With over 30 amazing Chicago museums to explore, there is bound to be a museum that will capture your interest. When you're visiting Chicago, checking out at least one of these museums is a MUST.
Chicago museums range from the popular Museum of Science and Industry and the Field Museum of Natural History, to more particular museums, such as the Chicago History Museum and Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum.
Everything from amazing art of all kinds to the newest scientific investions, you will be stepping into the past, present, and future as you experience the museums of Chicago.
Below are all the major museums throughout the Chicago area that you'll enjoy the most.
Located on Northerly Island at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, The Adler Planetarium is the oldest Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.
The Planetarium has many great exhibits and galleries that show topics like cyberspace, our solar system, planetary machines, telescopes, and much more.
You even have the chance to experience a beautiful night sky with all the stars, planets, and constellations above you.
Don't forget to visit The Adler Store to get a nice souvenir, and the Café Galileo's to get something to eat.
Located at 2000 N. 5th Ave. in River Grove, the Cernan Earth and Space Center is a public planetarium on the campus of Triton College.
The Cernan Center has a 44-foot, 100-seat dome theater that features amazing star shows, wraparound films, laser shows, and much more.
The Cernan Center also has many fun earth and space related exhibits that explore the latest discoveries in astronomy, Earth science, and space exploration. Also there is a cool Space Hall and a gift shop.
Open all year to all ages.
Located at Fermilab at Kirk Road and Pine Street in Batavia, the Lederman Science Center has many hands-on exhibits that are appropriate for kids ages 10 and older.
The exhibits deal with a lot of physics and allow you to experience what goes on at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or, Fermilab everyday.
Some of the exhibits include: Accelerators, Bending Beams, Catching Cosmic Rays, even taking a Cosmoc Ray Shower.
The Lederman Science Center can take groups five or fewer at anytime Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM and is a lot of fun for the whole family.
Located at 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, IL, the Morton Arboretum is great place to go to experience elaborate gardens and one of the largest herbarium collections in the world.
The conservation and planting of trees on their 1,700 acres is really amazing and consists of over 222,000 plants from all around the world.
Enjoy hiking on the 16 miles of trails, 9 miles of roads, and the 900 acres of natural areas.
Also, while on the grounds, visit the Visitor Center, Plant Clinic, The Arboretum Store, Maze Garden, Children's Garden, and much more.
And if you get hungry, don’t forget to check out Ginkgo Restaurant and Café.
Being home to America's only National Radio Hall of Fame Gallery, the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) is one of only three museums that showcase broadcast history in the country.
Located at 360 N. State Street, which is right next to Harry Caray's Restaurant, MBC has some great collections to show off in their many exhibits, not to mention the National Radio Hall of Fame, which has 183 Radio Hall of Fame inductees.
Some things found at the MBC include: Oprah's Door (through which she made here entrance everyday), a touch screen access to radio's greatest voices and best moments in radio history, a working radio and television studio, and much much more!
Located at E.57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, it is the largest museum dealing with science in the Western Hemisphere.
This museum is a must visit for anyone that is in the city to experience Chicago. In the museum displayed in 75 halls are over 2,000 exhibits that range from farm tech and genetics, to inventions and space related topics.
This is a great place for people at any age and will make for a very fun and educational day.
You will get in tuned with nature when you visit this nature museum located at 2430 N. Cannon Drive.
The museum offers over 100 different educational programs for children, teens, and adults dealing with the natural sciences.
They also have many great exhibits that go in depth with many natural science topics such as the nature of eating, how chocolate is made, the marshes of Chicago, RiverWorks, and much more.
One thing the museum is very big on it the study and care of native butterflies to support the Chicagoland area.
The butterfly house is definitely a MUST SEE with its more than 200 species of butterflies.
Located at 2603 Sheridan Road in Evanston, this art center is for anyone who enjoys art and wants to learn more about it.
They have many great art classes, public programs, and exhibits that explore all different kinds of art from Sculpting to paintings of all kinds to youth art.
The main galleries are change frequently and all admissions to see the galleries/exhibits are free and open seven days a week.
The second floor of the art center features exhibits of artists that are actually working in the many different classes there.
Located at 4146 N Elston Ave, you will experience what life was like growing up in a Latvian family around the 1900s.
The museums exhibits feature traditional Latvian clothing, toys, costumes, and ceramics which are all beautiful and designed so well.
This is a great museum to take the entire family and expose them to other cultures.
TIP: Call ahead because the museums walk-in hours are limited, so calling them will save a lot of time.
