Things to do in Chicago

Mark your calendars: Here are the free Chicago museum days this summer

Several Chicago-area attractions have announced dozens of free admission days in the coming months and beyond

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Illinois residents will get plenty of chances to visit some of Chicago's most popular attractions and museums this summer - without paying a penny.

Several Chicago-area attractions, including the Shedd Aquarium and The Field Museum, have announced dozens of free admission days through the summer months, and then some.

Note that the Lincoln Park Zoo, in Chicago, is always free.

Here's a full list of summer free days at museums and attractions in and around Chicago.

Art Institute

Illinois residents can visit the Art Institute Chicago for free on Thursday evenings between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., June 6 through Sept. 26.

According to the Art Institute website, free tickets can be reserved in advance. Parking fees may apply.

Admission for Illinois Pre-K–12 teachers, teaching artists working in schools, and homeschool parents is always free, the museum said. Admission is also free for active-duty members, kids under 14 and Chicago teens.

Adler Planetarium

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.

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Gardens, located in suburban Glencoe, is offering the following free days through the end of 2024:

June: 11, 13, 19

July: 9, 11

August: 6, 8

September: 10, 12

October: 1, 2, 14

November: 4-8, 11, 12

December: 9-15

More information can be found here.

Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum has announced the following free days for summer 2024:

June: 19, 23, 26, 29

July: 4, 17

August: 28

According to officials, the museum is always free for active duty Chicago police and firefighters, Illinois teachers, residents under 18 and all children under 12.

DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

The museum offers free admission every Wednesday, but online booking is required.

Field Museum

According to a press release, admission to the Field Museum will be free on Wednesdays throughout 2024 for Illinois residents.

Those residents will be required to provide proof of residency to obtain free admission. Those tickets will only be available on-site, and cannot be reserved online, according to Field Museum officials.

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 story time sessions, science experiments and more.

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

Griffin Museum of Science and Industry

Illinois residents can receive free admission to the museum, formerly known as the Museum of Science and Industry, on June 6 and 19.

More information about reserving a ticket in advance can be found here.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Illinois residents can visit the MCA for free every Tuesday. Additionally, the MCA is always free for visitors under 18, and has a pay-what-you-can police.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium has the following free days listed for Illinois residents:

Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 4, 11, 18 and 25.

According to the museum, there is a $5 convenience fee per order for Free Day reservations made online. Tickets can be reserved by phone with no convenience fee.

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