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These Chicago museums will grant free admission in 2019

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Some museums have dedicated free days or waive admission weekly

The exterior of a museum building. The facade is stone and the entryway is arched. There is a lawn with trees in front of the museum. There is a sculpture of a woman and child on the lawn.
DuSable Museum of African American History
Carmen Troesser

The museums in Chicago cover an endless variety of fascinating exhibits—obscure histories, landmark homes, and Impressionist painting collections. There’s nothing like stepping into the cavernous Field Museum entrance hall, wandering through the Modern Wing at the Art Institute, or admiring the Tiffany dome at the Cultural Center.

If you’re an Illinois resident there are a handful of days throughout the year when admission is free at a handful of the city’s museums. But even out-of-towners have options too, there are a number of institutions that are free all day, everyday such as the National Museum of Mexican Art or the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Traveling with kids? Get a Chicago Public Library card and you’ll be able to check out free passes for 19 museums. Plus, there are a ton of other things to do in Chicago with kids.

Take a look at the list of scheduled Illinois Resident Discount Days below and we’ll continually add dates as they are announced throughout 2019.

Adler Planetarium

June 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

Field Museum

June 26-28

Museum of Science and Industry

August 26–28

Shedd Aquarium

June 17, 18, 24, 25
August 26-27
September 3, 4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 30
October 1, 2
December 4

Not all museums have Illinois Resident Discount Days, but the ones listed below have free admission regularly:

The Art Institute of Chicago

Every Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. general admission is free for Illinois residents. Anyone under the age of 18 gets in for free too.

Charnley Persky House Museum

Free 45-minute tours at noon on Wednesdays year round.

Clarke House Museum

Free all year round and guided tours Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Children’s Museum at Navy Pier

Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. are free as well as the first Sunday of every month. Kids under the age of 15 are free.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Completely free.

Chicago Cultural Center

Free entrance always and free on-the-spot tours too.

Chicago History Museum

Every Tuesday from 12:30 to 9 p.m. admission is free except on January 2, January 9, December 18 and December 25. Other free days include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4 and July 4.

If you’re a member of the museum, or a member at DuSable Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art or the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture you can get in for free. As a member of the US Armed Services, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department or Illinois teachers, free admission is given too.

DePaul Art Museum

Free for anyone.

DuSable Museum of African American History

Every Tuesday admission is free for everyone. Military personnel also receive free admission.

Glessner House Museum

Admission is free on Wednesdays.

International Museum of Surgical Science

Admission is waived for Illinois Residents on Tuesdays.

Jane Addams Hull House Museum

Admission is free for UIC faculty, students, and staff.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Free entrance all year long.

Loyola University Museum of Public Art

Free all the time.

McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum

Every Sunday is free while the museum is open from May to October. Children under 5 get in for free.

Museum of Contemporary Art

On Tuesdays admission is free for Illinois residents.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Free admission for all.

National Hellenic Museum

Bank of America cardholders receive one free admission on the first full weekend of every month.

National Museum of Mexican Art

Free admission everyday for anyone.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

Free admission and parking.

National Veterans Art Museum

Free admission year round for everyone.

Swedish American Museum

Every second Tuesday of the month is free all year. Members and kids under 1 get in for free.