The Art Institute of Chicago Hours and Free Days

On the short list of best art museums in the US and around the world, the Art Institute of Chicago collection spans centuries and the globe. It houses many of the most famous paintings ever created from the likes of Monet, Van Gogh and O’Keeffe. Located in the heart of the city and always ranked among Chicago and the nation’s top attractions, the Art Institute of Chicago hours are generally 11:00 AM Central Time (local time) to 5:00 PM CT Thursday through Monday.

The museum is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November) Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1).

Public Hours for Art Institute of Chicago

Monday: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Tuesday: closed

Wednesday: closed

Thursday: 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Note these extended nighttime hours. Generally speaking, this is the best time to visit any museum as the crowds are greatly diminished. The Art Institute of Chicago is a massively popular attraction drawing millions of visitors annually, if you’d like to take your time inches from one of the masterpieces alone, take advantage of the Art Institute of Chicago hours on Thursday night.

If you can’t visit the Art Institute on Thursdays, afternoon hours on Mondays are also typically light in regards to visitation.

Friday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Saturday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sunday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Member Hours for Art Institute of Chicago

Membership to the Art Institute of Chicago begins at $115 per year. On days the museum is open, members – and their guests – are granted early admission at 10:00 AM. The museum is practically empty during these early member hours.

The Art Institute of Chicago Free Days

The Art Institute of Chicago free days and free admission always include children under 14, Chicago teens under 18, Link and WIC cardholders, Illinois educators every day, and Illinois residents on certain days throughout the year.

Admission is free for Illinois residents on weekdays (Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays) January 9–March 24, 2023.

As part of the Blue Star Museums program, active-duty service members receive free admission to the museum. Plus, from Armed Forces Day (May 20) through Labor Day (first Monday in September), the AIC also welcome service members and their households. Please bring your active-duty military ID to the admissions counter to receive this benefit.

Students at these universities receive free admission to the museum with a valid university identification.

If you have questions about your eligibility for free admission, visit the admission counter upon arrival.

Vincent Van Gogh, The Bedroom, (1889). Oil on canvas. 29 × 36 5/8 in. Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Vincent Van Gogh, The Bedroom, (1889). Oil on canvas. 29 × 36 5/8 in. Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Admission Prices

General admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is $25 for adults, $20 for adult Chicago residents and $22 for adult Illinois residents. If you want to claim a resident discount, please be able to present an identification showing your address.

Seniors (65+) and students are $19, $14 and $16 respectively for non-residents, Chicago residents and Illinois residents.

Teens (14-17) from outside Illinois will pay $19, in-state teens pay $16 and Chicago area teens are free.

An Art Institute of Chicago membership covers the cost of admission for the member and one guest and any children under 18.

The museum offers a “Fast Pass” premium option ($35 for adults, $29 for seniors, students and teens) which allows visitors to bypass the general admission lines at entrances and offers expedited access to ticketed special exhibitions.

Advanced tickets, including the Fast Pass option, can be purchased here or for a major value when visiting Chicago, consider purchasing a Chicago City Pass which offers Fast Pass admission to the Art Institute at a discounted price, plus reduced admission at the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of natural history, and other attractions.  

The museum has two entrances: the doors to the original 1893 building are at 111 South Michigan Avenue, and the 2009 Modern Wing can be entered at 159 East Monroe Street. Here are directions for taking public transportation or driving to the museum.

If traveling to the Art Institute with a big group, choose bus rentals in Chicago.

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1 Comment
  • Mary Jane Egan
    October 24, 2023

    I’m so glad you finally decided to offer discounts for seniors & military.