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Check Out These Chicago Museums For Free This Winter

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 7, 2016 3:50PM

Winter is coming. El NiƱo or no, it's going to get increasingly crappy outside as we stumble through the first few months of 2016. But as it turns out, January and February are a virtual gold mine for learning, with free days for Illinois residents at nearly every Chicago museum. With our handy guide, there's no excuse not to visit an old favorite or see something you haven't seen before.

The Field Museum of Natural History: The Field Museum has an amazing number of free days on its horizon. Take advantage of free basic admission, which includes the chance to explore the new Cyrus Tang Hall of China, and consider upgrading so you can get to the Greeks.

When It's Free: Jan. 3, 13, 18, 23, 24 and Feb. 1 through 29 (Yes, all month!) Get Info.

Museum of Science and Industry Chicago. The MSI is probably the most interactive, kid-friendly museum of all, while still a can't miss for adults. There's plenty to see here, between the U505, coal mine, Science of Storms and more.

When it's free: Jan. 11 to 15, 18 to 22 and 25 to 29. Feb. 29. Get Info.

Shedd Aquarium (Photo by Stuart Baxter via the Chicagoist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

Shedd Aquarium. A warmer, more aquatic alternative to the outdoor zoos, you'll have no problem finding the fun at the Shedd. Cuddly critters like our friend Luna are a must see.

When it's free: Illinois Discount Days, which offer free basic admission to IL residents, are every Monday and Tuesday in January and February. Get info.

Adler Planetarium. One of our favorite places for After Dark events, any time is the right time to explore the stars, relive the journey to the moon or catch a film about what space exploration will look like in the future.

When It's Free: Illinois Discount Days, with free basic admission to the Adler, are Jan. 11, 12, 15, 18 to 22 and 25 to 29 and Feb. 1 to 3, 8 to 10, 15 to 17, 22 to 24, and 29. Get info.

The Art Institute's New Contemporary collection. Marielle Shaw/Chicagoist.

Art Institute of Chicago. This massive treasure is a must-see, and free admission in the coming months will certainly help you see more of it, including The New Contemporary, a wonderful gift to the Art Institute and the city

When It's Free: Winter Weekdays from Jan. 4 to Feb. 11. Get Info.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The MCA Chicago is a great choice for an afternoon of colorful, thought provoking pieces as well as performance art and lectures. A current can't miss is the Pop Art exhibit.

When It's Free: IL residents can visit for free on Tuesdays year-round. Get info.

International Museum of Surgical Science. If you've never been, this museum is a macabre masterpiece in a beautiful building. It also features some beautiful works of art, including pieces by artist in residence, Vesna Jovanovic.

When It's Free: Tuesdays, year round. Get info.

Chicago History Museum. This museum, near Lincoln Park Zoo, is a goldmine of city history, with everything from steam engines to jazz clubs and ornate old El cars to take you through Chicago's timeline.

When It's Free: The Chicago History Museum will offer free admission to Illinois residents Monday through Friday for the months of January and February. Get Info.

Have fun out there, and stay warm!