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See Chicago and save! Listed below are some of Chicago's most popular always-free attractions. The Chicago Office of Tourism has assembled for you a handy reference for many of the free activities in Chicago.

Free Attractions in Chicago

Chicago Uptown Beach in the Summer

Chicago Uptown Beach in the Summer

See Chicago and save! Listed below are some of Chicago's most popular always-free attractions. The Chicago Office of Tourism has assembled for you a handy reference for many of the free activities available in Chicago.

Included below are the location, contact information and a link to the official web site for most listings. Click to the official sites to learn more about these great choices to experience Chicago at no cost.

Chicago Museum Free Days 2014

Chicago is known for its many great museums. While the museums listed below are not free everyday, each offers days on which you can gain general admission for free. For each museum, the location, address information and a link to their web site is included. Call museums or visit their website for more information. All dates are subject to change.

  • Chicago Children’s Museum: Free Thurs. 5pm- 8pm; kids 15 and under free the first Sun. of every month.
  • Loyola U. Museum of Art: Free Tuesdays
  • Swedish American Museum: Second Tuesday of Each Month is Free
  • Clarke House Museum: Free Wednesdays
  • Glessner House Museum: Free Wednesdays
  • Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago: Free admission year-round
  • Chicago Cultural Center: Free admission year-round
  • Adler Planetarium: None. Next free days in June.
  • Art Institute of Chicago: Free Thursday Evenings from 5pm - 8pm (Illinois residents)
  • Charnley-Persky House Museum: Free Wednesdays guided tours at noon.
  • Chicago History Museum: Jan 20, February free everyday but Sat, Mar 4, July 4, Sept free every Tuess, Wed. and Thurs, Oct 1-2, 7-9
  • DuSable Museum of African American History: Free Sundays
  • The Field Museum:None
  • Museum of Contemporary Art: Free Tuesdays for Illinois residents
  • Museum of Science and Industry: Nov. 4, Dec. 9
  • Notebaert Nature Museum: Free Thursdays
  • Shedd Aquarium: No free days
  • Spertus Museum: no free days
  • Swedish American Museum Center & Children’s Museum of Immigration: Free 2nd Tuesday of Each Month
  • Block Museum of Art in Evanston: Free Tuesdays - Sundays

Chicago Travel Info

Things to do in Chicago

Venue Info Price
Lincoln Park Zoo Located in Lincoln Park ActiveoffoffoffoffFamily FriendlyHistoricHoliday FunoffoffoffoffScenicoffoffoff

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Chicago Family Fun Pass Located in The Loop offoffoffoffoffFamily FriendlyoffHoliday FunMuseumoffSights of Chicagooffoffoffoffoff

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Best of Chicago Pass Located in The Loop ActiveoffoffoffCulturalFamily FriendlyoffoffMuseumoffSights of ChicagooffScenicoffoffoff

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Chicago Pizza Tours Located in The Loop offoffoffoffoffFamily Friendlyoffoffoffoffoffoffoffoffoffoff

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Segway Experience of Chicago Located in The Loop ActiveoffoffGrant ParkoffFamily FriendlyoffoffoffoffSights of ChicagooffScenicoffoffoff

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Some of the best free Chicago tourist attractions include:

Navy Pier on the Chicago Shoreline of Lake Michigan

Navy Pier on the Chicago Shoreline of Lake Michigan

  • The Navy Pier in Chicago: A favorite Chicago attraction for free year-round, the Navy Pier in Chicago is the boarding destination for many of the most popular Chicago Boat Tours. However, some of the best things to do on this iconic Chicago landmark are absolutely free, most notably their beautiful Summer fireworks series. Each Wednesday and Saturday evening, July- Aug., the Chicago Navy Pier hosts a stunning fireworks display over the shores of Lake Michigan. Enjoy a romantic evening in Chicago without spending a dime at this free Chicago tourist attraction in the Near North Side.
  • Chicago Art Galleries: The flourishing Chicago art scene has inspired some of the most impressive art galleries in the Midwest. Chicago art galleries are often free, and their wide range of contemporary pieces are sure to catch your eye and get you thinking. For more information on the best art galleries in Chicago, check out our comprehensive guide to Chicago Art Galleries.
  • Chicago Beaches: A beautiful shoreline oasis on Lake Michigan, Chicago beaches are some of the most popular attractions when the weather heats up in the Windy City. Family-friendly and free, Chicago beaches in The Loop and the Near North Side are great for active Chicago travelers looking to soak up the sun. Enjoy a game of volleyball with friends, take a stroll on their paved pathways or simply kick back in a lawn chair on the most quaint Chicago beaches on Lake Michigan. Locate the best beaches in Chicago.

Finally, Chicago museums are an informative and affordable way to learn about the history of Chicago. Many Chicago museums offer free admission days, while some of the most popular museums in Chicago - including the Chicago Cultural Center - are free year-round. Scroll below for the best Chicago museums free to the public (as well as Chicago museums that are free on specific days of the year).

The Complete List of Free Things To Do in Chicago

Museum and Aquarium by the Lake Michigan Chicago Illinois

Museum and Aquarium by the Lake Michigan Chicago Illinois

Chicago ArchiCenter
224 S. Michigan Avenue
312.922.3432
www.architecture.org

Chicago Beaches and Parks
Locations vary
312.742.PLAY (7529)
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street
312.744.6630
www.chicagoculturalcenter.org

Chicago Greeter
Chicago Cultural Center Visitor Information Center
77 E. Randolph Street
312.744.8000
www.chicagogreeter.com

Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State Street
312.747.4300
www.chipublib.org

City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower
806 N. Michigan Avenue
312.742.0808

Garfield Park Conservatory
300 N. Central Park Avenue
773.638.1766
www.garfield-conservatory.org

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
756 N. Milwaukee Avenue
312.243.9088
www.art.org

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted Street
312.413.5353
www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull

Lincoln Park Conservatory
2391 N. Stockton Drive
312.742.7736
www.chicagoparkdistrict.com

Lincoln Park Zoo
2200 N. Cannon Drive
312.742.2000
www.lpzoo.com

Millennium Park Welcome Center
201 E. Randolph Street
312.742.1168
www.millenniumpark.org

Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 S. Michigan Avenue
312.663.5554
www.mocp.org

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th Street
312.738.1503
www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org

Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Avenue
312.595.PIER (7437)
www.navypier.com

The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street
312.943.9090
www.newberry.org

The Oriental Institute Museum
1155 E. 58th Street
773.702.9514
www.oi.uchicago.edu

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
5811 S. Ellis Avenue
773.702.8670
www.renaissancesociety.org

Smart Museum of Art
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue
773.702.0200
www.smartmuseum.uchicago.edu

Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Avenue
312.595.5024