We offer free admission to:
- Youth 18 and under
- Members of the police and fire departments, active military, veterans, and accompanying family members
- Students and faculty at Columbia College, Northwestern University, SAIC, and the University of Chicago
- MCA Members
Call us at 312-280-2660 to learn more about our other special offers and partnerships with universities, corporations, and other organizations that include free admission.
If you plan to visit the museum with 10 or more people, you qualify for our advance admission prices of $6 for students/seniors and $10 for adults. The advance price is for self-guided groups only and we recommend that you book your visit at least two weeks in advance by calling the Box Office at 312-397-4010. We also encourage any university partners who qualify for free admission to call the Box Office if you know you will be bringing a group to the MCA.
For information regarding private tours or school tours, check out our Tours page.
Every Tuesday, year-round, Illinois residents enjoy free admission from 10 am–8 pm. On any other day of the week, other than Mondays when we are closed, our suggested admission is $12 for adults and $7 for students, seniors over 65, and teachers. Of course, MCA Members are always free!
Suggested admission means that you pay what you can; no one is turned away. For more information on admission, check out our Visit page; for information on the benefits of becoming member, visit our Membership page.
No. General admission tickets include all exhibitions on view. If you would like to purchase admission prior to your visit, you can do so online. Tickets are not timed and do not sell out.
The MCA participates in three reciprocal museum programs:
- Museum Alliance Reciprocal Program, (MARP), managed by the Baltimore Museum of Art
- Western Reciprocal Program (WR), managed by the Denver Art Museum
- The Modern and Contemporary Reciprocal Program (Mod/Co), managed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Starting June 1, the MCA is raising its suggested prices by a small amount. Our new suggested admission is $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. The museum remains free for MCA Members, youth 18 and under, and members of the military, police force, and fire department, as well as for Illinois residents on Tuesdays.
Visiting the Museum
Our parking garage is located behind the museum with an entrance on East Chicago Avenue. For parking information and prices, visit our Directions and Parking page. Museum visitors must have their parking tickets validated at the Admission desk, Box Office, or coat check to receive a discount. MCA Members receive a $5 discount on standard parking rates; non-members receive a $4 discount. For performances, all MCA Stage ticket buyers enjoy $12 MCA garage parking, with validation, for up to 6 hours on the date of show.*
*This is for MCA Stage performances only. It is not valid for talks, special events, or museum admission.
We sure do! Stop by the Admissions desk or Box Office to pick up a hard copy; a digital version is coming soon.
Of course! The MCA offers a free coat check located on the second floor of the museum. We ask that all backpacks, umbrellas, large bags, and packages be checked before entering the galleries. If you prefer to keep smaller items, such as your wallet or phone, with you while you visit the galleries, feel free to borrow an MCA tote bag from the second-floor coat check in place of your larger bag.
Of course! If you prefer to let your little ones walk around on their own, however, you can check your stroller at our complimentary coat check on the second floor.
Short answer: It depends, but most visitors spend between 1–3 hours in the galleries.
Long answer: Visits to the museum can vary in length based on a variety of factors, including which exhibitions are currently on display, what interests you, and how much time you spend with the artworks. Your museum admission guarantees you access to the museum’s spaces for the entire day, so feel free to spend as much time here as you would like. You are also more than welcome to come and go as you please, just make sure to save your receipt and admission tab.
We allow non-flash photography in our galleries; from time to time, however, there may be certain works that cannot be photographed. These galleries will be clearly labeled. If you have questions about a specific artwork, don’t hesitate to ask one of our Visitor Services Associates. To keep our artworks safe, tripods or selfie sticks are not allowed in the galleries.
Of course! Pencils and paper are always welcome; however, pens are not permitted in the galleries because of the difficulty of removing ink from artworks. If you need to borrow a pencil, stop by the second-floor coat check for a freshly sharpened pencil for your visit.
The MCA does not offer audio guides; however, supplements to our fourth-floor exhibitions can often be found on our Stories page. There you will also find previous audio tours and videos.
For extra insight into our exhibitions, we offer free daily docent tours: Tuesday at 1 and 2 pm; Wed–Fri at 1pm; and Sat– Sun at noon, 1, 2, and 3 pm.
The MCA is proud to offer free public Wi-Fi for anyone visiting the museum. No password is required; simply “accept” the “MCA Public” terms and conditions to access it.
While you are free to breast-feed in any non-gallery space, if you would like privacy, please ask one of our Visitor Services staff members to show you to our temporary breast-feeding station.
Please call our Lost-and-Found hotline at 312-397-4037 and leave a detailed message, including your name, phone number, a description of the item you lost, and approximately when/where you lost it at the MCA. We will give you a call back once we have looked for your item, regardless of whether we find it or not.
Yes! The MCA is now open from 10 am to 9 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 10 am to 5 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It is also open for select holidays on Mondays.
What’s on View
The MCA features artworks in every medium—painting, photography, sculpture, installation, film, performance, and interdisciplinary projects. Our collection includes works made after 1945 and spans art movements such as surrealism, pop, minimalism, conceptualism, and postmodernism.
Our collection consists of more than 2,500 artworks. We don't have a space designated for our permanent collection because we like to have something new to see every couple of months or so. Instead, we draw on the collection to present thematic, collection-based shows. See our entire collection online or check out what’s on view in our current exhibitions.
