The Best Museums in Chicago
Chicago is home to some of the most exciting museums in the country. These institutions range from small local museums to world-renowned museums like the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. No matter what your interest, Chicago offers a museum for everyone from kids to adults.
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
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum offers educational exhibits on the natural world. There are exhibits that cover a number of habitats including the prairies and river ecosystems. There's also an outdoor nature trail (1/3 mile) and a butterfly room.
2430 N Cannon Dr, Lincoln Park, Chicago, 60614
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
DuSable Museum of African American History
Opened in 1961, this African American history museum is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. It has a collection of artifacts that highlight the lives of important historical figures such as Ida B. Wells and Langston Hughes. There's a growing collection of pieces that range from African American art to Chance the Rapper's Grammy award.
740 E 56th Pl, Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
Chicago Architecture Center
Located in the impressive Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s skyscraper at One Illinois Center, this museum has exhibits on the many skyscrapers of Chicago. Located right by the Chicago Riverwalk, they offer a number of walking, bus and boat tours as well.
111 E Wacker Dr,, South Shore, Chicago, IL, 60601
The Oriental Institute Museum
This small museum is run by the University of Chicago and has archaeological artifacts from up to 6,000 years ago. Pieces are from around the globe including ancient civilizations such as Assyria, Anatolia, Israel, Egypt, Persia and in the Mesopotamian.
1155 E 58th St, Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
American Writers Museum
Located near Millennium Park, this unique writers museum is the first of its kind in the United States. It offers an overview on the history of American writing including a variety of genres such as fiction, poetry, journalism, and more. It highlights several specific authors and has a number of relics from the history of writing.
180 North Michigan Ave, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60601
Chicago History Museum
This fascinating museum has exhibits that educate visitors on the history of the city and it's unique personality. With information on everything from Abraham Lincoln to Chicago-style hot dogs, this museum offers a bit of insight into how Chicago became Chicago. There are old photographs, vintage vehicles, and plenty to explore.
1601 N Clark St., Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, 60614
Pritzker Military Museum & Library
This museum houses a number of artifacts, books, photographs, maps, and other items relating to the history of the American military. The museum fee includes a military themed tour and a number of exhibits on the history of American wars.
104 S Michigan Ave, Loop, Chicago, IL, 60603
Museum of Science and Industry
This informative science museum has unique exhibits on everything from mirrors and mazes to the weather. It's a very interactive museum that's perfect for visitors of all ages. There's a restored U-505 German submarine as well as a simulated coal mine. The unique exhibits at this museum make it a popular destination within the city.
5700 S Lake Shore Dr., Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, 60637
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum
This free museum will teach you all about money. You can keep your hard earned cash while you learn all about historical currencies, how the Federal Reserve works, and more. It's a fascinating and unique museum for anybody with or without money.
230 S LaSalle St., Loop, Chicago, IL, 60604
Chicago Sports Museum
This interactive museum is perfect for kids and adults who love sports. It's a high tech museum that lets you test your skills against some of the best athletes of all time including Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. There are simulators that let you drive a high-octane race car and virtual reality games that let you go up against some of the greats.
835 N Michigan Ave, The Magnificent Mile, Chicago, IL, 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
Ukrainian National Museum
Located in the historical Ukrainian Village neighborhood, this museum houses a number of Ukrainian artifacts, artwork, musical instruments, and folk costumes.
2241 West Superior Street, Ukrainian Village, Chicago, Illinois, 60612
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
International Museum of Surgical Science
This unique museum is run by The International College of Surgeons and has a number of interesting exhibits including photographs, sculptures, medical equipment, skeletons, medical specimens, and a library with more than 5,000 rare medical texts.
1524 North Lake Shore Drive, Gold Coast, Chicago, Illinois, 60611
The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum is one of the largest national history museums in the world. It has impressive exhibits and educational programs as well as a large collection of specimen and artifacts. The exhibits are diverse and show fossils, cultures, and interactive programming that the whole family can enjoy.
1400 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
This planetarium and museum focuses on the study of astronomy and astrophysics. It was established in 1930, making it the first planetarium in the country. It is also part of Chicago's Museum Campus. From outside of the museum you can enjoy a skyline view of the city, and when the weather is calm you might even catch it's reflection in the water.
1300 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
How much does it cost to visit the museums in Chicago?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $14 to $200. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $70. A few of the best options are below.
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