See Chicago for Free...

One thing that many people may not know about is their ability to see Chicago for free. With today's economy, sometimes money is hard to come across. So, if you want to see some of Chicago's best, just sign-up for a free library card.

The Chicago Public Library, through a sponsorship by Kraft Foods, provides passes to card holders to the following museums and attractions:

  • Adler Planetarium
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Brookfield Zoo
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • Chicago History Museum
  • DuSable Museum of African American History
  • The Field Museum
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • National Museum of Mexican Art
  • The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
  • Shedd Aquarium

The best news is that it is completely free. All you have to do is check out a pass to the museum from your local branch. That is it. No gimmicks, nothing to purchase. Just go to the library and get your free passes.
If you happen to be in the suburbs, you can use your library card to get passes through the Macy's Museum Adventure Pass Program.
So, if you find yourself bored and broke, just know that now you have no excuse to not be active.

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  • Great tip. As a lifetime resident of the Chicago area, I am embarassed to admit that I only visited the Chicago History Museum for the first time about two years ago and now consider it a "hidden gem" of the city- fantastic museum with some cool exhibits.

  • Had no idea - thanks for the tip!

  • Don't forget about free days at Chicago Museums. No trip to the library is required, just show an Illinois ID and you're in. The days change so often that every Monday we post the current week's free days on our website: Windy City on the Cheap.com

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