Chicago’s Museum Campus is home to some of the Second City’s most popular attractions — including the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, and Soldier Field — all situated on a beautifully manicured, 99-acre park.
The lakeside park itself is a great attraction, featuring green lawns, a network of scenic walking trails, great fishing spots, and some of the best views of the city. The Museum Campus also hosts a number of special sporting, musical and other events throughout the year.
Because it’s so popular, finding parking at the Museum Campus can seem like a challenge, but a little advance planning can make parking a much more pleasant experience. Parking at the Museum Campus is safe, ample and convenient when you know where to look, when to arrive, and a few secrets for getting in and out more quickly.
Parking for Museum Campus Attractions
When it comes to parking at the Museum Campus, think Soldier Field. Why? Because the North Parking Garage, hidden underneath the north end of Soldier Field, has approximately 2,400 available parking spaces a short walk to all three museums, as well as the Children’s Garden, Gold Star Memorial Park and Burnham Harbor. Instead of fighting the crowds for one of the 138 spaces at the Field Museum’s East Lot (if you get there after 9:30 a.m. the lot will probably be full already), smart visitors take the 18th Street exit and follow the Museum Campus signs to Soldier Field. The advantage to taking 18th Street rather than McFetridge Drive is that it takes you underneath Lake Shore Drive, avoiding a busy intersection.
The main entrance to the North Garage is located on Museum Campus Drive. It is open every day, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can leave after closing hours, but you cannot park there overnight. Most days, parking rates are $19 for the first four hours or $22 for up to 12 hours. Rates can change on special event days. The garage has an 8-foot, 2-inch clearance, so buses and oversize vehicles should head to the Alder Planetarium surface parking lot on Lynn White Drive, off of Solidarity Drive. Please note that the fee for bus parking is twice the daily rate.
On special event parking days, try the Waldron parking deck, which offers 1,500 additional parking spaces just south of Soldier Field.
When you get to the North Garage, knowing a few secrets can make Museum Campus parking a breeze.
- The garage tends to be busiest between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. so if you can arrive earlier or later, you’ll face less traffic.
- While there is plenty of light in the North Garage, it’s always a good idea to keep your headlights on — you’ll be more visible that way.
- If you are parking with children, resist the urge to pull into the closest available spot. Consider driving farther to a spot that will give you time to unload without as many cars passing by.
- The garage’s elevators are at the south corners of the garage, opposite the direction of the museums.