Summertime is a great time to visit Chicago’s museums – especially when admission is free! Treat yourself, the entire family, or out-of-town visitors on one of the free days at many of Chicago’s museums during July (some for Illinois residents only, some for everyone). Although many of Chicago’s largest museums don’t have free days this month, this would be a great opportunity to visit a new museum. Parking and special exhibits are extra, and always check museums’ websites for changes in hours on and around holidays. Here are the free admission days for July.
Art Institute of Chicago. Free for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00-8:00 p.m.; free every day for children 14 and younger; free for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit and debit cardholders Saturday-Sunday, July 6-7 (must show card and photo ID; valid for cardholder only). Open every day 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.). 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. 312-443-0849.
Chicago Children’s Museum. Free for everyone every Thursday evening (5-8 p.m.); free for ages 15 and under Sunday, July 7. Open Sun.-Wed. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. 312-527-1000.
Chicago History Museum. Free for Illinois residents Thursday, July 4; free every day for ages 12 and under; free for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit and debit cardholders Saturday-Sunday, July 6-7 (must show card and photo ID; valid for cardholder only). Open Mon.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. 1601 North Clark Street (Clark & North Ave). 312-642-4600.
DuSable Museum of African American History. Free for everyone every Sunday. Open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. 740 East 56th Place (corner of 57th & Cottage Grove), Chicago. 773-947-0600.
International Museum of Surgical Science. Free for everyone every Tuesday. Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. 312-642-6502.
Jane Adams Hull-House Museum. Free for everyone every day ($5 suggested donation). Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 12-4 p.m. 800 S. Halsted St. at the University of Illinois-Chicago. 312-413-5353.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Free for Illinois residents every Tuesday; free every day for active members of the military and children 12 and younger (accompanied by an adult); free for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit and debit cardholders Saturday-Sunday, July 6-7 (must show card and photo ID; valid for cardholder only). Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Tues. until 8 p.m.). 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. 312-280-2660.
Museum of Contemporary Photography. Free for everyone every day. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. 8 p.m.), Sun. 12-5 p.m. (closed when Columbia College is closed). 600 S. Michigan Ave. at Columbia College, Chicago. 312-663-5554.
National Museum of Mexican Art. Free for everyone every day. Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1852 W. 19th Street, Chicago. 312-738-1503.
National Veterans Art Museum. Free admission (suggested donation $10). Open Tues-Sat 10a.m.-5p.m. 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. 312-326-0270.
The Oriental Institute. Free every day (suggested donation: $10 adults, $5 children under 12). Open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Wed. until 8:30 p.m.), Sun. 12-6 p.m. 1155 East 58th Street at the University of Chicago. 773-702-9514.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Free (suggested donation) for Illinois residents on Thursdays. Open Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 2430 N. Cannon Dr. (just north of Lincoln Park Zoo), Chicago. 773-755-5100.
Smart Museum of Art. Free for everyone every day. Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.). 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. at the University of Chicago. 773-702-0200.
Lincoln Park Zoo. Free for everyone every day (parking is extra; there is free parking along Stockton Dr. when available). Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.); Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.). 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. 312-742-2000.
In addition to the free days, Chicago Public Library branches have free passes to a number of Chicago’s most popular museums, good for up to four people for one week. All you need to do is show your Chicago Public Library card and choose any available pass.
You can get information about parking, driving directions, and public transportation for each museum by clicking on the museum’s name.
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