In the past year or so, I’ve been to just about all of the Chicago museums for free. When we went to San Francisco, we visited MOMA and a couple others for free too. All that is required is a little planning and a little research.To start, I have an account at Bank of America. Did you know that they run a Museums on Us program where the first weekend of each month, the participating museums offer free admission just for showing your Bank of America credit or debit card. This is on top of any free admission days the museums already have. The museums that are in on this are: The Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago History Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Adler Planetarium. Pretty good deal. Also, as mentioned above, the Chicago museums all have days they are open to Illinois residents for free. Here’s a quick list of links to the museums’ free days for reference.
Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago History Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art (they keep it simple – every Tuesday is free)
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (also simple, free every Thursday)