12 Best Museums in Chicago You Must Explore

Chicago is the third-most populous city in the US. Established in the year of 1837, Chicago is a great example of American culture, skyscrapers, food, nature, etc. So great is the city that it is popularly known as “Mini America.” Chicago is the home of some very amazing beaches.

Apart from beaches, Chicago is well known for things like Chicago-style hot dogs, Deep Dish pizza, Jazz music, and the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage. Chicago is also known for interesting architecture like the Sears towers.

Museums are also a renowned feature of Chicago Architecture. If you are interested in Museums, here are some of the most famous museums in Chicago.

Best Museums in Chicago

Here is the list of famous and best museums in Chicago that you can visit to increase your knowledge.

1. Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago
Image Source

Located downtown by Millennium Park, this museum is one of the well-known art museums in Chicago, Illinois. This museum has more than 300,000 artworks in its collection. Apart from this, you can find thousands of paintings, sculptures, and drawings. From El Greco to Modern art, everything can be found here. You can even have a virtual tour of the museum via its website.

2. Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Art
Image Source

This museum is best known for hosting many events and exhibitions. Museum of Contemporary Art is for everyone, whether you are a schoolkid, a teenager or an adult, the museum has something for everyone. Another great thing is that the museum is free for 18 and under.

One amazing feature is that their exhibits always keep changing, which makes each exhibits unique. The restaurant downstairs in the museum is also great. Thus a visit to this museum is a perfect day-out.

3. Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium
Image Source

Founded in 1930 by Chicago businessman Max Adler, this museum is dedicated to astronomy and astrophysics. Talking about the things you can see and get amazed are plenty. You can see tools like a pocket sundial, the astrolabe, etc. You can also create your constellations in Chicago’s Night Skyexhibit.

You can also visit The Clark Family Welcome Gallery. This amazing gallery was created using 13,000 linear feet of aluminum tubing and 125 LED lights along with 20,000 square yards of fabric.

4. Busy Beaver Button Museum

Busy Beaver Button Museum
Image Source

This museum is quite unusual, as it is dedicated only to buttons. Yes, you heard that right, buttons, colorful buttons. Busy Beaver Button Museum was established in 2010, by two Carter siblings: Christen and Joel Carter. Buttons of every kind can be found here.

Even the inauguration buttons of George Washington and a campaign pin of Abraham Lincoln is also here. More than 30,000 pins are hosted here. This museum is free to the public.

5. Clarke House Museum

Clarke House Museum is not quite a museum, it is a house that was built in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke. The purpose of the house-museum is to give a vibe of how the lifestyle was before the Civil War. It is also Chicago’s oldest house. The museum is free to the public and tours are also available.

6. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum: Museums in Chicago
Image Source

This museum is a natural history museum maintained by the Chicago Academy of Sciences. The purpose of the museum is to establish a connection between nature and you. You can find reasons to almost all the natural occurrences here.

There are various types of programs and exhibits to make your trip worthwhile. They also have a butterfly haven containing more than 1000 butterflies. You can also experience all the different types of environments in Chicago in the museum.

7. Money Museum

Money Museum

This museum is a part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Here you get to learn about the real historic currency and artefacts. Notes from the Civil War are also stored here. Various games and other exhibits are also quite enjoyable.

The Million Dollar Display is quite a place to capture a perfect photo for Instagram. You can also learn to identify counterfeit currency bills. Admission is free to the public. However, security is a bit strict at the museum entrance.

8. Museum of Contemporary Photography

Museum of Contemporary Photography
Image Source

This museum is small enough to be visited in a small period such as a lunch break. Founded by Columbia College of Chicago, the museum hosts six shows each year that features groundbreaking work made by artists worldwide. The museum has a permanent collection of 14000 objects of art like Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. The museum is three-floored.

9. Design Museum of Chicago

Design Museum of Chicago
Image Source

Founded in 2012, Design Museum of Chicago is a museum that focuses on design. The mission of the museum is to make design available to everyone. They achieve their purpose by organising free educational exhibits regularly. There are three shows per year. The museum still relies on interns for its day to day functioning since the permanent members are only 4.

10. National Museum of Mexican Art

National Museum of Mexican Art
Image Source

It is the first Latino museum in the country to be recognized by the American Alliance of Museums. Its permanent collection includes 10,000+ objects. It was founded in 1987 by Carlos Tortolero with his few fellows.

The goal of the Museum was to make people recognize the finesse of Mexican artists and thus promote social justice, education, and provide upliftment for the Mexican society. The museum is free to the public and boasts to receive more than 160,000 visitors annually.

11. Field Museum of Natural History

Field Museum of Natural History: Museums in Chicago
Image Source

The Field Museum is an assembly of natural wonders of the world. From dinosaur skeletons to precious gems, the museum has it all. The museum was opened in 1921. It has over 40 million artifacts.

The mission of the museum is to educate the upcoming generations about the world’s priceless history and develop curiosity in young minds. The museum is a must-visit.

12. Illinois Holocaust Museum

Illinois Holocaust Museum
Image Source

With a mission “Remember the Past and Transform the Future” Illinois Holocaust Museum was opened to the public in 2009. The museum was established after an attempt at a Neo-Nazi group’s march through Skokie. Various types of exhibits and programs are done here.

Read more, Best museums around the world

Chicago is a city of culture. The city is beautiful in every way. The city is like a mecca of the midwest. Sarah Bernhardt says, “I adore Chicago. It is the pulse of America.”