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Chicago Arts

Art in Chicago

Chicago art and history is rooted in cultural heritage and diverse ideas. There are many museums and cultural centers to visit and learn from.

Gallery Guide

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Public Art Locations

Flamingo, Universe by Calder, Alexander Adams and Dearborn
Large Interior Form by Moore, Henry 201 S. Michigan
Monument Standing Beast by Dubuffet, Jean Randolph and Clark
Chicago Sculpture by Miro, Joan 75 W. Washington
Dawn Shadows by Nevelson, Louise Madison and Wells
Four Seasons by Chagall, Mark Monroe and Dearborn
Sculpture Untitled by Picasso, Pablo Washington and Dearborn

Major Chicago Museums

Adler Planetarium
1300 South Lake Shore Drive
(312) 922-STAR
For centuries the vast expanse of outerspace and what lies beyond has intrigued humankind. Adler Planetarium is the best bet in town for unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos and catching an up-close glimpse of our universe. The Doane Observatory offers visitors a traditional star-gazing opportunity through a high-powered telescope that brings planets and moons within plain sight. Adler supplies a more virtual experience through its other features like the Sky Theater (the classic planetarium show) and a 3D exploration of the Milky Way.

Adler is located at the far northeast point of Northerly Island on the Museum Campus. Galileo’s Café is situated inside the main facility and serves breakfast and lunch. The Infinity Giftshop is also on-site and carries an out-of-this-world inventory of astronomy-related books, toys, trinkets, jewelry and apparel.

Museum of Science and Industry
5700 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL
773-955-9503
The Museum of Science and Industry is one of Chicago’s most popular destinations, for tourists and residents alike. The sprawling museum is a favorite among families and is renowned for its educational exhibits and interactive displays. Visitors can watch live demonstrations of how the Earth reacts to environmental impacts and travel back in time to the age of the dinosaur for a realistic look at how prehistoric creatures lived. New eco-friendly exhibits introduce innovative breakthroughs in green living practices and teach museum guests how they can help conserve natural resources, too.

The Omnimax and 3D Theater are a fun way to envelope yourself in action-packed excitement and adventure. Take an eye-opening journey through the screen to explore underwater worlds and voyage across the globe. Some long-time museum exhibits that continue to captivate the crowds are the Coal Mine Ride, the Whispering Gallery, the ToyMaker 3000, and the miniature Fairy Castle. Even with new additions to the line-up of high-tech presentations and performances, the original productions never seem to lose their charm. 

The Museum of Science and Industry is open Monday through Saturday (9:30am to 4pm) and Sunday (11am to 4pm), with the exception of Christmas Day.

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
312-443-3600
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the city’s must-see attractions. Whether you are in town visiting or reside in the area, the Art Institute is a Chicago treasure that never gets old. The exhibits have something for every taste, from modern photography and sculpture to ancient ceramics and jewelry. The expansive museum floorplan scales three levels and extends through several wings of galleries and display space. General admission is $12 for adults; $7 for children, students and seniors; and kids under 12 are free. Special exhibits and audio-guided tours cost extra, but are an excellent way to learn about the various pieces of artwork and their creators. There is also a café and restaurant on the premises to grab a snack or a meal while visiting.

The Art Institute was founded as a museum and school 170 years ago, at the height of Chicago’s renaissance. It moved to its present location in 1893, the year of the World Fair, and has grown to include over 5,000 years of artwork from around the globe. A new Modern Wing is scheduled to open in 2009, adding a contemporary annex to the late 19th century building. Museum hours are 10:30am to 5pm Monday – Wednesday and on Friday; 10:30am to 8pm on Thursday (with free admission from 5 – 8pm); and 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday – closed on New Years Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Field Museum
1201 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL
312-665-7909
This hands-on museum is extremely family-friendly and packed with cool exhibits that keep enthusiasts coming back for more. From Body Worlds to King Tut, the Field Museum always has a jaw-dropping display you won’t want to miss. In fact, these featured traveling exhibitions are so popular visitors usually have to buy tickets in advance in order to see them. The rest of the museum offers a fascinating expedition of different continents and cultures, ecosystems and plant life, nature and animals, microscopic organisms and DNA matter. And, with the widespread interest in global warming and the effect on our planet, the Field Museum also delves into the controversial issue of retracting Arctic ice shelves with a temporary exhibit called Melting Ice – A Hot Topic.

One of the permanent installations that greets guests as they enter the main foyer of the museum is Sue, a 13-foot-tall fossilized skeleton of a T. Rex that consists of over 200 bones. She stands in the central atrium as a sort of symbol for the Field Museum itself.

Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL
312-431-9231
They say having a fish tank is calming. Well if that’s true, the Shedd Aquarium must be the most tranquil place in Chicago! This underwater playland includes a 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef habitat, a 400,000-gallon shark tank and a state-of-the-art Oceanarium with 3 million galloons of salt water. While all of Shedd’s exhibits are captivating, the Oceanarium is its main attraction. Designed to reflect the seaside landscape of the Pacific Northwest, this conifer-clad setting is a perfect environment for Shedd’s family of dolphins and Beluga whales. The playful group of marine mammals put on quite a show for guests, jumping out of the water into the air and scooting upright across the surface with the strength of their tails.

Every kind of aquatic being, from cute clown fish to poisonous Amazonia amphibians are represented at Shedd. They even have a number of reptiles in the Lizards exhibit, which includes a Komodo Dragon, a 12-foot-long crocodile, and chameleons galore. Not a fan of the creepy-crawly? Head over to the Waters of the World galleries where you can travel from the Great Lakes to the wetlands and see the intricate species that live within.

Museum of Contemporary Art
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL
312-397-3855

Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington Street
Chicago, IL
312-744-6630

Chicago Children's Museum
700 East Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL
312-527-1000

DuSable Museum of African-American History
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL
773-947-0600

Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum
1852 West 19th Street
Chicago, IL
312-738-1503