2020 Museum Free Days in Chicago: The Complete List

Hold onto your hard-earned savings.

While Chicago is springing forward with warmer days, museums everywhere are giving us reason to get out of the house. Big names and lesser-known galleries alike are opening their doors to the public for a much-needed change of pace. Here’s the complete list of 2020 free museum days in Chicago this spring.

Adler Planetarium
Photo Credit: Adler Planetarium Instagram

Adler Planetarium

Throughout the year, Alder Planetarium host plenty of free museum days in Chicago for America’s first planetarium. Take note that this is only free for Illinois residents.

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January 7-9, 20-22
February 4-6, 11-13, 17-20
March 9-12
April 20-23
May 10-16
June 2, 9, 16
August 22-23, 31
September 1-4
October 12-15
November 11, 17-19
December 4-6

Art Institute of Chicago

Illinois residents can enjoy free admissions to this Chicago museum every Wednesday from 5 – 8 pm. Overall, children under 14, Chicago teens under 18, and Active duty military along with their family are given free access any day! Throw in cheap parking and you’ve got yourself a day to remember.

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Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo is free to all every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout January and February.


The Chicgoa
Photo Credit: The Chicago Theatre

View the Top 10 Theaters in Chicago

Are you trying to find the best theaters in Chicago to visit? View our list of the top 10 theaters in the city.

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View the Top 10 Theaters in Chicago


Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is always free.

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Chicago Children’s Museum

This is a free museum in Chicago that does not charge admission fees for children under 15 on the first Sunday of every month, from 10 am – 5 pm. This museum is free every single day for Veterans and Active Duty Military Members.

Chicago Cultural Center

Almost everything at the Chicago Cultural Center is free year-round, with the exception of few events.

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Chicago Fed’s Money Museum

Free admission all year-round.

Chicago History Museum
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday, from 2 – 9 pm. They also host free museum days in Chicago on the following Commemorative Days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4, and July 4.

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Free admission always for children under 18, members of the Chicago History Museum, all active-duty military and veterans, members of the Chicago Police Department, members of the Chicago Fire Department, Illinois teachers, Pre-Registered School Field Trips, Park Voyagers, and Kids Museum Passport Holders.

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum is free every day. 

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Design Museum of Chicago

You can walk through this unique museum for free any day of the year, or give their suggested donation of $5.

DePaul Art Museum

The DePaul Art Museum is free every day.

DuSable Museum of African American History

Every Tuesday throughout the year, The DuSable Museum of African American History offers free admission to its Chicago museum. Children under 5 and DuSable members are also free. 

Field Museum
Photo Credit: Field Museum Instagram

The Field Museum

Here are the current free days for Illinois residents at The Field Museum:

January 8, 15, 20, 22, 29
February: Free every day

Stay tuned for more free days this year!

Garfield Park Conservatory

Open every day of the week. Free every day of the week.

International Museum of Surgical Science

This hauntingly beautiful institution has full WEEKS of free admission. Don’t miss out:

Monday, January 13, 2020 – Friday, January 17, 2020
Monday, January 20, 2020 – Friday, January 24, 2020
Monday, February 3, 2020 – Friday, February 7, 2020
Monday, February 10, 2020 – Thursday, February 13, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020 – Friday, February 21, 2020
Monday, November 30, 2020 – Friday, December 4, 2020
Monday, December 7, 2020 – Friday, December 11, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020 – Friday, December 18, 2020

Lincoln Park Zoo

Free to everyone every day.

Loyola University Museum of Art

This museum is free every day, open Wednesday – Sunday. 

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

Open seasonally from May through November, with free admission every Sunday.

Museum of Contemporary Art
Photo Credit: Museum of Contemporary Art Facebook

Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art provides free museum days in Chicago every single Tuesday for Illinois residents. Always free for those under 18, MCA members, or who are members of the military, police, or fire department. And here’s a secret: year-round general admission is suggested

Museum of Contemporary Photography

A well-hidden gem, well worth a visit, this Columbia College art museum is free year-round.

Museum of Science and Industry

Illinois residents can enjoy free admission on the following days:

January: 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30
February: 3-6, 10-13, 18-20, 24-27

Stay tuned for more free days this year!

Museum of Mexican Art
National Museum of Mexican Art Facebook

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art is always free.

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture

This museum is always free, open Tuesday – Friday from 10 am – 5:00 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am – 2 pm.

National Veterans Art Museum

Free 365 days of the year, but a donation is suggested. 

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Photo Credit: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Instagram

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

While Thursdays are technically free to Illinois residents, a suggested donation helps keep things running smoothly during 2020 museum free days.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd offers plenty of free days throughout the remainder of the year. 

January 16-20
February 3-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28
June 15, 16, 22, 23

Smart Museum of Art

The Smart Museum of Art is always free. Currently closed for renovations until February 7, 2020. 

 

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7 Comments

  • Avatar
    Freida Frig
    Posted Jan 5, 2020 1:45 pm 0Likes

    What do I need to bring for ID’s for my grandchildren ? I don’t typically let them or me carry too much ?
    Thank you

  • Avatar
    Nicole Robertson
    Posted Jan 5, 2020 11:06 am 0Likes

    Adding a weblink for the individual institutions would make this article even better than it already is (which is pretty great!).

  • Avatar
    Kathy Anderson
    Posted Jan 5, 2020 10:24 am 0Likes

    It should have been mentioned that while the Chicago Botanic Garden has free entry, you have to pay for parking unless you’re a member.

  • Avatar
    Amy
    Posted Jan 4, 2020 12:39 pm 0Likes

    Student IDs will also work

  • Avatar
    Linda
    Posted Mar 17, 2019 6:40 pm 0Likes

    I am a resident of Chicago but do not have an Illinois drivers license.
    Can I bring another form of ID?

  • Avatar
    lauren
    Posted Jan 13, 2016 8:20 pm 0Likes

    Do they check IDs at the door? I’m a student in Illinois, but my drivers license is from Missouri. I just wanted to make sure I’ll be okay.

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