Family Fun On A Budget At The Field Museum

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A family outing in Chicago doesn’t have to be expensive, especially when visiting one of the city’s most popular attractions, the Field Museum.

We’ve done the research for you and mapped out a family outing at the Field Museum for almost no cost, from parking to admission to free tours.

Check out the 5 tips for an affordable day at the Field Museum:

1) Visit the Field Museum during a free admission day

Always make sure to check the Field Museum website for information about free admission days and special discounts available to Illinois residents. This summer, free days include June 21, 22, 23, plus more free summer days which haven’t been posted yet.


2) Park with SpotHero

If you can’t take public transit or walk, use an online reservation parking system like SpotHero. The rates are up 50% off normal drive up rates. And reserving a spot in advance will spare you the stress and fuss of trying to find parking once you’re there.

To get even more perks from SpotHero, refer your friends and you might earn enough to park for free.

Check out some of SpotHero’s Field Museum parking options: 

SpotHero’s cheapest Field Museum parking rates:

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835 S. Wabash Ave. – Lot

Rate: $11 for 3 hours
Distance: 16 minute walk to The Field Museum
Book parking >


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15 E 14th Pl. – Under El
Rate: $2 for 12 hours
Distance: 20 minute walk to The Field Museum
Book parking >


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24 E 16th St. – Under El
Rate: $3 for 12 hours
Distance: 22 minute walk to The Field Museum
Book parking >


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1316 South Michigan Ave.
Rate: $5 for 3 hours
Distance: 13 minute walk to The Field Museum
Book parking >


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1220 S Michigan Ave.
Rate: $7 for 4 hours
Distance: 11 minute walk to The Field Museum
Book parking >

3) Bring your own snacks

The Field Museum has two dining options, The Field Bistro and Explorer Cafe. We suggest saving money by bringing your own snacks. Besides, would you rather eat in a cafeteria-style restaurant or on the steps of the Field Museum overlooking the city and Lake Michigan? 

We also suggest sticking to water, which is free and good for you! You can either fill up a reusable water bottle at one of the museum water fountains (near the restrooms) or at the Field Museum restaurants.

Check out the official Field Museum maps below to locate the water fountains and restaurants:

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4. Check out the free tours

The Field Museum offers free tours daily! Museum tours are a great way to have an even more in-depth learning experience and gives you the opportunity to ask an expert all your questions.

Free daily tours include:

  • Museum Highlight Tour
    • 11 a.m.
    • Learn about the museum’s history
  • SUE Talk
    • 12 a.m.
    • Learn about Sue, the largest T. rex in the world
  • Pawnee Earth Lodge Open House
    • Weekdays, 1 p.m.-2 p.m.
    • Weekends, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


5) Instead of the special exhibits, take your kids to the Crown Family PlayLab

The Crown Family PlayLab, located on the ground floor of the museum, offers interactive activities and play for your kids. Whether they want to dress up as animals and star in their own play or pretend to be people from a different time, there’s something to do at the PlayLab.

The PlayLab is open Thursdays through Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s no extra charge for admission.


Have any other tips or ideas for spending a day at The Field Museum without breaking the bank? Please share in the comment section below! 

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