Free Chicago Museum Days – Summer 2015 {and Free Printable Calendar}

Free Chicago Museum Days - Summer 2015 #Chicago #Free

Chicago has some amazing museums so why not spend summer break exploring all that they have to offer? Admission can get expensive, so here’s a list of days that local museums, zoos, and gardens offer free admission. Please keep in mind that most free days only apply to Illinois residents with valid identification and only apply to general admission, not special exhibits or events.

To help you plan for summer vacation, I’ve included a free 3-month calendar of all free museum days this summer. Print it out and stick it on your refrigerator! Scroll to the bottom to download it now.

Adler Planetarium – June 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, & 12

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Free daily

Art Institute of Chicago – Every Thursday evening from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm

Brookfield Zoo – No free days in until October

Cantigny Park – Free admission daily; $5 parking ($2 parking after 4:00 pm)

Chicago Botanic Garden – Free admission daily; $25 parking on weekdays, $30 on weekends

Chicago Children’s Museum – Every Thursday evening from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm

Chicago History Museum – July 4, August 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, & 31, September 1, 2, 3

Cosley Zoo – Free daily for all Wheaton Park District residents and for children 17 and under

DuSable Museum of African American History – Every Sunday

Field Museum – June 4, 5, & 8, August 11, 12, & 13, September 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, & 20

Garfield Park Conservatory – Free daily

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden (Rockford) – First Tuesday of each month (although donations are appreciated)

Lincoln Park Conservatory – Free daily

Lincoln Park Zoo – Free daily

Morton Arboretum – Discounted admission on Wednesdays

Museum of Contemporary Art – Tuesdays

Museum of Science & Industry – June 1-5 & 8, September 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, & 30

National Museum of Mexican Art – Free admission daily

Oak Park Conservatory – Free admission daily; donations are accepted ($2 per person is recommended)

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum – Thursdays are free, but donations are suggested

Shedd Aquarium – June 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, & 16, September 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, & 29

Swedish American Museum – Second Tuesday of every month

Chicago Public Library branches have passes to several different museums through the Kids Museum Passports that Chicago residents can check out for free. Residents of many suburbs can get free admission with the Museum Adventure Pass at their local library.

Download a free 3-month calendar with all the free museum days on it:

Free Museum Days Summer 2015 calendar

Click here to download: Free Museum Days Summer 2015 Calendar


  1. Rukayat Kaffo says:


  2. Joanna Dillard says:

    You might want to note that some places are free for IL residents ONLY. I know for sure that the Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, and Shed Aquarium are only free for people who live in IL and have proof of residency.

  3. Mandy Tanses says:

    I live in Northwest Indiana and have spent many years commuting and working in Chicago and Park Ridge, IL. So, I have spent lots of money and contributed to the Chicago economy for many years, but I can’t have the same benefits of someone that lives 200 or so miles away in Illinois somewhere? That stinks.

    • Hi Mandy,
      Thanks for commenting. I don’t have any control over the museums, I just report the dates. I know that a lot of the museums limit free days to Illinois residents as a “thank you” to the residents because they receive funding from state taxes. This isn’t unique to Illinois; most states have museums and attractions that offer free days only to their state’s residents. As a resident of Indiana, you have access to free days at museums in Indiana residents do not.

  4. Mandy Tanses says:

    consider including residents of Northwest Indiana.

    • Northwest Indiana should consider leaving Indiana and joining Illinois. We could use the tax revenue.

  5. Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) is FREE to the public on Tuesdays! The museum is also free to students every day. Come one come all!

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