The art featured in the exhibits explore the spiritual in art from all cultures and eras, which makes it very unique from other Chicago museums.
Located at 820 North Michigan Avenue, the museum is open Tuesdays 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. and Wednesdays - Sundays 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
The museum has new exhibits all the time, but also has its permanent collections of Martin D'Arcy dealing with medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art that date back all the way to the 1100's.
Being one of the world's largest contemporary art venues, the museum showcases thousands of objects of Post-World War II visual art.
Located at 220 East Chicago Avenue near the Water Tower Place, the museum hosts several great exhibits that change all the time, but also have collections that are always there to see.
This collection features more than 2,500 objects with a strong focus on minimalism, photography, and other work from Chicago-based artists.
Besides all the great art that you will see, there is also a bookstore, restaurant, gift store, 300-seat theater, and a terraced sculpture garden.
Located at 600 South Michigan Avenue, at Columbia College Chicago, this museum is the leading photography museum in the Midwest that showcases a wide range of visual arts.
Like most of the art museums in Chicago, they have a permanent collection and selected exhibits that are changing all the time.
Their permanent collection consists of over 10,000 photographs and photographically related things, such as photograms, color works, and digital pieces.
Founded in 1982 by Carlos Tortolero, this museum showcases Mexican, Chicano, and Latino art and artifacts.
Located at 1852 W. 19th Street in the Pilsen neighborhood, the museum was accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is the only Latino museum to get that honor.
There are many different exhibits that display all different kinds of art from the past and present of Mexican history, which will help you step into their culture.
Located at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue, this museum has more than 800 pieces of art spread across three floors of exhibit space, and a theater area.
The museum gives you the unique experience of experiencing what war is like expressed through the art and artifacts.
The main focus of the museum is helping visitors understand the real impact of war with the focus being on the Vietnam War.
Amazing pieces of art and is a truly great experience.
Located at 1155 East 58th Street, this institute is the University of Chicago's archeology museum and research center.
They do research on ancient civilizations throughout Near East & the Chicago House and have a huge collection of art, artifacts, photos, documents, records, and publications.
They get these artifacts from digs in places like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Israel. Some of their most famous pieces include Megiddo Ivories, the old Persian capital, and a collection of Luristan Bronzes.
Opened in February of 2000 at Navy Pier, this permanent exhibit is a must-see if you are at navy Pier.
The exhibit holds over 150 different pieces of stained glass windows in four galleries and most of the works actually came from some Chicago-area buildings.
Stained glass is a beautiful art and the collection showcases many religious themes, as well as some unique items like a window made with glass soda bottles.
Located at 601 South Prospect Street, Galena, IL 61036, this museum focuses on the Art of Design which includes architecture, industrial, product design, graphics, and urban planning.
Even though the Athenaeum is based in Chicago, it is an international museum and holds offices and operations in Schaumburg, Dublin, Florence, Athens, and Hamburg/Berlin.
Their collections showcase examples of industrial design from the world's best architects and designers in the last couple centuries.
Other collections include Early Women in Design, the History of Modern Graphic Design, Photographic Archives, and their Architecture Collection.
Located at 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue on the campus of the University of Chicago, this museum has a permanent collection of over 10,000 objects that range from Asian art and European art, to contemporary art and modern design.
You will enjoy looking and admiring art that spans 5,000 years with amazing artists such as Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, Edgar Degas, and many more.
Admissions is free which is always good and the museum is great for the entire family.
Found at Navy Pier, this museum is a kid’s paradise with many fun and educational exhibits throughout its 57,000 square feet of space.
Your kids will not know where to start with exhibits that range from Dinosaur Expeditions to Treehouse Trails to three stories of ship-shape rigging to climb on.
definitely something to check out if you are at Navy Pier and have kids.
Located 55 miles northwest of Chicago in Union, Illinois, this museum is the largest railroad museum in the whole country.
There are over 450 pieces of equipment in the museum’s collection and many awesome displays.
After your visit you will have a much better understanding on how important railroads were and are to Chicago and the country as a whole.
Also, from April through October, you are allowed to ride on the museum's electric, diesel, and steam trains, which are a lot of fun, especially for the kids.
This museum can be found in Glenview, which is about 18 miles north of downtown Chicago.
The 46,700 square-foot museum was built on 8.8-acres, as well as a 2-acre outdoor exhibit area.
