Most Chicagoans flock to the Museum Campus for the trifecta of museums – the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. The Museum of Science and Industry is another fan favorite.
Besides these popular museums, there are dozens more throughout Chicago worth exploring. Here are eight more to consider adding to your museum itinerary.
1. Art Institute of Chicago
Many families shy away from taking young children to art museums because they’re nervous that their kids will be bored or, worse, accidentally bump into a piece of art.
Sure, the Art Institute of Chicago may house the world’s largest group of Monet paintings and its Impressionist collection is impressive but there are a ton of collections that will interest the littles, including the Thorne Miniature Rooms exhibit, which showcases 68 miniature room models outfitted with detailed European interiors from the 16th century through the 1930s, as well as American furnishings from 17th century to the 1940s.
2. U.S. Pizza Museum
Not surprising, the U.S. Pizza Museum celebrates pizza history, news and pop culture with clever exhibits and events. Located within a shopping area in the South Loop, it’s not far from the Museum Campus. Entry is free but tickets must be reserved online.
3. Chicago History Museum
Photo courtesy of Clayton Hauck/Choose Chicago
Like Chicago’s pizzas, Chicago hot dogs are famous. Where else can you lay in a giant Chicago-style hot dog (without ketchup!) and take a photo?
Besides the Instagram-worthy photo opportunity, the Chicago History Museum lets children explore the city’s culture and history through fun interactive exhibits.
4. Money Museum
Teach kids the value of money with a visit to the Money Museum located in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Interactive displays about the history of money, counterfeit money and how money is made will keep them entertained. They’ll also see what $1 million looks like and have the opportunity to play a Secret Service agent to detect counterfeits.
5. National Hellenic Museum
Photo courtesy of National Hellenic Museum
Dedicated to collecting, preserving and portraying the legacy of Greek history and culture in America, the National Hellenic Museum in Greektown has the largest collection of Greek American artifacts and recorded oral histories anywhere.
The contemporary four-story building is home to extensive collections, rotating exhibitions, classrooms and a stunning rooftop view of Chicago. Walk across the street at any one of the Greek restaurants or bakeries to get another taste of Greece.
6. National Museum of Mexican Art
Just a few miles south of the National Hellenic Museum is the National Museum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen neighborhood. A feast for the eyes, this free museum features artwork from artists in Mexico and the United States.
Don’t miss the excellent gift shop to take home a memory from your museum visit and then trek to the neighborhood to enjoy authentic Mexican dishes from the many restaurants and bakeries along 18th Street or Halsted Street.
7. DuSable Museum of African American History
Photo courtesy of City of Chicago/Choose Chicago
Located in the South Side’s Washington Park, visitors to the DuSable Museum of African American History will see one of the world’s largest collections of paintings, texts, sculptures and memorabilia related to the African American experience.
Don’t miss the permanent exhibit on Harold Washington which shares the story about Chicago’s first African American mayor and what his appointment meant for both Chicago and the country in terms of helping to break down racial barriers.
8. American Writers Museum
One of Chicago’s newest museums and conveniently located along Michigan Avenue, budding writers and lovers of the written word will appreciate the American Writers Museum.
The whimsical and inviting children’s literature gallery beckons kids of all ages to curl up on the couch with a good book. Afterward, treat yourself and the littles to a croissant with Nutella or a Nutella waffle at the Nutella café.
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