Free Museum Days – Winter 2016

Free Museum Days - Winter 2016New year, new chance to explore the city! Winter is a great time to visit Chicago museums because there aren’t the same crowds as in the summer and lots of them offer more free days during the winter months. Add these dates to your calendar and plan some family outings!

Most free days only apply to Illinois residents with valid identification and only apply to general admission, not special exhibits or events.

Adler Planetarium – January 4-8, 11, 12, 15, 18-22, 25-29 and February 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Free daily

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

Brookfield Zoo – Free on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from January 1-February 28

Cantigny Park – Free admission daily; $5 parking on weekdays, $10 parking on weekends

Chicago Botanic Garden – Free admission daily; $25 parking for cars, $30 for vans

Chicago Children’s Museum – Every Thursday evening from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm (** NOTE: The CCM is closed on January 19 & 20)

Chicago History Museum – Free Monday-Friday through January and February 2016 (** Note: The CHM is closed on January 13)

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 – January 3, 13, 18, 23, 24, and February 1-29

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 through March

Museum of Contemporary Art – Tuesdays

Museum of Science & Industry – January 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, and February 29

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 – January 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 22-26, and February 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 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.


  1. Kalli kobler says:

    Just recently moved to Elgin not too sure of what Chicago has to offer looking forward to exploring our new city

  2. Do you have the free days for March and April?

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Any news for May and June, yet?
    Thanks a bunch!

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