The Best Museums & Art Galleries in Chicago – Mus3ums

Search for Museums

Chicago / United States

Chicago , locally also ), officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the third-most-populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,693,976 in 2019, it is also the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second-most-populous county in the US, with a small portion of the northwest side of the city extending into DuPage County near O'Hare Airport. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland. At nearly 10 million people, the metropolitan area is the third most populous in the United States. Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-19th century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900, less than 30 years after the great fire, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles , the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.Chicago is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts, issued by the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is part of the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures alone. Depending on the particular year, the city's O'Hare International Airport is routinely ranked as the world's fifth or sixth busiest airport according to tracked data by the Airports Council International. The region also has the largest number of federal highways and is the nation's railroad hub. The Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products in the world, generating $689 billion in 2018. In addition, the city has one of the world's most diversified and balanced economies, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce. Chicago is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Allstate, Boeing, Caterpillar, Exelon, Kraft Heinz, McDonald's, Mondelez International, Sears, United Airlines Holdings, US Foods, and Walgreens. Chicago's 58 million domestic and international visitors in 2018 made it the second most visited city in the United States, as compared with New York City's 65 million visitors in 2018. The city was ranked first in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis Tower, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, literature, film, theatre, comedy , food, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel, and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams.

Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago / United States

The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago's Grant Park, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Recognized for its curatorial efforts and popularity among visitors, the museum hosts approximately 1.5 million people annually. Its collection, stewarded by 11 curatorial departments, is encyclopedic, and includes iconic works such as Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist, Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, and Grant Wood's American Gothic. Its permanent collection of nearly 300,000 works of art is augmented by more than 30 special exhibitions mounted yearly that illuminate aspects of the collection and present cutting-edge curatorial and scientific research. As a research institution, the Art Institute also has a conservation and conservation science department, five conservation laboratories, and one of the largest art history and architecture libraries in the country—the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries. The growth of the collection has warranted several additions to the museum's 1893 building, which was constructed for the World's Columbian Exposition. The most recent expansion, the Modern Wing designed by Renzo Piano, opened in 2009 and increased the museum's footprint to nearly one million square feet, making it the second-largest art museum in the United States, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Art Institute is associated with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a leading art school, making it one of the few remaining unified arts institutions in the United States.

Terra Foundation for American Art

Chicago / United States

The Terra Foundation for American Art is a privately operated nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of American art exhibitions, projects, academic research, and publications worldwide. Its goal is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the cultural and artistic heritage of the United States through the acquisition, study, and display of works of American art. The Foundation is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Newberry Library

Chicago / United States

The Newberry Library is an independent research library, specializing in the humanities and located on Washington Square in Chicago, Illinois. It has been free and open to the public since 1887. Its collections encompass a variety of topics related to the history and cultural production of Western Europe and the Americas over the last six centuries. The Library is named to honor the founding bequest from the estate of philanthropist Walter Loomis Newberry. Core collection strengths support research in several subject areas, including maps, travel, and exploration; music from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century; early contact between Western colonizers and Indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere; the personal papers of twentieth-century American journalists; the history of printing; and genealogy and local history. Although the Newberry is a noncirculating library, it welcomes researchers into the reading rooms who are at least 14 years old or in the ninth grade, and have a research topic corresponding to the nature of the collections. Additional public services are offered through exhibitions, meet-the-author lectures, adult education seminars, and other programming.

Chicago History Museum

Chicago / United States

Chicago History Museum ) was founded in 1856 to study and interpret Chicago's history. It is located in Lincoln Park at 1601 North Clark Street at the intersection of North Avenue in the Old Town Triangle neighborhood. The CHS adopted the name, Chicago History Museum, in September 2006 for its public presence.

Smart Museum of Art

Chicago / United States

The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art is an art museum located on the campus of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. The permanent collection has over 15,000 objects. Admission is free and open to the general public.The Smart Museum and the adjacent Cochrane-Woods Art Center were designed by the architect Edward Larrabee Barnes.

Terra Museum

Chicago / United States

The Terra Museum of American Art was an art museum founded by Chicago businessman Daniel J. Terra in Evanston, Illinois in 1980. The museum was relocated to Chicago, Illinois in 1987. During its tenure, the museum presented more than 200 exhibitions on American art and provided related programs and events for children, teachers, families, general adult audiences, and scholars. The museum closed on October 31, 2004 after 24 years of operation.