Info The Museum of Contemporary Art is a non-profit organization and museum space located just off the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. The modest-sized gallery space features permanent and rotating exhibitions, and also hosts special events throughout the year. The MCA opened in October 1967 featuring installations by ... more
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Info The Chicago History Museum is located in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood, at the southern end of Lincoln Park. It is the city’s oldest cultural institution, and tells the story of Chicago through its museum space, publications, and events. Founded in 1856, the Chicago History Museum was originally located downtown at the ... more
1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Info The Art Institute Chicago, located next to Millennium Park, is the second-largest art museum in the U.S., and even frequent visitors haven’t explored all of its 300,000+ permanent pieces. Stone lions flank the entrance to the main building, which was built in 1893 and has a classic museum feel, with soaring ceilings and ... more
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
Info Part of the Chicago’s Museum Campus on the lake, the Field Museum of Natural History developed from the city’s World Columbian Exhibition in 1893. The Field Museum’s neo-classical building holds exhibits devoted to the natural sciences and anthropology – think mummies, wooly mammoths, and fossils. The main lobby is home ... more
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Info Located next to the lake in Hyde Park, the Museum of Science and Industry occupies an imposing building from the World Columbian Exhibition of 1893, the event featured in the bestselling book The Devil in the White City. Of the 200 buildings built for the event, only the Museum of Science and Industry and one nearby building ... more
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
Like any big city, Chicago has many tucked-away specialty museums like the Museum of Surgical Science! The world-class museums in Chicago, however, are the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Museum of Contemporary Art.
Of all these Chicago museums, the best known is the Art Institute, with its sprawling maze of artwork from different periods. Its new showcase, the stunning Modern Wing, is a piece of art in itself. Like many of the other biggies, the Art Institute has regular evening events for young professionals and art lovers. Its After Dark events let revelers drink cocktails while looking at pieces by Picasso and Lichtenstein.
The Museum of Contemporary Art’s First Fridays have become a tradition in this town, and singles mingle over abstract pieces and debate the question “What exactly is this supposed to be?” Similarly, the three museums of the lakefront Museum Campus – the Field, the Shedd, and the Alder – give visitors the choice of wholesome family viewing during the day or flirty cocktails at night. Either way, you will get to see the famous T-Rex known as Sue at the Field, and the Shedd allows you to actually jump in and swim with the dolphins.
Smaller museums away from downtown also have benefits, events, and quality restaurants. The Chicago History Museum and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, both in Lincoln Park, provide solitude and enlightenment without the downtown crowds. At Notebaert, you might even find yourself walking among butterflies in their indoor haven.