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The Choicest Free Days At Chicago Museums This February

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 3, 2016 7:56PM

Winter is a season that contains multitudes: the holidays, occasional thundersnow, and free days at tons of otherwise-pricey museums (and the aquarium). Below, we’ve rounded up all the best free days in town.

Think of this as your directory for the next time you’re feeling stir-crazy yet budget-conscious—though keep in mind that there are also plenty of excellent Chicago art museums that are always free.

(Also, fair warning: Most of these free days are only for Illinois residents.)

Photo credit: Dan Gaken

The Adler Planetarium

What it is: The best place in the city to stargaze indoors—or, for that matter, go to a theme party.

Where it is: 1300 S. Lakeshore Dr., on the Museum Campus

When it’s free: February 3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29

The Chicago Field Museum

What it is: Home to Sue, a giant T. Rex skeleton. Also an authentic Maori meeting house, an exhibit on the Greeks, and a tiny one-room exhibit dedicated entirely to… lichen.

Where it is: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, on the Museum Campus

When it’s free: All month. See more info here

Twenty self-portraits by Ivan Albright (photo via the Art Institute of Chicago's Facebook)

The Art Institute of Chicago

What it is: The best art museum in the world, arguably. You can see work from greats like Georgia O’Keeffe and Van Gogh (whose bedroom paintings open to the public Feb. 12). In the new “New Contemporary” collection, you can also see a pile of potatoes!

Where it is: 111 S. Michigan Ave.

When it’s free: Every weekday until February 11. Admission is also free year-round on Thursday evenings.

The Museum of Science and Industry

What it is: A paradise for science enthusiasts, with exhibits on genetics, coal mines, and the physics of storms. Visitors can also learn about sound waves in the mystically-titled Whispering Gallery.

Where it is: 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive

When it’s free: Feb. 29. See more info here.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium

What it is: Home to sea life from sharks and fish to seals and penguins. Sometimes you even get to see baby penguins.

Where it is: 1200 S Lake Shore Drive, on the Museum Campus

When it’s free: Mondays and Tuesdays throughout the month. See more admission info here.

The Chicago History Museum

What it is: A museum that covers the history of Chicago as well as the U.S. at large, with exhibits on Vivian Maier's photography, the disabilities rights movement, and more.

Where it is: 1601 N. Clark Street

When it’s free: Monday-Friday all month. See more info here.

If we left a museum you love off our list, shoot us an email us at