Chicagoans have always known we had something special with the Art Institute of Chicago. But when TripAdvisor users voted it the best museum in the world in 2014, we knew that word had gotten out. And we're happy to share. The Art Institute is the starting point of any art-centric exploration of the Windy City. Besides such an obvious top choice, we have a rundown of many other art-related cultural destinations in the city.
The museum's Ryan Education Center is always free, which means you could pop in with your little ones just for an hour or so. Or take advantage of the museum's free admission for kids under 14 and introduce them to some of the world's most famous works by Renoir, Gaugin, Picasso and, a crowd favorite, Grant Wood's "American Gothic."
There's more than meets the eyes at this modern art museum. A full calendar of live performances and movie screenings round out the offerings. Remember the museum is closed Mondays, but it's free for Illinois residents on Tuesday.
There's artistic beauty throughout this historic building that began life as the city's public library and was nicknamed the People's Palace. Be sure to stop outside the south entrance for a photo beside the large bronze cow, a relic of the city's popular 1999 "Cows on Parade" exhibit.
Get an in-depth look at the current exhibition at this leading photography museum by scheduling a tour for a class or group.
In addition to weekly tours of the River North art district, Chicago Gallery News has a comprehensive website that can guide visitors to art appraisers, conservators, framers, consultants and more.
Almost any day of the year, visitors can get in on curator tours, artist talks, exhibition receptions or art sales at this hub of art and artistic activity south of the Loop.
Near both the Purple Line El (Central stop) and the Metra commuter rail (Central stop), this expanded art center offers short workshops on topics ranging from knitting, lighting and landscape painting.
Combine your visit to this top-notch art museum on the University of Chicago campus with a visit to other campus cultural stops including the Oriental Institute and the acclaimed Court Theatre, which Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones has named as one of his favorite local theaters.
Pick up an iPod at the front desk for a self-guided tour that provides insight into the collection, and the life and legacy of Ed Paschke, who grew up on the North Side of Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In addition to visual arts, this lovingly run museum also hosts year-round programs focusing on Mexican film and literature, and features a two-month-long Sor Juana festival in the fall.