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That’s a good start! However, there are over 40 museums in Chicago open to the public so if you want to visit Chicago museums, you’re going to need a game plan. To help you out, here are a few of the best museums to visit in Chicago – though you could literally spend months and months just visiting museums, and still not see everything!

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum

The Adler is the oldest planetarium in the world, founded in 1930 by Max Adler. With more than 35,000 square feet of exhibits, the Alder has two planetarium theatres and many antique astronomy books and implements.

Art Institute of Chicago

With over 300,000 pieces of art, the Art Institute has the largest collection of paintings by Impressionist artists outside of Paris! The main building itself was constructed in 1893 for the World’s Fair, and remains at the core of the Institute.

DuSable Museum of African-American History

The museum is devoted to the study and preservation of African-American culture and history, and sponsors a great deal of cultural events in the city on an annual basis. A planned expansion will begin in 2007, which will double the current size of the museum.

Field Museum of Natural History

As Chicago’s natural history museum, this museum has more than 20 million artifacts and objects on display. Its wide collection comes from the merging of the Field Museum with the Walker Museum in 1953, creating this massive collection of items.

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McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum

A fairly new museum, the Freedom Museum was opened in 2006, dedicated to the First Amendment and American freedom. The entire museum is devoted to explaining the rights outlined in the first amendment, and there are interactive displays for visitors.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary art houses displays of paintings, sculpture, film, and often has temporary exhibits from up-and-coming artists.

National Museum of Mexican Art

Visitors to this Chicago museum will be treated to a vibrant display of Mexican and Latino culture, featuring a large collection of art and artifacts from Mexican history – both past and present.

Oriental Institute

The University of Chicago’s museum, the Oriental Institute houses an enormous collection of ancient Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. Visits to the museum are free, however due to the cost of artifact preservation, donations are encouraged.

Shedd Aquarium

One of the world’s largest indoor aquariums, the Shedd is home to more than 2100 species of fish, sea mammals, and aquatic life. In 2003, the Shedd opened a new exhibit called Wild Reef, which recreates a 750-gallon area of coral reef from the Philippines.

Three of Chicago’s most-visited museums – the Shedd Aquarium, the Alder, and the Field Museum – are all conveniently located in the same area of Grant Park, ensuring the museums are easily accessed. No matter what your interest, the enormous variety of Chicago museums to choose from will provide something of interest for everyone. If you are looking to visit Chicago museums on your trip to the city, you won’t be disappointed!


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