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Museums in Chicago

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Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Illinois Chicago Museums in Chicago

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Introduction

Chicago on a Perfect Day

Chicago on a Perfect Day

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Apart from strolling around the Windy City, Chicago offers also a lot for those times when the wind is too strong or it's just too cold or rainy to be outside anyway. These are the best museums in the city.

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Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry is an excellent museum for children and adults. Located in the only remaining building of the 1893 World Fair on the north end of Jackson Park the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is one of the best museums in the USA. With extremely interactive exhibits children can spend days running around and enjoy learning how the world works with their parents. Some of the major exhibits include a rebuilt coal mine, a WW II German U-Boat, the Henry Crown Space Center with Omni Max Theater and many insightful scientific exhibits. If traveling with children this museum is a must.

Museum of Science of Industry

Museum of Science of Industry

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  • Address: 57th and Lake Shore drive
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30am-4:00pm, Sun 11:00am-4:00pm.
  • Website: http://www.msichicago.org/
  • Getting There: If traveling between the major sights take the number 10 bus. If not near a number 10 bus stop take the number 6 bus to 56th street then walk south to the museum. Or take the Metra to 57th street and walk east to the museum.

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Shed Aquarium

The Shed Aquarium is a world class aquarium located on the coast of Lake Michigan. Along with having 100s of species of domestic and international salt and fresh water fish it also has a state of the art oceanarium. The oceanarium has Pacific Northwest dolphins, beluga whales, sea otters, seals and penguins. There is also an exhibit featuring life in the world’s coral reefs. Lastly there is an excellent exhibit on lizards featuring a Komodo Dragon the world’s largest lizard. This is a great location if someone wants to learn and see interesting animals.

  • Address: 1200 South Lake Shore Drive (Museum Campus).
  • Opening Hours: Weekdays 9:00am-5:00pm; Weekends 9:00am-6:00pm.
  • http://www.sheddaquarium.org
  • Getting There: Take the red or orange line CTA train towards the loop and exit at the Roosevelt Road/Museum Campus station, where you can grab a Museum Campus trolley or transfer to the CTA bus #12. Also you can take the number 146 bus Marine-Michigan to the museum campus daily.

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Field Museum

If you want dinosaurs and ancient cultures this is your place. The Field Museum is one of the best natural history museums in the world. With plenty of interactive exhibits for children and lots of information for adults this is a win win location for a family visit. Some of the highlights include an excellent dinosaur and early mammal fossil collection. There is also an excellent collection of artifacts from people around the world. The massive size of the museum guarantees that you can go back to it a dozen times and still see completely different exhibits.

  • Address: 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, 312-922-9410.
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9:00am-5:00pm.
  • http://www.fieldmuseum.org/
  • Getting There: Take the red or orange line CTA train towards the loop and exit at the Roosevelt Road/Museum Campus station, where you can grab a Museum Campus trolley or transfer to the CTA bus #12. Also you can take the number 146 bus Marine-Michigan to the museum campus daily.

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Adler Planetarium

The excellent Adler Planetarium is located at the tip of the museum campus jutting out into the lake is a good place to visit for everyone’s inner stargazer. There is information on every different astrological event in the cosmos. Along with fun educational movies that change regularly on different astrological phenomena.

  • Address: 300 South Lake Shore Drive, 60605, 312-922-STAR.
  • Opening Hours: Winter: Mon-Sun 9:30am-4:30pm, first Friday of the month 9:30am-10:00pm. Summer: Mon-Sun 9:30am-6:00pm, first Friday of the month 9:30am-10:00pm.
  • http://www.adlerplanetarium.org
  • Getting There: Take the red or orange line CTA train towards the loop and exit at the Roosevelt Road/Museum Campus station, where you can grab a Museum Campus trolley or transfer to the CTA bus #12. Also you can take the number 146 bus Marine-Michigan to the museum campus daily.

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Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago

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The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the premier art museums in the world. The collection contains rare and famous works by Monet, Rene Marquette, Picasso and countless others. The collection has more of a focus on late 19th century and early 20th century art. Although there is a very good modern collection, including works by Chuck Close, and ancient art section, including some excellent ancient Chinese and Mayan works. For Children there is a nice touch gallery in the basement next to a nice miniature gallery and there is also a medieval armor collection in the back wing.

  • Address: 111 South Michigan Av, Chicago, IL 60603.
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Weds, Fri 10:30am-5:00pm; Thurs 10:30am-8:00pm; Sat-Sun 10:00am-5:00pm
  • http://www.artic.edu/
  • Admission: Thursday Evening Free
  • Getting There: Take the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink or Purple line and exit at Adams/Wabash then walk east towards the museum. Or take the red or blue line underground exit at Monroe then walk east to the museum.

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Chicago Children’s Museum

The Chicago’s Children Museum is located on the lakefront in the famous Navy Pier complex. This great children’s museum include many great interactive and hands on exhibits that the child and inner child of every person can enjoy. One of its not to miss revolutionary exhibits is the “How People Make Things” which teaches children and parents how things are made and operated in the world.

