2019 Museum Free Days: 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 free museum days this spring.

Adler Planetarium
Photo Credit: Adler Planetarium Instagram

Adler Planetarium

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

January: 21-22, 29-31
February: 5-7, 12-14, 18-21, 26-28
April: 2-4, 9-11
June: 3-5, 10-13
September: 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
October: 7-9, 14-16
November: 8, 11
December: 2-3, 7, 12-13

Art Institute of Chicago
Photo Credit: Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

Illinois residents can enjoy free admissions every Thursday 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.

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

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Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is always free.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Similarly to the Art Institute, Chicago Children’s Museum offers free admission all day for children under 15 and for Veterans and Active Duty Military on the first Sunday of every month, from 10 am – 5 pm.

Chicago Children's Museum
Photo Credit: Chicago Children’s Museum Instagram

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday, from 12:30 – 9 pm and on the following Commemorative Days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4th, and July 4th. Free admission for children 18 and under, Active Duty Military, and Veterans.

Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum is free every day. 

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. Children under 5 are also free. 

Field Museum
Photo Credit: Field Museum Instagram

The Field Museum

Here are all the free days for The Field Museum.

January 21
February: Free every day
April 5-7
May 2
June 26-28
August 14, 21, 28
September 4, 11, 18, 25
October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
November 6, 13

Garfield Park Conservatory

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

Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo

Free every day.

Loyola University Museum of Art

This museum is free every Tuesday throughout the year.

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

Museum of Contemporary Art

MCA is free to Illinois residents every single Tuesday. Always free for those under 18, or who are members of the military, police, or fire department. And here’s a secret: year-round general admission is suggested

Museum of Science and Industry

Illinois residents can enjoy free admission on the following days:

January: 7–10, 14–17, 21–24, 28–31
February: 4–7, 11–14, 19–21, 25–28
June 3-5
August 26–28
October 29
November 18

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.

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 museum free days.

Shedd Aquarium

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

January 17-21
February: 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-28
June: 17, 18, 24, 25
August 26-27
September: 3, 4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30
October 1, 2
December 4

Smart Museum of Art

The Smart Museum of Art is always free.


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  • che50@yahoo.com'
    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?

  • laurenpinkston8@gmail.com'
    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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