Free Museum Admission Days
Plan your time in Chicago carefully and you can save yourself admis-
sion fees to the city's major museums. Admission to special exhibitions
and films are often extra on free days.
Sunday: DuSable Museum of African-American History
Monday: All of the following are free on Monday from September
through February, except for the last 2 weeks of December: Adler Plan-
etarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and John G. Shedd Aquar-
ium (Oceanarium admission extra).
Tuesday: Adler Planetarium (Sept-Feb except for the last 2 weeks of
Dec), Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History
(Sept-Feb, except for the last 2 weeks of Dec), International Museum
of Surgical Science, Museum of Contemporary Art (5-8pm only),
Museum of Science and Industry (Sept-Feb except for the last 2 weeks
of Dec), Shedd Aquarium (Sept-Feb, except the last 2 weeks of Dec;
Oceanarium admission extra).
Thursday: Chicago Children's Museum (5-8pm only).
Friday: Spertus Museum.
Always Free: Chicago Cultural Center, David and Alfred Smart Museum
of Art, Garfield Park Conservatory, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum,
Lincoln Park Conservatory, Lincoln Park Zoo, Martin D'Arcy Gallery of
Art, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Museum of Contemporary
Photography, Newberry Library.
Navy Pier hosts a variety of conventions and trade shows, from tennis to
flower and garden shows. There's something for everyone, but the commercial-
ism of the place might be too much for some people. If that's the case for you,
take the 1 ⁄ 2 -mile stroll to the end of the pier, east of the ballroom, where you can
find a little respite and enjoy the wind, the waves, and the city view, which is the
real delight of a place like this. Or unwind in Olive Park, a small sylvan haven
with a sliver of beach that lies just to the north of Navy Pier.
You'll find, moored along the south dock, more than half a dozen different
sailing vessels, including a couple of dinner cruise ships, the pristine white-
masted tall ship Windy (ask about the special “Pirate” sails), and the 70-foot
speedboats Seadog I, II, and III. In the summer months, water taxis speed
between Navy Pier and other Chicago sights. For more specifics on sightseeing
and dinner cruises, see “Lake & River Cruises,” later in this chapter.
600 E. Grand Ave. (at Lake Michigan). & 800/595-PIER (outside 312 area code) or 312/595-PIER. www.
navypier.com. Free admission. Summer Sun-Thurs 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-midnight; fall-spring Mon-Sat
10am-10pm, Sun 10am-7pm. Bus: 29, 65, 66, 120, or 121. Parking rates start at $11 for the 1st hr. and go
up to $19 for up to 8 hr. However, the lots fill quickly. Free trolley buses make stops on Grand Ave. and Illi-
nois St. from State St. Subway/El: Red Line to Grand/State; transfer to city bus or board a free pier trolley bus.
3 Best Views
Sweeping views of the city from north to south are one of the main attractions
of the many boat tours that leave from Navy Pier. Hop aboard and get the lay