Free Days at FREE Chicago Museums in 2024

Check out this MEGA-list of all the Free Chicago Museums and all the Free Days at Chicago Museums in 2024.   This is your #1 resource for Free Days at Chicago Museums in 2024 so here is the complete first quarter 2024 schedule of free museums, with free days and free admissions! Make sure to check out a number of Free Days at Chicago Museums in 2024 at Chicago area museums.  Check out the freebies at Millennium Park, an extraordinary testament and home to world-class art, music, architecture and landscape design.   Take your kids to the Chicago Children’s Museum, with three floors of engaging and educational exhibits.   Enjoy one of the world’s greatest art collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, especially when free on Thursday evenings.




We love Chicago’s FREE museums, many of which host free days in 2024!  There are free admission days in 2024 at the Art Institute of Chicago,  Notebaert Nature Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chicago Children’s Museum.


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Di you know that Chicago is home to some of the best museums and exhibits in the world?  With all that is going on in the economy, we know that getting to take in a day at one of these world-famous institutions in Chicago can put a big dent in your bank account. Luckily for locals, the many museums and attractions in the Windy City habitually announce Illinois resident-free days throughout the year.

free-chicago-museums-July 2015

Visitors may love visiting Chicago and continue to take advantage of great discounted admission offers in 2024 that include special prices for seniors, children, educators, active-duty military personnel, museum members and others. Check individual museums’ websites for details. We also know that Chicago is home to a vital, vast and varied Theatre District where you can enjoy everything from traveling Broadway hits to outstanding holiday plays from up and coming Chicago theater companies.


The first thing you must know about all the free museum days in Chicago is that the discount typically only applies to Illinois residents.   However, admission at many museums is free or discounted for active U.S. military personnel and veteransIllinois POWsChicago firefightersChicago police officersstudents, and Illinois teachers and home school parents. So if any of those apply to you, ask at the ticket booth and bring a valid occupational I.D.Children and their families can also access free admission to several museums through a Kid Museum Passport from their local Chicago Public Library!

Art Institute FREE DAYS

Admission at the Art Institute Chicago is free for Illinois residents on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays Jan. 8 through Mar. 22, 2024.

  • Free Admission for Illinois Residents – Admission is free for Illinois residents on weekdays (Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays), January 8–March 22, 2024.  If you reserve your free tickets online in advance, your resident status will be verified using the zip code associated with the billing address provided. If you’re unable to reserve tickets in advance, please stop by the admissions desks on the day of your visit for assistance.
  • Illinois Educators – Free admission is available to current Illinois educators, including pre-K–12 teachers, teaching artists working in schools, and homeschool parents. Educators can register online to receive a voucher for a complimentary ticket to the museum. This voucher must be presented—as a printed document or on a smartphone—with a valid educator ID at one of the museum’s admission counters.
  • Chicago Public Library—Explore More Illinois Digital Pass – Chicago Public Library cardholders 18 and older can log in at to reserve free general admission passes to the museum through Explore More Illinois. Please note that this offer is valid only for Chicago Public Library cardholders.

According to the Art Institute website, free tickets can be reserved in advance.

NOTE that Museum admission is always free for:

  • children under 14,
  • students of colleges and universities in the University Partner Program – they are entitled to free general and special exhibition admission by showing a valid student ID at the ticket counter.
  • Chicago teens under the age of 18, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Glenn and Claire Swogger and the Redbud Foundation.
  • LINK and WIC cardholders and anyone in their households receive free general admission to the museum and all ticketed special exhibitions. Simply present your card along with a valid photo ID.

These free tickets are available online as well as on-site at the admissions counters. Parking fees may apply. Here’s more information.


Adler Planetarium FREE DAYS

The Adler Planetarium is FREE to Illinois residents every Wednesday evening from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.   According to the museum, the Planetarium is always free for Illinois teachers.  Here is the website information:

  • The Adler Planetarium is free for Illinois residents (with proof of residency) every Wednesday evening from 4:00 pm–10:00 pm. Stop by after work or school, or for date night and enjoy everything the Adler has to offer at night, for free as part of our Illinois Resident Discount Days program.
  • Reserve your free Museum Entry tickets and add on any sky shows for the full experience! Illinois residents may upgrade to a Museum Entry +2 pass at a discounted price and gain access to any of our breathtaking sky shows. You’ll be given an option to do this upon checkout. All tickets must be purchased online and in advance. All sales are final. Proof of residency will be required upon checkout. To show proof of residency, you can use a valid Illinois driver’s license or photo ID, Illinois student ID with photo, or a photo ID plus a document (utility bill, lease, etc.) that shows your name and Illinois address.



Brookfield Zoo FREE DAYS

Brookfield Zoo, located at 8400 31st St. in suburban Brookfield The zoo is offering free admission on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from now through February. This also includes admission to the Hamill Family Play Zoo and Wild Encounters.

Guests can visit some of the animals embracing the colder temperatures including polar bears, snow leopards, Amur tigers, and the Zoo’s 1-year-old brown bear siblings, Tim and Jess. The Brookfield Zoo joins the list of places offering free admission along with the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum.

More information can be found on the zoo’s website.

. Parking fees, which begin at $17, still apply, the Zoo said.