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Museum of Contemporary Art

This funky building right off of North Michigan Ave that is the Museum of Contemporary Art is an excellent place to see the happenings in this form of art. The permanent collection is relatively small although interesting. The major strength of this museum is the constant in flux and out flux of contemporary art. Therefore before any visit to Chicago it is worth checking out what is currently being shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

  • Address: 220 East Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL, 60611, 312-280-2660
  • Opening Hours: Tues 10:00am-8:00pm, Wends-Sat 10:00am-5:00pm, Mon closed
  • http://www.mcachicago.org/
  • Admission: Tuesday Free
  • Getting There: Take the CTA red line to Chicago Ave and then walk towards the museum. Or Take the number 10 or number 66 CTA bus.

Chicago Nature Museum

The Chicago Nature Museum is one of the newer museums located just north of Lincoln Park Zoo. They have great exhibits on a range of natural subjects. The museums exhibits change regularly so make sure to check the website. It is also very child friendly. The nature museum also hosts many wonderful events and has some animals on site.

  • Address: 2430 N. Cannon Dr, Chicago, IL, 60614
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am-4:30pm, Sat & Sun 10:00am-5:00pm
  • http://www.naturemuseum.org/
  • Adults: $9, Children 3 to 12: $6, Children under 3: Free, Seniors 60+: $7

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DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History is a small museum and is located off of 55th street on the east side of Washington Park gives a good introduction to African American culture and history in Chicago. The exhibits are child friendly and easy to navigate.

  • Address: 740 East 56th Place, Chicago IL, 60637, 773-947-0600.
  • Opening Hours: Tues-Sat 10:00am-5:00pm, Sun noon-5:00pm, Mon closed.
  • http://www.dusablemuseum.org
  • Getting There: Take the red line south to 55th street the take the 55th street bus to Cottage Grove then walk south and west into Washington park for about 50 metres

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Oriental Institute of Chicago

Oriental Institute of Chicago

Oriental Institute of Chicago

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The Oriental Institute of Chicago is a small museum located on the University of Chicago campus has a great collection of ancient Middle Eastern artifacts excavated during the early 20th century. There are artifacts from the ancient empires of Mesopotamia, Khorsabad, Assyria, Anatolia, Syria, Megiddo, Egypt, Persia and Nubia. The major downside of the Oriental Institute is that there are very few interactive exhibits making some children not interested.

  • Address: 1155 E 58th Street, Chicago IL, 60637, 773-702-9520.
  • Opening hours: Tue, Thu-sat 10:00am-6:00pm; Wed 10:00am-8:30pm; Sun 12-6:00pm; Mon closed
  • http://oi.uchicago.edu/
  • Getting There: Take the number 6 CTA bus from downtown to 57th street, then walk west on 57th street till Dorchester then go 1 block south to 58th street and continue west down 58th street. Or Take the Metra train from downtown till 57th street, then walk west on 57th street till Dorchester then go 1 block south to 58th street and continue west down 58th street

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Smart Museum

The Smart Museum is a small museum and is owned and operated by the University of Chicago. Its collection is reasonable, accept for the original furniture from Robie House and a Diego Rivera painting of the wife of a U of C professor. There is also a nice collection of ancient Chinese art. Also at many times of the year there will be very interesting traveling or temporary shows making it worth looking at the website.

  • Address: 5550 S. Greenwood Av, Chicago IL, 60637.
  • Opening Hours: Tues, Wed, Fri 10:00am – 5:00pm;
Thurs 10:00am - 8:00pm;
Sat & Sun 10:00am - 5:00pm. Galleries are closed Mondays and major holidays.
  • http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/
  • Admission: Free.
  • Getting There: From downtown take the number 6 bus to 55th street. Then walk west on 55th street till Greenwood and turn south. Or take metra from downtown till 55th street and walk west on 55th street till Greenwood. Then turn south onto Greenwood.

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Robie House

Robie House

Robie House

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The Robie House is a prime example of the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. This prairie style home was built in 1910 and then registered as a historic place in the city of Chicago in 1966. This is a beautiful house to tour for any person interested in architecture or Frank Lloyd Right. If you want to see the original furniture it is on display at the Smart Museum.

  • Address: 5757 S. Woodlawn Av, Chicago, IL 60637.
  • Opening Hours: Opens 10:00am daily.
  • Robie House webpage
  • Getting There: From Downtown take the number 6 CTA bus to 57th street. Walk west on 57th street to Woodlawn. Walk south on Woodlawn and it is on the corner of Woodlawn and 58th street. Or take the Metra from Downtown till 57th street, walk west on 57ths street till Woodlawn. Turn south on Woodlawn and the house is located on the corner of 58th and Woodlawn.

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The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum is a small museum featuring art about and by Vietnam veterans. Although it has now expanded to include veterans of most America wars and has some recent photography from the war in Iraq.

  • Address: 1801 S Indiana Ave, Chicago, IL, 60616
  • Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 11:00am-6:00pm, Sat 10:00am-5:00pm
  • http://www.nvvam.org/
  • Getting There: From downtown take CTA bus number 1, 3 or 4 south to 18th street then walk one block east.

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