Free Museums in Chicago in 2020

Are you looking to find out which museums in Chicago are free in 2020?  We love to go inside the Chicago museums, many of whom are offering free days during the whole year of 2020.  IF FREE means you can have more fun and stretch that wallet, then Chicago is the place to be. Filled with FREE museums and galleries, free tours, free parks and beaches, and free festivals and events, our beloved Chicago can easily keep you busy every day of the year. Let’s start with all the FREE museums in Chicago this year.    Check out our list below and enjoy and fun family FREE activities!


Adler Planetarium

Free general admission for Illinois residents on the following dates:

January 7-9, 20-22
February 4-6, 11-13, 17-20
March 9-12
April 20-23
May 10-16
June 2, 9, 16
August 22-23, 31
September 1-4
October 12-15
November 11, 17-19
December 4-6


The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago residents under the age of 18 can get into this museum for free any time. Children age 14 years and younger are always free. Illinois residents of any age can also enjoy free admission year-round on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m.  Check out the blue Chagall windows while you are there



The Block Museum of Art in Evanston – Free Tuesdays to Sundays


Busy Beaver Button Museum
Free admission: Open Monday-Friday 10 AM-4 PM. 3407 W Armitage Avenue.
The only museum you’ll find dedicated to the colorful world of buttons is located right in Chicago. Think about buttons as a little flashback in time that encapsulates very specific moments in history and culture. The gallery walls are lined with glass-enclosed display cases sporting pinback buttons by category. There’s Chicago-centric buttons: Chicago Bears and Bozo the Clown are both represented. Political buttons that sport flashy slogans and bold graphics: “We Don’t Want Eleanor Either!” and “The Grin Will Win – Jimmy Carter for President” are two. Plus beer and entertainment button categories where Zorro, Big Bird, and a Budweiser Clydesdale all make appearances.


Charnley-Persky House Museum – Free on Wednesdays —  FREE guided tours are offered every Wednesday at 12 Noon. Tours are limited to 15 guests, first-come, first-served.


Chicago Botanic Garden
Admission is always free! Check the garden’s website for seasonal hours.
1000 Lake Cook Rd. – Glencoe, IL


Chicago Children’s Museum
Admission is free for kids 15 and under all day on the first Sunday of every month.
700 E. Grand Ave. – Downtown/Navy Pier


Chicago Cultural Center

Admission is always free along with tours. Music concerts, film screenings, lectures, theater, and dance — all free — fill up the daily schedule, but it’s the constant rotation of smartly-curated art exhibitions that keep the halls fresh with every visit. Big names like Norman Lewis, Keith Haring, and other have been featured in galleries here, alongside incredible local Chicago and Midwest artists.


Chicago Design Museum
Free admission: Open Tuesday-Saturday 12 PM-7 PM. Block Thirty Seven, 108 N State Street, 3rd Floor.
Shopping and entertainment center Block 37 takes up a full city block in the downtown Loop. Upping the cultural factor in this mega complex is a museum small in size, but big in creativity. Think about design with an acute lens, but in the broader context of different disciplines and cultures. For example, past exhibits have explored paper as a medium in the digital age; looked at architecture from Ireland; and covered the narrative of Detroit from a socio-economic perspective.


Chicago History Museum

The Museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday* from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.,​ Mondays and Wednesdays in January from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Museum admission is free for Illinois residents on Commemorative Days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4, and July 4. *Excludes May 12th and Tuesdays in July and August. Illinois resident children 18 and under are admitted free.

chicago history museum free days 1


Clarke House Museum – CHICAGO’S OLDEST HOUSE – Free on Wednesdays


DePaul Art Museum
Check out this really cool college museum — Admission is always free at the university’s on-campus art museum!
935 W. Fullerton Ave. – Lincoln Park


DuSable Museum of African American History

The museum offers free admission every Tuesday. Children under 5 get free admission.


Field Museum

Admission is free for Illinois residents on the following dates:

January 15, 20, 22, 29
February 1-29



Glessner House Museum: – Free on Wednesdays


Heritage Museum of Asian Art
Heritage Museum of Asian Art is free and open to the public. Donate to the museum to help keep its admission free to everyone!
218 W. 26th St. – Chinatown


International Museum of Surgical Science
Admission is FREE at the IMSS on the following days this year:
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. – Lincoln Park
January 13-17, 20-24
February 3-7, 10-13, 17-21
November 30
December 1-4, 7-11, 14-18


Leather Archives & Museum
Admission is free every Thursday for those who are 18+.
6418 N. Greenview Ave. – Rogers Park


Illinois Holocaust Museum

Admission is free on the 20th of every month.


Lincoln Park Zoo

Admission is always free.


walking through Lincoln Park Zoo


The Money Museum
Free admission: Open Monday-Friday 8:30 AM-5 PM. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 S LaSalle Street.
The stately Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is home to the Fed’s Money Museum. You can take a selfie with a million dollars in cash, or spot the counterfeit bills. Try to join one of the daily guided tours (also free) to load up on cool factoids.


Loyola University Museum of Art
Free to the public every Tuesday.
820 Michigan Ave. – Streeterville


Museum of Contemporary Art

Illinois residents get free admission every Tuesday. Children 18 and under and MCA members are admitted for free.

free teen admission to MCA museum of contemporary art chicago


Museum of Science and Industry

Admission is free for Illinois residents on the following dates:

January 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30
February 3-6, 10-13, 18-20, 24-27


National Museum of Mexican Art

Admission is always free.


Shedd Aquarium

Illinois residents get free admission on the following dates:

January 16-20
February 3-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28
June 15, 16, 22, 23
August 24, 25
September 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
October 5, 6, 7

free days shedd aquarium chicago

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