The Best Art Museums in Chicago
Chicago has no shortage of art museums. From major city attractions like the Art Institute and The Field Museum to smaller museums like The Smart Museum and The Museum Without Walls, you'll find something engaging to do in any Chicago neighborhood. Many of these museums are world-famous and have art that can't bee seen anywhere else. On the smaller side, the city's streets are home to smaller galleries and unique finds, so keep exploring after you see the major attractions.
Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower is a landmark of the Old Chicago Water Tower District. It sits along the famous Magnificent Mile shopping district and was built in 1869, making it the second oldest water town in the country. Inside the building is a gallery that features local artists and photographers.
800 North Michigan Avenue, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois, 60611
Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago dates back to 1879 and is found in Chicago's Grant Park. It's home to one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country where it houses a large collection of more than 300,000 works including Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist and Grant Wood's American Gothic.
111 South Michigan Avenue, Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60604
Smart Museum of Art
Located on the University of Chicago campus, this art museum houses the university's collection of fine arts and antiquities. There are ceramics and ancient works all the way to contemporary pieces. There's also a sculpture garden in the courtyard.
5550 S Greenwood Ave, Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
Richard H. Driehaus Museum
This grand museum offers an impressive setting with its marble floors, ornate staircases, and elegant fireplaces. It's decorated with antique furnishings and opulent art. This museum is located in the former Nickerson Mansion, often called the Marble Palace and it hosts a number of rotating exhibits and activities throughout the year.
40 E Erie St, Near North Side, Chicago, IL, 60611
National Museum of Mexican Art
The National Museum of Mexican Art highlights Mexican, Latino, and Chicano art and culture. This is the only Latino museum that's accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
1852 West 19th Street, Pilsen, Chicago, Illinois, 60608
Museum of Contemporary Photography
This small museum is a unique place to visit. It has interesting vintage photos as well as modern works. There is an impressive collection by Dorothea Lange who photographed the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. There is also a featured exhibit that highlights Midwest photographers and their work with social issues from around the world.
600 S Michigan Ave, South Loop, Chicago, IL, 60605
Museum of Contemporary Art
This museum houses an impressive permanent collection with more than 2,500 pieces on display on a rotational basis. The works span the 1920s through present day. There are also a number of summer events hosted here including Tuesdays on the Terrace which offers free live jazz performances in the museum gardens. On summer mornings there are weekly farmer's markets.
220 E Chicago Ave, Streeterville, Chicago, IL, 60611
The Boeing Galleries, which include North Boeing Gallery and South Boeing Gallery, are a pair of outdoor exhibits located in Millennium Park. The galleries display a series of contemporary and modern art works.
Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60601
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