Free Chicago Museum Days – Fall 2017

Free Chicago Museum Days - Fall 2017 #Chicago #free

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I think fall – especially early fall – is the sweet spot when it comes to visiting museums and other attractions in the Chicago area. Summer tourists are gone, kids are back in school, and school field trips are rare in the beginning of the school year. All this makes it the perfect time to see everything without the crowds. If you’re lucky enough to have kids not in school you can run wild on weekdays. If your kids are in school, take advantage of days off (even weekends are likely to be less busy than they were during the summer months) or visit in the afternoon. Plus, there are PLENTY of free Chicago attraction days for Illinois residents during the fall months so you’ll save some money too.

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



Adler Planetarium – September 11-17, October 9 (Columbus Day), October 25-27, November 10 (Veterans’ Day), November 15-17, December 4-10

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Free daily

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

Brookfield Zoo – Tuesday & Thursdays are free October through December

Cantigny Park – Free admission daily; $5 parking ($10 parking Saturday & Sunday through September & on Labor Day). Free parking on 1st Wednesday of the month through December.

Chicago Botanic Garden – Free admission daily; $25 parking for cars on weekdays, $30 for cars on weekends and for vans any day.

Chicago Children’s Museum – Every Thursday evening from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm. Free admission for children 15 and younger the first Sunday of each month.

Chicago History Museum – Every Tuesday from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. (except December 19 and 27)

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

DuSable Museum of African American History – Every Tuesday

Field Museum – August 28, 31, September 10, 11, 23, 24, October 9, 22, 23, 31, November 12, 19, December 3, 24

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 every Wednesday

Museum of Contemporary Art– Tuesdays. Free admission for families with children 12 and younger on the second Saturday of the month from 11:00 am-3:00 pm through May.

Museum of Science & Industry – September 5-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, October 2-5

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 – August 28 & 29; September 6-30

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.




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