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© Daniel Schwen/WikiCommons
© Daniel Schwen/WikiCommons
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Chicago Free Museum Days: Where To Go And What To See

Picture of Elizabeth Newhart
Updated: 19 September 2016
Chicago rarely disappoints when it comes to museums. The city is packed full of amazing institutions that you could spend weeks exploring. Museums are the best safe space for learning beyond the classroom, and so many make the process fun and interactive. Whether you’ve lived here your entire life or you just moved in, there’s always something new to discover. But if you’re on a tight budget, it can be hard justifying an admission price for every new exhibit, or every time you want to get lost in thought with Sue at your side. That’s why The Culture Trip put together a comprehensive roundup of every day you can visit a Chicago museum for free between now and the end of 2016. If you mark your calendars now and plan ahead, you can see every bit of the city’s best culture without spending a dime.

The following days are free for all Illinois residents with a valid ID. A driver’s license is most common, but many museums also accept library cards, student IDs, and even passports.

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The Field Museum

Illinoisans know that you can visit The Field Museum over and over again without running out of things to see. It’s a terrific starting point when stamping your Chicago museums passport. Expect all things natural history, both domestic and international. One of their biggest highlights greets you at the front door: Sue the T-Rex is the largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered, and her presence commands the great hall of the Field. Sue Hendrickson uncovered the dino in South Dakota in 1990 and sold it for the highest price ever paid for a dinosaur fossil – $7.6 million.

Free day: September 17-19; October 2, 16, 30-31; November 27; December 3-4, 18

312 922 9410

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Museum of Science and Industry

All science enthusiasts and industry junkies should redirect themselves to Hyde Park for the Museum of Science and Industry. It has everything from an interactive coal mine exhibit to a small-scale model of downtown Chicago and seemingly endless activities. MSI puts on great programs for teachers, field trips, and the general public to help inspire a new generation of innovators and thinkers. See their temporary exhibit Brick by Brick that offers interactive LEGO building and displays through February 2017.

Free days: September 19-23, 26-30; October 4-6; November 3, 10; December 1