Chicago History Museum FREE DAYS

The Chicago History Museum has announced that Illinois residents can receive free admission on the following days in 2024:

Jan. 15 – 19, 23 – 26, 30 – 31, 2024
Feb. 1 – 2, 6 – 9, 13 – 16, 19 – 23, 27 – 29, 2024
March  12, 27-28

Admission is always free for active duty military and veterans, active duty Chicago police and firefighters, Illinois teachers, Illinois residents under age 18, and all children under 12.


Chicago Children’s Museum FREE DAYS

The Chicago Children’s Museum offers veterans and active military free admission every day with the presentation of valid military status identification. Chicago Children’s Museum is a proud Museums for All partner. We offer families that qualify for state food assistance and are in possession of an EBT card or WIC card $3 admission per person for up to 6 people when identification is presented in the general admission line. We accept EBT cards or WIC cards from every U.S. state and territory.


DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center FREE DAYS

The DuSable Museum is proud of its diverse holdings that number more than 15,000 pieces and include paintings, sculpture, print works and historical memorabilia. Special exhibitions, workshops and lectures are featured to highlight works by particular artists, historical events or collections on loan from individuals or institutions.  The museum offers free admission every Wednesday, but online booking is required.

From the website:

DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center is free to visit on Wednesdays. We also give free admission to military and to first responders. That means Police, Fire, EMT’s. With valid ID.


Field Museum FREE DAYS

Admission to the Chicago Field Museum will be free on Wednesdays throughout 2024 for Illinois residents.

    • Free Wednesdays are the perfect opportunity for you to explore our general admission exhibitions with your family or a group of science-loving friends. Adventure through the wilderness on a desert safari, explore ancient civilizations, and come face-to-face with prehistoric creatures— all in one place. The Field Museum has so much to explore, you’ll need more than just a day to see it all. But don’t worry; for Illinois Residents, every Wednesday in 2024 is free.
    • Tickets for Free Wednesdays are only available to Illinois residents on-site and cannot be reserved in advance. Please ask a Visitor Services staff member for the special offer and show your Illinois proof of residency. You cannot take advantage of Free Days when buying tickets online.
    • Basic admission is complimentary for active military personnel and Illinois teachers (pre-K through 12th grade). Please show your employee or military status ID when purchasing tickets at the museum. You cannot take advantage of this special offer when buying tickets online
    • PLEASE NOTE:  Families who qualify for state food assistance can receive $3-per-person Basic admission for up to six people. Just show an EBT (Link) or WIC card when you purchase tickets at the museum. You cannot take advantage of this special offer when buying tickets online.

Another offering geared toward children will also be available on the free admission days, according to officials. Kids between the ages of 2-to-6 can participate in PlayLab PlayDates each week. Those activities are free and won’t require advanced registration.   The events will feature storytime sessions, science experiments and more.

More information can be found HERE.


Illinois Holocaust Museum FREE DAYS

The Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie offers free admission to all on the last Friday of January, February, and March in 2024. Reserve your Free Day tickets >>

  • Museums For All – Please present your Link card/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card with matching photo ID for free admission (plus up to 3 guests).
  • North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association – If you are a member of a participating NARM institution, please present your membership card with NARM sticker for complimentary admission.
  • Retired/active Military personnel (Blue Star Museums) – Please present your Military ID for a 50% discount on admission (plus up to 5 family members).
  • Visitors with disabilities – Eligible for a 50% discount.

Get more information here.


Museum of Contemporary Art FREE DAYS

Illinois residents can visit the MCA for FREE every Tuesday.   Admission is also free every day for:

  • Illinois elementary and high school teachers. Simply present a valid teacher ID at the admissions desk. If you’re planning on visiting with your class, please visit our School programs page for more information.
  • Visitors with disabilities and their caregivers.
  • Active members of the military and veterans, police, and fire departments with ID.
  • Anyone 18 and under.
  • MCA Members.


Museum of Science and Industry FREE DAYS

Come out and enjoy this wonderful Chicago Science and Industry museum on their 2024 free admission days, including 23 FREE DAYS in January, February and April 2024 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago ! The MSI’s ongoing mission has been to inspire the inventive genius in visitors with world-class, permanent and temporary exhibits 

Illinois residents receive free Museum Entry1 on these upcoming dates:

January 2024 22-24, 28-31
February 5-8, 11-15, 20-22, 26-29
April 21


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum FREE DAYS

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum offers weekly Donation Days every Thursday the museum is open for Illinois residents. Visitors can enjoy free admission during these Donation Days or support the museum with a $10 suggested household donation at the time of admission.

Admission is always free for active-duty service members with ID and their families, Illinois teachers, and children under three.


Shedd Aquarium FREE DAYS

The Shedd is offering free admission on the following dates for Illinois residents, though tickets must be reserved online before your visit:

  • Jan. 9-16, 23-25, Jan. 30-31
  • Feb. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29

The Shedd also has free admission on the following Tuesday evenings, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.:

March 5, 12, 19, 26
April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
May 7, 14, 21, 28
June 4, 11, 18, 25


Swedish American Museum FREE DAYS

Free admission is offered every second Tuesday of the month year-round at the Swedish American Museum. Children aged 1 year or younger are admitted free.


These Chicago museums offer free admission to everyone all year long:

  • National Museum of Mexican Art
  • National Museum Of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
  • Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • 21C Museum Hotel Chicago
  • Smart Museum of Art
  • Hyde Park Art Center
  • Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

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