Ways to Enjoy Chicago Museum Week

For nine days, the city of Chicago’s top museums are coming together to celebrate Chicago Museum Week. Not only is it a great time to take advantage of discounted admission to some of the best museums in the country, but it is also a great opportunity to expose your kids to quality art, science, and music through creative and unique programming specifically created for Chicago Museum Week.


January 18th-January 26th



Adler Planetarium

Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago History Museum

DuSable Museum of African American History

The Field Museum

Lincoln Park Zoo

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Museum of Science and Industry

National Museum of Mexican Art

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

The Shedd Aquarium



Adler Planetarium—25% off admission and 20% off memberships (with valid Illinois ID)


Art Institute of Chicago—Free admission for Chicago and Illinois residents weekdays during Chicago Museum Week


Chicago History Museum—25% off admission Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of Chicago Museum Week, 10% off weekend admission, and 20% off memberships (with valid Illinois ID). Free admission on Tuesday.


The DuSable Museum of African American History—50% off admission (with valid Illinois ID) and 50% off family memberships


Field Museum–$2 off admission for Illinois residents


Lincoln Park Zoo—10% off food, beverage and items from the Wild Thing’s shop


Museum of Contemporary Art–$12 adult admission (ages 18 and under are free), 10% discount in the MCA store with Illinois ID. Free admission on Tuesday.


Museum of Science and Industry—20% off museum admission Monday through Friday, 10% off museum admission on Saturday and Sunday with valid Illinois ID


National Museum of Mexican Art—15% discount on the museum gift shop with valid Illinois ID


The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture—Free admission


Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum—20% off adult admission (with valid Illinois ID), kids under 3 are always free and Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents


Shedd Aquarium—Free admission for Illinois residents on January 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26



BabiesPeggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Highlights include the butterfly sanctuary and other eye catching displays throughout the nature museum to intrigue even the littlest learners. It is the perfect place to escape the harsh winter and enjoy the sunshine indoors. Oh, and don’t forget that kids under three are free every single day!


Toddlers—Adler Planetarium

Kids can truly become scientists and astronauts through the open play areas, especially in the “Planet Explorers” section.  There are also crafting stations set up so kids can create their own rockets and other space inspired crafts.

Preschoolers—Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is the perfect place for preschoolers to explore, learn, and engage with aquatic animals. My kids love the Polar Play Zone, as well as the massive coral reef tank in the center of the museum. Basically, it is the most beautiful place for an epic I-Spy game…the aquatic version, of course!


School Aged Kids—Museum of Science and Industry

There is something for absolutely EVERYONE at the Museum of Science and Industry. It is perfect for school aged kids, because they can focus on whatever content interest and inspires them, from a 40 foot tornado to Legos and mirror mazes. Just don’t forget to read my tips and tricks before tackling this massive, beautiful museum.


High Schoolers—Art Institute of Chicago

Budding artists of all abilities are sure to be inspired by the vast collections at the Art Institute of Chicago. High schoolers especially love this museum because they are encouraged to bring their own sketch book and create based on the inspiration that surrounds them. Teens always enjoy free admission, and can also visit the Ryan Center for art activities.


What is your favorite Chicago museum?

Happy Exploring!
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    • Amanda says

      Our current favorite is the Museum of Science and Industry, but my youngest keeps asking to go to the Shedd lately. Hopefully we can visit both during Chicago Museum Week!

  1. Amber Myers says

    I just love going through museums. History museums are my favorites. Aquariums are fun too! Art museums tend to baffle me because I don’t get how some things are considered art. I hope I can make it to Chicago one day!

    • Amanda says

      The Art Institute has some of the most famous works of art in the world, from paintings to sculptures, stained glass windows…there is something for everyone. Even a chance to create your own art. I highly recommend that you give the Art Institute of Chicago a try.

  2. Angelic Sinova says

    I LOVE Chicago Museum Week! One of my favorite things about living in Chicago is all of our world class museums. Tomorrow I’m heading to Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium and I can’t wait.

  3. Emily says

    This is a ton for amazing deals for these museums! I live just outside of Milwaukee so we go to Chicago pretty often for a fun weekend getaway. The amazing museums are always on my kids lists of places to visit. The Shedd aquarium and the filed museum are the favorites with my kids.

  4. Amanda says

    True, but I am glad that they offer so many free days so all residents can enjoy a high quality museum experience, no matter what their socioeconomic status is.

  5. Amanda says

    The great thing is that these top notch museums are joining forces to have a special week of programming and discounts for Chicago and Illinois residents. I love when higher institutions collaborate like this.

  6. Amanda says

    With all of the deals and discounts you can visit a ton of different museums, which is my favorite part of Chicago Museum week!

  7. Amanda says

    I love how we can learn so much and enjoy so many different museums without spending much. Totally helps my post holiday budget! 😉

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