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The Most Amazing Must-Visit Chicago Museums

Chicago is a city that is always pumping the wheels of art, culture, history, and music. It’s only right then that the city boasts some of the most interesting and wonderful museums of any city on the planet. No matter who you are, visitor, backpacker or local there is always something new and fascinating to discover. Whether you’re into industry, art, war, environment, film, dance or music, Chicago museums have something for you. Come with us as we explore the top 10 Chicago museums.

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago
Image by Ed Bierman on flicker

Probably the most famous Chicago museum, the Art Institute of Chicago is guarded by two huge bronze statues of lions who line the steps into this fascinating building. The building itself was initially opened as the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1879, back then it was actually used as a school and museum. Inside, visitors are treated to artworks by Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh to name a few. In total, there are over 300,000 displays here which means you will struggle to explore the entire place in just one day and makes this the top Chicago art museum.

Be sure to plan ahead and look into any free events or special exhibitions that are regularly held here. Recent events have included Expressive Ink, an exclusive display of paintings by Yang Yanping and Zeng Shanqing.

Open Times:
Daily from 10:30–17:00
Thursdays until 20:00.

Admission:
Adult – $25
Teens (14-17) – $19.
Children (up to 14) – Free
Senior – $19
Student – $19

Free Museum Day:
Every Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. general admission is free for Illinois residents. Anyone under the age of 18 gets in for free too.

Address:
Michigan Avenue Entrance
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60603

Museum of Science and Industry

Chicago Museum
Image by wnk1029 from Pixabay

The Chicago science and industry museum is all about interactivity! Making it perfect for family days out. The exhibitions are built within the walls of a building that was originally built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. There is so much to do and discover at the Chicago Science and industry you won’t know where to start! The top highlight is the impressive U- 505 Submarine, WW2 terror machine of the oceans. Explore the history of how the submarine was captured from the Germans, learn about what life was like onboard and details of how it was brought to America.

Open Times:
Daily from 09:00–16:00

Admission:
Adult – $19.95
Children (3-11) – $10.95

Free Museum Day:
Dates vary, please check the website.

Address:
5700 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago
IL 60637
USA

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

 Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Image by Nate Burgos on flickr

Meet the Chicago children’s museum on a mission to connect young people to nature. For over 160 years this museum has been a constant source of education on the environment, wildlife and ecosystems. Inside you have the opportunity to learn about the Ice Age mammals and how they survived the blistering cold or learn about butterflies get their beautiful colors. Interactive displays and exhibits make this the perfect place for families to come learn and have fun together all in one place and for a wonderful cause.

The museum is open Monday-Friday 09:00–17:00 and weekends 10:00-17:00. Some exceptions may apply so check the website before visiting. Adult admission is $9, children aged 3-12 pay $6. Seniors and students both pay $7. Free for children under 3.

Open Times:
Monday-Friday 09:00–17:00
Weekends 10:00-17:00

Admission:
Adult – $9
Children (3-12) – $6
Children (under 3) – Free
Seniors and Students – $7

Free Museum Day:
Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents.

Address:
2430 N Cannon Dr
Chicago
IL 60614
USA

Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art,
Image by WikiCommons

Not all art has to be old and made by men who cut their own ear off. The contemporary museum in Chicago showcases the largest number of artworks created after 1950. The museum was opened in 1967 during the ‘swinging sixties’ with a mission to provide visitors with an insight into post-WW2 art.

Expect to find some of the most cutting edge and innovative art amongst all the Chicago museums. This Chicago art museum is most famous for exhibiting the biggest and best art exhibitions that tour the world. Current exhibitions at the contemporary museum include Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech, a look at the infamous designers’ work in fashion, architecture, music, and art.

Open Times:
Monday 10:00–17:00
Tuesday 10:00–21:00
Wednesday–Thursday 10:00–17:00
Friday 10:00–21:00
Weekends 10:00–17:00

Admission:
Adult – $15
Under 18’s – Free
Students, teachers, and seniors – $8

Free Museum Day:
Every Tuesday (Illinois residents only)

Address:
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago
IL 60611
USA

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium
Image by changyong lee from Pixabay

Ever wanted to go to a sky theater and travel through time and space? Well, at the Adler Planetarium it’s possible! The domed sky theatre projects films in ultra HD for an unforgettable experience exploring the known and unknown in our vast universe. The exhibit ‘Moon Mission’ is a fantastic way to learn more about the space race between the US and Russia in a fun and interactive way. If you are over 21 don’t miss the ‘After Dark’ exhibits that are regularly held at the museum. Don’t miss the Adler Planetarium free days!

