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Art Institute of Chicago Tickets and Free Days

Updated: February 4, 2024
 By Mel

This post will help you know all about the tickets of the Art Institute of Chicago, including 9 tips to save money as well as tips on how should you plan your visit to make most out of it.

The post will help save money not only for the tourists but also for the residents of Illinois alike as the Art Institute offers free days to the residents.


This section will help you plan your visit including how to get there, when to go, and how long you should expect to stay.

If you want to find cheaper tickets, check out ways to save section above

Art Institute Chicago is located at 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603. It is easy to find, right next to Millennium Park.

Art Institute Chicago Map

We suggest using this Google link to get directions from your exact address to Michigan Avenue.

The modern wing can be accessed from 159 East Monroe Street.

If you use public transportation, there are several close bus and subway stops.


  • Adams/Wabash stop for the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, and Purple Lines
  • Jackson for the Red Line
  • Monroe for the Blue Line


  • Van Buren Street Stop

Let Us Bring You

Both our Loop and Millennium Park Tour and our Chicago Architecture Tour end within blocks of the museum.


The Chicago hop-on-hop-off buses stop right by Millennium Park, which gives you a convenient way to see more of the city and enjoy the Art Institute. 

How to Get There

Best Times to Visit

The museum is open every day from 10:30 am - 5:00 pm. They’re closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Art Institute Chicago Popular Times

The Art Institute is busiest on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We suggest visiting from Monday - Thursday.

If you can only go on the weekends there will be slightly fewer people before 12:00 pm or after 3:30 pm.

How long should I stay?

In general, visitors stay at the museum for 2.5 to 3.5 hours. 

Can I bring my backpack?

Due to safety concerns, the Art Institute asks you to check backpacks, shopping bags, purses, or camera bags larger than 13 x 17 x 4 inches. 

It costs $1 per item to check your things in bag check. 

TIP: If you want to store your bags while seeing multiple attractions in Chicago, check out our luggage storage tips.  

Can I take photos?

You can take all the non-flash photos you like for personal use. There may be signs up next to temporary exhibitions that prohibit photography.

NOTE: Selfie sticks are prohibited in the museum. 

Does the Art Institute of Chicago have free days?

Yes, this museum offers several ways to visit for free, especially if you're an Illinois resident. Check our ways to save section for more details.

How long does it take to go through the Art Institute of Chicago?

Most people will spend at least 60-90 minutes, but there's enough to see that you could stay here all day. We recommend setting aside at least 2-3 hours so you can take your time.


This section will give you an overview of ticket types and ticket prices. 

TIP: To save up to 55% on your tickets, check out the attraction passes below. 

General Admission 

This gives you access to all permanent exhibitions and collections. 

Fast Pass Admission

This gives you general admission access with the chance to skip the admission line and lines to special exhibitions.


This section includes various ways to save money on Art Institute Chicago tickets so you don't have to pay full price.

1. Tourist Attraction Passes

Admission to the Art Institute is included in all of Chicago's tourist passes, which saves you a lot of money on multiple attractions.

You could save up to 50% on different museums and activities around town.

Here are a handful of additional locations you can visit and activities available at no extra cost with some of these passes:

If you want to learn more about attraction passes that can save you 50% on Chicago activities, check out our full post. 

2. Go City Chicago Explorer Pass

The Chicago Explorer Pass will give you admission to 3, 4, 5, or 7 attractions and can save up to 40%.

Art Institute Chicago fast pass tickets are included in the list of over 25 Chicago museums, attractions, and tours.

You can also choose a hop-on hop-off bus tour, Field Museum, or Museum of Science and Industry.

3. Go City Chicago All-Inclusive Pass

The Go City Chicago all-inclusive pass lets you choose from 29 popular attractions in the city - you can visit as many places as you can in 1, 2, 3, or 5 calendar days in a row. This saves you up to 55% on price, depending on how many attractions you see. 

Tickets to the Art Institute are included. 

4. Chicago CityPASS

The CityPass booklet is a pre-packaged bundle that includes 5 popular tourist attractions at a cheaper price of 47% than the individual prices.

For more information, read the full tourist attraction pass comparison on our blog.

5. Chicago Top 3 Attractions Pass

This is one of the newest passes in Chicago, and it includes access to the following 3 attractions:

  • The Art Institute of Chicago: Fast Pass
  • The Field Museum of Natural History: General Admission
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck
  • 10% off additional activities

Purchase this pass or learn more.

6. Combo Packages

In addition to the various tourist passes covering admission to this attraction, there are also combination packages you can use to save money on tickets.

7. Free Admission Days for Illinois Residents

Free days entitle Illinois residents with a valid state ID to the general admission to the museum on Thursdays between 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. 

Illinois residents also get $3 off regular ticket prices at all other times.

Admission is also sometimes free on Mondays and Fridays during the off-peak season (January - March).

8. Teacher Discounts

Illinois educators and teachers (K-12) receive free general admission with ID.

9. Military Discounts

Active-duty military personnel, veterans, and first responders get free general admission with ID.

In addition, the families of service members are also welcome for free from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day.

10. City of Chicago Residents

City of Chicago Residents with ID receive $3 off tickets on all admission passes every day. 

11. Student Discount

Students enrolled at a college or university are eligible for a concession of $6 off general admission prices.

12. Senior Discount

Senior citizens are eligible for a concession of $6 off general admission.

13. Visit Sites

Check out sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial - they occasionally offers ways to save on admission price. 

14. Museums for All

This program welcomes LINK and WIC cardholders and their family members to receive free admission to the museum.


This section gives you a look at a few of the great things you can find within the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room: Reconstruction at the Art Institute of Chicago

This room was originally built in 1893, demolished in 1972, and reconstructed at the Art Institute in 1976. 

Chicago Public Sculpture Replicas

You can find a few small replicas of public sculptures including The Flamingo by Alexander Calder, an untitled piece by Picasso, and Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet. 

Claude Monet

You’ll find Claude Monet - as well as some other great impressionists like Renoir - in the Art Institute.

Water Lilies is one of his most famous works and hanging in the museum, as well as Arrival of the Normandy Train

Vincent van Gogh

Fans of the works of van Gogh will enjoy the Art Institute Chicago. You can find two paintings: The Bedroom and Self-Portrait.

Edgar Degas

Degas is famous for his beautiful paintings of ballerinas. You can see a scene from an opera in Ballet at the Paris Opera

Other Notable Artwork

  • Nighthawks by Edward Hopper
  • American Gothic by Grant Wood
  • American Windows by Marc Chagall
  • A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat


About The Author


Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: February 4th, 2024
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