Museum free days!
Rarely is there a slow day for Chicago's big, bustling museums. But a few museum reps have tipped me off to the fact that January is the least crowded time. To get Chicagoans in the door, several museums are offering free days this month. I listed highlights below and threw in some exhibit recommendations to provide ample compensation for freezing your butt off on the lakefront.
Shedd Aquarium: From January 16 to 21, and every Monday and Tuesday in January, aquarium-goers can see the original galleries (Local Waters, Waters of the World and Caribbean Reef) for free, or pay a discounted admission of $16.95 (kids ages 3–11 $11.95 ) for the rest of the aquarium, which includes the new Fantasea show.
Museum of Science and Industry: MSI offers free general admission weekdays January 4–29. This includes the neato and very popular "You! The Experience." We'd also recommend the additional $5 for "The White House: A Look Inside." We were surprised at the miniature exhibit's incredibly revealing view of the Prez's house—worth the extra lil' chunk of change.
Field Museum: The museum carries its Target Free Second Mondays program into the new year. This month, get free basic admission January 11. We recommend the newly rehabbed Grainger Hall of Gems, which is included in basic admission.
Art Institute of Chicago: Free admission days are always packed at the Art Institute, but January's free days (Thursdays 5–8pm) are less crowded than the other 11 months.