There are about 16 permanent exhibits and many other exhibits that come and go. These exhibits promote learning through hands-on fun for children ages birth to 8.
Everything from painting with water colors to playing "veterinarian" in their Pet Vet exhibit.
Located at 6500 S. Pulaski Rd. in the West Lawn neighborhood, which is very close to Midway International Airport, is the largest museum devoted to the Lithuanian language, history, and culture.
The museum holds many great events, workshops, and programs, as well as many great exhibits that take you through the history of the Lithuania culture and lifestyle.
Some of the main exhibits include Lithuania through the Ages, The Women's Guild Room, War after War, the Chronicle of Violence, and a Children's Museum.
Founded in 1856, the Chicago History Museum is the place to go to learn about the city's past, present, and future.
Located at 1601 North Clark Street, the museum explores the history of not only Chicago, but also America and many major points that changed the country forever.
The museum's collection has about 22 million holdings that include things such as a 16,000 square-foot space that showcases the city's development and impact on American history, over 600 objects that stretch back 200 years documenting the people and events through those centuries, and much more.
If you are visiting Chicago, this museum should definitely be one of your first stops so you get an understanding of how far Chicago has come and what it has done for America as a whole.
Located at 740 East 56th Place, this museum is the oldest museum dedicated to African American history, culture, and art.
the museum’s collection includes over 13,000 books, artifacts, photographs, art, and memorabilia that date back to the nineteenth century.
Besides the permanent collection, there are also many great exhibits and events that a held that deal with many aspects of African American history.
This museum is the first to be dedicated to displaying and celebrating the Greek history and culture.
Located at 333 Halsted Street in Chicago's Geektown neighborhood, the museum creates a great atmosphere for visitors to understand the rich traditions of ancient and modern Greece, as well as Greek-American immigrants and what they experience.
There are a variety of interesting exhibitions every year that touch on all points in Greek history.
However, their large collection is really amazing that spans thousands of years and includes many beautiful artifacts, traditional costumes and clothes, and much more.
Located at 3001 Central Street in Evanston, this museum focuses heavily on the history, arts, and culture of the Native American people.
The museum's collections range from the early Paleo-Indian period all the way the present day. There are also many beautiful galleries that showcase everything from blanket strips and carrying bags, to canoes and pottery that range from thousand year old pots to contemporary pieces.
Overall, this is a great museum to visit to experience how the native people of the country lived.
This museum is located at 984 N. Milwaukee in West Town and is home to a large amount of Polish artwork, artifacts, and costumes.
The museum organizes many great exhibits that promotes the understanding of Polish history and culture through its large collection of sculptures, drawings, paintings, and lithographs.
If you are interested in the Polish culture, then visiting the Polish Museum of America is the place to go.
Located at 610 S. Michigan Avenue, this institute has many great collections dealing with the Jewish culture.
The collections include artifacts, rare maps, archival items, music, books, films, artworks, and much more and all these objects are incorporated into their exhibits and courses that teach.
They have a beautiful building that you can't miss and also have a Spertus Shop that offers many cool things such as unique ceremonial items, jewelry, books, and much more.
Also, if you have kids, there is an interactive Children's Center with fun things to do like a kid-friendly archeology "dig".
Founded by Kurt Mathisson in 1976, this museum promotes the Swedish-American culture through its educational programs and its collections.
The museum is three-stories and holds over 12,000 objects that display many points in Swedish culture.
One of the many exhibits is called The Dream of America - Swedish Immigration to Chicago and presents the struggles and triumphs of Swedish immigrants and their experiences.
Like most of the other museums in Chicago, the museum holds many exhibits that are constantly changing with new topics.
This museum is one of the most popular museums in Chicago and covers many different topics from nature to many cultures throughout time.
Located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, the museum's collections contain over 21 million objects and specimens, which only a small number of it ever being put on display.
Some of the most popular exhibits include the Evolving Planet exhibit, which is a collection of dinosaur skeletons, Sue (the largest/most complete T-Rex skeleton currently known), and a set of human cultural anthropology exhibits with many great artifacts from places like Egypt, the Pacific Islands, and Tibet.
There is so much to see and do at this museum that you could easily make a day out of it.
Located at 2249 West Superior Street in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, this museum is home to many Ukrainian artworks, artifacts, instruments, costumes, and the collection continue to grow.
Their library has over 16,000 titles that include many rare books, author autographed editions, monographs, and much more.
The Ukrainian National Museum is a great place to check out and will definitely take you on a journey through the history of the Ukrainian people
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