Best Free Museums You Should Visit While in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois' Millennium Park
Chicago, Illinois' Millennium Park. Photo by Wicker Woodsong on Unsplash

Chicago, Illinois, has an abundance of exciting museums, but most of them will require you to pay for a ticket that usually isn’t cheap. If you want to save money but still add a museum experience to your visit to The Windy City, here are some museums you can enter for free.

National Museum of Mexican Art 

You should visit the National Museum of Mexican Art even if you are not budget-conscious. The institution focuses on the art and culture of the Mexican, Latino, and Chicano populations. Its permanent collection consists of 10,000 objects, with the majority being artworks from Mexican artists and artifacts from Mexican history.

Smart Museum of Art

Smart Museum of Art operates as part of the University of Chicago. It has 15,000 pieces in its collection, including works from notable European painters like Goya, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Diego Rivera, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Visitors can also explore the museum’s collection of Asian scroll paintings as well as artworks from contemporary local artists.

Busy Beaver Button Museum

Busy Beaver Button Museum should be your first pick if you are a fan of unique and unusual museums. Described as the “world’s only pin-back button museum,” the museum has more than 30,000 pins on display, ranging from pins for elections and social events to those dedicated to art, music, and sports.