Contemporary art is a loose designation for art made since the 1960s. It encompasses many strains in global art practice including movements such as minimalism, conceptual art, feminist art, video art, performance art, and new media. Contemporary artists present ideas and images relating to the world we live in.
If you purchase student tickets or tickets for an event that is fewer than 10 days away, we will automatically hold your tickets at the Box Office under the purchaser’s name unless otherwise requested.
Unfortunately we do not allow reservations with payments at a later date.
For events with assigned seating, we can reprint a lost ticket at any time. For a general admission event, we can reprint the tickets right before curtain call, but not in advance. Tickets can only be reprinted with valid id.
A limited number of student-priced tickets are available for each performance. They can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person, but they must be picked up at will call. A valid student ID is required for EACH ticket. If no valid student ID is presented at the time of pick-up, the customer will be charged the difference of a full-price ticket.
All members are eligible to purchase two tickets at the member rate for most performances. Visit our Membership page for more information on member benefits.
For most performances, purchasing 10 or more full-price tickets entitles you to group pricing—a 20% discount on full-price tickets. There is no group discount for students. If you are interested in bringing a group to a performance, please call the Box Office at 312-397-4010 and they can assist you with your order.
The Box Office begins a waiting list one hour before the program begins. At that time, numbers are given out to patrons on a first-come, first-served basis—one number per patron per ticket. As tickets become available, Box Office staff will call out waiting-list numbers in the order they are given out. Patrons must be present to take a number. Staff cannot predict when or if tickets will become available, so it is important for those on the waiting list to remain within hearing distance. If a number is called and no one responds, Box Office staff will dismiss the number called and call the next number.
Cash is strongly recommended in order to expedite waiting-list transactions.
Attending an Event
Seating is guaranteed only until curtain and latecomers are seated at the discretion of house management. No refunds or exchanges are available. Call the Box Office at 312-397-4010 for any updates.
We welcome children eight years of age and older unless specifically noted. All children, regardless of age, must have their own tickets for all performances. If you have any questions about our content, age-appropriateness, or anything else, please call the Box Office at 312-397-4010.
Concessions and a cash bar are available at most evening performances. If you are attending a matinee performance, please visit the temporary café on the second floor during regular museum hours.
The Edlis Neeson Theater is a medium-sized theater, featuring 296 stadium-style seats and a proscenium layout, meaning everyone in the audience has a good view of the stage. The theater was designed as a multiuse facility for performance art, theater, dance, music, screenings, and educational events. Visit our Program page for information on our upcoming events.
The MCA welcomes guests with disabilities. Wheelchair access seating can be purchased online, in person, or by phone at 312-397-4010. We also offer assistive listening devices, available free of charge from our Box Office.
Unfortunately photography and video and audio recording are strictly prohibited in our theater.
Our MCA Stage performances have assigned seating unless otherwise noted. All MCA Talks are general admission. To find out what’s happening on now, check our Calendar.
The stage is about five feet above the front row. It is not the same experience as sitting in the front row of a movie theater, but the front row is slightly lower than the stage and those sitting in the front row will be approximately at head height to the stage.
Yes! We strive to provide a welcoming and accessible experience for all our visitors. Skip the front steps and enter on the plaza level through the MCA Store for access to our elevators. Please don’t hesitate to ask our Visitor Service Associates if you feel lost.
We also provide wheelchairs free of charge for your visit. Supplies are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call Visitor Services at 312-397-4010 to check availability. Accessible restrooms with baby-changing stations are located on the first floor.
The Edlis Neeson Theater offers wheelchair seating, available for purchase online, in person, or by phone at 312-397-4010. We also offer assistive listening devices, available free of charge from the Box Office. For certain events we provide sign language interpretation, open captioning, and audio description; please call the Box Office at 312-397-4010 to hear about our current offerings.
Yes! In partnership with EnChroma, the MCA offers the first specialty eyewear that alleviates red-green color blindness. You can check out a pair at the second-floor admissions desk.
The MCA has redesigned its website not only to provide expanded coverage of MCA exhibitions, collections, and events, as well as a broad spectrum of stories about our extended community of artists, audiences, and partnering organizations, but to increase the accessibility of these resources. In addition to a user-friendly interface, the MCA has collaborated with accessibility expert Sina Bahram to create Coyote, a groundbreaking program that offers visually impaired and blind visitors greater access to the visual arts through visual descriptions.
The MCA loves recycling! Return your visitor badge or brochure to the Admissions desk or Box Office and it will enjoy a second life. Of course, if you are into scrapbooking, we won’t look down on you for keeping anything.
You can access a plethora of previous talks, audio tours, artist videos, and more on our Stories page.
Our curators plan our exhibitions years in advance. Before an exhibition can be added to the museum’s exhibition schedule, the curators propose projects, which gets discussed and vetted by the team. Because of this, the MCA curators are constantly out looking at art around the city, the country, and the world, in search of works that stand out for their originality and relevance to our current conditions.
While the MCA does not accept submissions of artworks, if you would like to call our attention to a particular exhibition, please feel free to send a card to the curatorial department.
Of course! Just submit your email so we can include you on all the latest MCA news.
If you would like to request a donation, please fill out this form and someone from the museum will follow up with you regarding your request.