Free Chicago Museum Days – Winter 2018

Lincoln Park Zoo - Free Chicago Museum Days Winter 2018

Wow. It’s been cold lately. Hibernation is one option, but if you’re getting some cabin fever it’s a good time to plan some outings to local museums and attractions. Below is a list of free Chicago admission days so you can save a little cash while enjoying some of the best attractions in the country.

Please keep in mind that most free admission days are offered only to Illinois residents and usually include general admission only, with certain exhibits and experiences available for a fee.


Adler Planetarium
 – January 3, 4, 7-12, 15-19 and February 2, 5-9, 19-22, 2018.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool – Free daily

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

Brookfield Zoo – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays through February 28, 2018.

Cantigny Park – Free admission; $5 parking. Please note that Cantigny is closed through January and on weekdays in February. Beginning in March, parking is free the first Wednesday of each month.

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 9:00 p.m. (except January 2 & 9). Also free 12:30 – 9:00 pm on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4. Children ages 12 and younger are always free.

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 – January 3, 4, 15, 27, & 28, and February 1-28.

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 – January 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-31, February 1, 5-8, 12-15, 20-22, 26-27, March 14

National Museum of Mexican Art – Free admission daily

Oak Park Conservatory – Free admission daily; donations are accepted ($5 per person is recommended)

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

Shedd Aquarium – January 15, 18, 19, 22-26, and February 2 & 14.

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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