Here’s a small “must see” collection from Howard Frum to help make your visit to Chicago extra special. On behalf of the entire crew, welcome to Chicago! We hope you enjoy our town as much as we do.
The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art
One of the nation’s largest facilities devoted to the art of our time, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) offers exhibitions of the most thought-provoking art created since 1945. The MCA documents contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance.
Located in a new building near the historic Water Tower in the heart of downtown Chicago, the MCA boasts a gift store, bookstore, restaurant, 300-seat theater, and a terraced sculpture garden with a great view of Lake Michigan.
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute houses more than 300,000 works of art within its 10 curatorial departments. Among its great treasures are the legendary masterpieces ‘A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte –1884’ by Georges Seurat, ‘American Gothic’ by Grant Wood, ‘Nighthawks’ by Edward Hopper, and 33 paintings by Claude Monet.
Both a museum and a school, the facility found its permanent home on Michigan Avenue in 1893. The original, core beaux-arts building, designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, was built for the World’s Columbian Exposition. The Art Institute invites you to join the150,000 individuals and families who are members of the museum.
The Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum was incorporated in the State of Illinois on September 16, 1893 as the Columbian Museum of Chicago with its purpose the “accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, and the preservation and exhibition of objects illustrating art, archaeology, science and history.” In 1905, the Museum’s name was changed to Field Museum of Natural History to honor the Museum’s first major benefactor, Marshall Field, and to better reflect its focus on the natural sciences. In 1921 the Museum moved from its original location in Jackson Park to its present site on Chicago Park District property near downtown where it is part of a lakefront Museum Campus that includes the John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. These three institutions are regarded as among the finest of their kind in the world and together attract more visits annually than any comparable site in Chicago.
The Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry, one of the most beloved and visited museums in the world, has origins that are tied to two great World’s Fairs and to civic spirit and imagination of Chicago businessman Julius Rosenwald. Rosenwald, then Chairman of Sears Roebuck & Company, was inspired by a 1911 visit with his son to the Deutches Museum in Munich. With the help of other Midwest business leaders, Rosenwald restored and converted the Palace of Fine Arts, the last remaining major structure from the 1893 World’s Fair, into a new type of American museum – where visitors could interact with the exhibits, not just view displays and artifacts. In 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry opened to the public, at the same time as the Century of Progress Exposition.
The Chicago Historical Society
The Chicago Historical Society is a privately endowed, independent institution devoted to collecting, interpreting, and presenting the rich multicultural history of Chicago and Illinois, as well as selected areas of American history, to the public through exhibitions, programs, research collections, and publications.
The material contained within these pages is the property of the Chicago Historical Society and may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of the Chicago Historical Society. Permissions and paper or higher quality reproductions may be obtained from the Chicago Historical Society.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium is the World’s Aquarium. Opened in 1929, it is one of the oldest public aquariums in the world.
Shedd has a rich history. Its history spans decades, and it was created by people like you, who continue to drive World’s aquarium into the 21st century.
Chicago’s Adler Planetarium
When Max Adler founded the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in 1930, he recognized the need to exhibit artifacts from the history of astronomy as well as to establish the first planetarium theater in America. In addition to the Zeiss planetarium projector, he purchased a collection of about 500 astronomical, navigational, and mathematical instruments from A. W. M. Mensing in the Netherlands. These instruments formed the foundation of the Adler’s History of Astronomy Collection, which has since grown to almost 2000 historic instruments. This makes it the largest collection of such material in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest and most important in the world.
Chicago’s Navy Pier
Here is everything you need to plan your visit to Navy Pier.
Easily accessible via car or public transportation, Navy Pier offers endless entertainment and attractions to Chicagoans and their guests of all ages.
No matter what the season, come to Navy Pier to experience timeless natural beauty and lively attractions every day of the year.
Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is everyone’s zoo. And although it is among the oldest zoological gardens in the country (established in 1868), it also is among the most modern — a leader in wildlife conservation, community education and recreation. A premier Chicago attraction, Lincoln Park Zoo each year welcomes more than three million visitors, providing them with remarkable learning experiences as well as fun and enjoyment. Its intimate setting enables guests to experience the thrill of gazing directly into the eyes of a lowland gorilla and standing toe to toe with an African elephant. Famous also for its historical structures, the zoo has succeeded at combining state-of-the-art animal and visitor facilities with beautiful architectural reflections of past times and sensibilities.
The Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is located on 216 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, and is only twelve miles west of downtown Chicago — close to everything, but a world away! It’s easy to find your way around the well-layed out complex of Brookfield Zoo.
You’ll receive a map when you enter the zoo, but you can plan your day in advance by exploring the interactive map on our website. If you get tired during your visit, or just want to make sure you see everything the zoo has to offer, hop on the Motor Safari for a guided tour. The animals are waiting, so come visit today!
Chicago 2021 Festival
2021 is poised to be an epic year in Chicago! The event schedule is packed so plan your city getaway using this complete festival calendar guide. Click the link below for full listing of festivals in Chicago this year