Indoor Activities and Things to Do in Chicago
Famously known as the "Windy City", Chicago is a city that's used to cold or uncomfortable weather. There is no shortage of indoor activities around town, so even when the weather doesn't go your way, there's still plenty to do in Chicago. From museums to shopping, these are some of the best activities for a rainy day in the city.
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
Shedd Aquarium is Chicago's indoor aquarium with more than 32,000 animals. It's located on Museum Campus and has a number of exhibits that include fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and more.
1200 South Lake Shore Drive, South Loop, Chicago, Illinois, 60605
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
Chicago Children’s Museum
The Chicago Children's Museum is a world class kid's museum located at Navy Pier. With a Tinkering Lab, WaterWay playground, and the Treehouse Trails, kids can play, build, explore and immerse themselves in a world of imagination. These exhibits are perfect for young kids whose imagination guides their play, and exploration is how they learn.
700 E Grand Ave, Streeterville, Chicago, IL, 60611
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
The Chicago Theatre
This famous theatre resides in the heart of Chicago. Visitors will be greeted at the entry with the large and frequently photographed "Chicago" sign out front, and then mesmerized by the gorgeous and historic interior with murals on the ceilings and sculptures throughout. The venue puts on a large number of shows from concerts to theatre productions and plays and musicals throughout the year. If you're in town, grab a ticket to any event and you won't be dissapointed.
175 N State Street, Loop, Chicago, Illinois
Bronzeville Children’s Museum
Bronzeville Children’s Museum is the first African American children’s museum in the United States. This unique museum takes visitors on a guided tour through a number of hands-on, interactive exhibits. There are a variety of kid-friendly exhibits including "You Are What You Eat", and the African American Inventors tour. This museum is great for kids between the ages of 3 and 9.
9301 S Stony Island Ave, Bronzeville, Chicago, IL, 60617
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
Herbert Trackman Planetarium, Joliet
Located at Joliet Junior College in the western suburbs of Chicago, this planetarium puts on shows in their 30 ft. dome which educate and entertain the public about all things astronomical. Students, school groups, and the general public attend the shows which are scheduled throughout the year.
1215 Houbolt Road, F-Building, Joliet, Illinois, 60431
Walden Pond & Thoreau's Cabin
Henry David Thoreau, the famous American author, wrote some of his most famous works at this cabin which is now a museum and park. Visitors can walk around the famous Walden Pond which has a small beach area and walking trails. It's a nice spot for a swim in the summer. The area is now a state park and open to the public.
915 Walden St, Concord, Massachusetts
The Chicago Cultural Center
Located in Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center opened in 1897 to house the first Chicago Public Library and to serve as the headquarters for the Grand Army of the Republic. Today it is a free cultural center that hosts a number of free concerts, art exhibits and other activities that are open to the public.
78 E Washington St, Millennium Park, Chicago, IL, 60602
U-46 Planetarium, Elgin
The U-46 Planetarium is run by the Elgin public school system. Operating since 1963, the building is actually registered as a historic place which still provides educational and entertaining astronomy shows to local students and the general public.
355 E Chicago St, Elgin, Illinois, 60120
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $26 to $116. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $50. A few of the best options are below.
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