Chicago Museums Offering Free Admission for MLK Day

Museum Campus & more opening their doors to all Chicago residents.

Martin Luther King Day is a little less than a week out (Monday, January 20), and Chicago’s museums are gearing up in a big way. The Adler Planetarium, Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Museum of Science & Industry, and Chicago History Museum are all offering free general admission or events on top of other discounts. Here’s a breakdown on MLK Day by museum.

Adler Planetarium
Photo Credit: The Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium | 1300 S Lake Shore Drive


The Adler is offering free general admission to all Illinois residents on Monday, January 20, so make sure to head to Chicago’s planetarium and explore the wonders of the universe. 

Art Institute of Chicago


Art Institute of Chicago | 111 South Michigan Avenue

The world’s best museum will host a King Day Festival from 10:30 to 3:00. The family-friendly affair includes a performance by the Black Monument Ensemble, visual art by Damon Locks, a dance workshop by Move Me Soul, and spoken word by the Rebirth/Reborn Poetry Ensemble. Families are encouraged to script their own messages of hope and add them to William Estrada’s Mobile Street Art Cart. 


Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium | 1200 S Lake Shore Drive


Chicago’s marine haven is offering free general admission to Illinois residents on MLK Day, so you can enjoy access to all animals and permanent exhibits and the aquatic presentation.

Field Museum


Field Museum | 1400 S Lake Shore Drive

Like the rest of Museum Campus, the Field Museum will open its doors to all Illinois residents for free basic admission on Monday, January 20. Discounted All-Access Passes are also available: $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and students, and $17 for children.


Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science & Industry | 5700 S Lake Shore Drive


Not only is MSI free on Martin Luther King Day, but it’s also free to Illinois residents Monday – Wednesday in January and February. Special exhibits will still require purchase, though they’re relatively cheaper than usual. 

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum | 1601 North Clark Street

Not only is the museum offering free admission, but it’s also remembering the life of Dr. Martin Luther King by hosting a production of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights and a musical performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir. Visitors will also be greeted with storytelling and crafts in remembrance of Dr. King.


Of course, there are also plenty of museums that are already free, both on MLK Day and every other day of the year! Check out our complete list of museum free days to start planning your visit.


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Featured Image Credit: Field Museum