) courtesy of USG.
Take a look inside this brand new museum in our review.
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | (312) 922-9410
Free Admission Days: September 15-17, 30 October 8, 21, 28, 31 and November 11, 18
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: Maximo the Titanosaur The titanosaur is the biggest dinosaur that scientists have discovered. It is now on display in the Great Hall.
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Avenue, 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 4-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30 and November 12
Homeschoolers get free admission anytime.
Don’t Miss: The Science Behind Pixar. Get a unique look into the Pixar process and explore the science and technology behind your children’s favorite films. Additional fees apply ($14 adults and $11 children ages 3-11)
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago | (312) 939-2438
Free Admission: September 4-30 and October 3, 10 – you can now reserve your free tickets online.
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?