Open Times:
Daily 09:00–16:00

Admission:
Adult – $19
Children (3-11) – $8
Seniors and Students – $17

Free Museum Day:
Free and discounted days differ, please check the museum website in advance.

Address:
1300 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago,
IL 60605
USA

National Museum of Mexican Art

Mexican Art
Image by Gozamos on flickr

This Chicago art museum is home to the largest Latino cultural organizations in the USA which consists of a 7,000 piece collection including folk art, contemporary works, and Mesoamerican artifacts. The museum allows it’s visitors to explore and learn about the long and vibrant culture of Mexico through impressive art displays and exhibits. Watch out for upcoming theatrical performances that are held here plus special exhibitions.

Open Times:
Tuesday-Sunday 10:00–17:00
Closed on Mondays

Admission:
Free for everyone

Free Museum Day:
Always free to the general public.

Address:
1852 W. 19th street
Chicago,
IL 60608
USA

The Field Museum

t rex
Image by WikiCommons

Initially, The Field Museum was created to store the anthropological and biological collections that were used for the World’s Colombian Exposition of 1893. Today, The Field Museum still houses more than 30 exhibitions that cover just over 300,000 square feet! Here you can find anything from dinosaurs, ancient Chinese artifacts, precious gems to Egyptian tombs!

Currently, the museum is exhibiting ‘Fantastic Bug Encounters’ where you can learn all about the different species of bugs and their fascinating lives. Alternatively, you can check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards which hosts some of the most impressive wildlife photography out of all the Chicago museums on offer you will ever see.

Open Times:
Daily from 09:00–17:00

Admission:
Adult – $38
Children (3-11) – $29
Senior – $35

Free Museum Day:
Dates vary, please check their website.

Address:
1400 S Lake Shore Dr
Chicago
IL 60605
USA

The Oriental Institute Museum

Palace of Sargon II, The Oriental Institute Museum
Image by WikiCommons

This museum is run by the University of Chicago with the aim to expose visitors to the long and fascinating ancient history of the Middle-East and Asia. Expect to find artifacts that date back almost 6,000 years from places such as Persia, Assyria, Anatolia, Israel, and Egypt. The displays here are permanent but there are revolving events throughout the year such as guided tours, travel programs and fun practical activities for kids.

Open Times:
Daily from 10:00–17:00 (Closed on Mondays)

Admission:
Adult – $10 (Suggested)
Children (under 12) – $5 (Suggested)

Free Museum Day:
Always free (suggested donations above)

Address:
1155 East 58th Street
Chicago,
Illinois 60637
USA

DuSable Museum of African American History

Museum History
Image by WikiCommons

African-American history is deeply important in the USA and this museum is focused on just that. Opened in 1961, it was one of the first of its kind. Today, it remains one of the oldest African-American museums in the country displaying a number of records, artifacts, and artworks that help tell the story of the unjustly marginalized people at that time in America. The history is not all old either, look out for Chance the Rapper’s Grammy award for his album ‘Colouring Book’. The museum also holds regular events including music performances and photography galleries.

Open Times:
Tuesday-Saturday 10:00–17:00
Sunday noon-15:00
Closed on Mondays

Admission:
Adult – $10
Children (6-11) – $3
Children (under 5) – Free
Senior – $7

Free Museum Day:
Every Tuesday

Address:
740 E 56th Pl
Chicago
IL 60637
USA

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum
Image by WikiCommons

Once, the Chicago Historical Society building and now the impressive Chicago History Museum. Fortunately, the huge library of old photographs from the society is still available today for viewing but there is a lot more to discover now too. The most popular exhibits include the ‘Crossroads of America’ where you can delve into the deep history of Chicago with photos, records, and photographs to learn from. There is also a huge collection of vintage clothing and fashion pieces here that will be interesting to any of those interested in the fashion world. Visitors who enjoy this museum may also enjoy The Design Museum of Chicago.

Open Times:
Monday 09:30–14:30
Tuesday 09:30-21:00
Wednesday – Saturday 09:30-14.30
Sunday noon-17:00

Admission:
Adult – $19
Children (under 18) – Free
Senior – $17
Students (19-22) – $17

Free Museum Day:
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4, and July 4.

Address:
1601 N Clark St
Chicago
IL 60614
USA

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