Chicago Museums That Are in, around and out of This World

Chicago’s world-class collection of museums often surprise visitors. On one hand, our museums boast the rich history of an American city of industry. On the other, it shows a city that welcomed an international presence at the turn of the century. Museums in Chicago have something to satisfy every curiosity. Even the little tykes. 

Chicago is a pioneer of industry and science. It's hard to see it all in one day at the Museum of Science and Industry (it seems never-ending). Learn why Chicago is called both the Second City and Windy City at the Chicago History Museum while Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts will love the architect’s Home and Studio tour that focuses on his iconic architecture and design.  

While the Museum Campus in the South Loop is best known as the center for museum activity (three of the city’s stalwarts consider the campus as home ~ Adler Planetarium, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium), the Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art are conveniently located near Chicago’s Loop.

Every museum has a gift shop and these shops include many locally-made artisan designers which make for great memories of your visit.

Take a moment to check a museum's website for current and temporary exhibits as well as their free admission days.

Polish Museum of America
Photo courtesy of Polish Museum of America


Outside of Warsaw, the biggest Polish population lives in Chicago with more than one million people of Polish ancestry residing here. This museum is one of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in the United States and has been collecting pieces...  Read More



The African-American experience is depicted in unique fashion at this museum. The project started as a small display in a teacher's home, and with lots of community effort, the labor of love got its own building in 1973. Thousands of artifacts,...  Read More



Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright began building this house in 1889. As his style developed, so did the home, and Wright continued to make unique additions to it to suit his personal needs. Today, guided tours showcase his studio and its...  Read More



This accredited museum in the Pilsen area is dedicated to preserving and facilitating knowledge about Latino life and history. Exhibits focus on Mexican culture as it's represented in the US and in Mexico, and the permanent collection includes...  Read More



The Chicago History Museum is dedicated to collecting information about, and preserving the heritage of, the city's past. It also focuses on select areas of American history and features permanent and rotating exhibits of art, historical objects...  Read More



When this museum opened in its new aluminum-lined facility in 1996, it became the country's largest museum of contemporary art. Featured works go far beyond two dimensions and include such diverse media as sculpture, photography, dance,...  Read More



This eye-catching, twelve-sided building includes two sky theaters, one of which was the first planetarium in the western hemisphere. The theaters depict the night sky and allow visitors an up-close look at distant planets, moons and galaxies....  Read More

Field Museum of Natural History
Photo courtesy of Field Museum of Natural History


The exterior of this hulking marble facility only hints at the historic treasures inside. The architect's goal was boldness and he achieved it with massive columns and striking galleries filled with natural light. Visitors are immediately...  Read More

Museum of Science and Industry


Interactive museums are multiplying like rabbits, but this complex is considered one of the first and best. You'll find more than 2,000 hands-on exhibits including the Zephyr (a famous train that once set a land-speed record) and the Idea...  Read More



A highlight of any trip to Chicago, this museum is home to one of the best and most diverse art collections in the world. People are drawn first to the vast Impressionist collection, including the world's largest group of Monet paintings. But...  Read More


Meet Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her...  More About Megy