8 of the Top Museums to Visit in Chicago | Hotel EMC2

8 of the Top Museums to Visit in Chicago

Whether you’re a Chicago native or visiting the city for the first time, there’s always something exciting to see at the many museums located throughout the city. There are many types of museums, from art to history to sports museums. With so many unique exhibitions, inspiring interactive activities, and interesting collections, it can be difficult to choose which museums you want to see during your visit to the city. However, by researching which museums you want to see, you’ll be able to decide more easily. Pick museums that are not only interesting to you, but are also unique to Chicago. We’ve curated a list of 8 of the top museums to visit in Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry

From tornados to Tesla coils, ancient boats to futuristic robots—the interactive and award-winning exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) bring science to life for guests of all ages. Since opening in 1933, the Museum of Science and Industry has been dedicated to inspiring the inventive genius in everyone with uniquely interactive experiences—and they’ve even hosted more than 180 million guests. MSI is one of the largest science museums in the world and has something for everyone.

Adler Planetarium

When you visit the Adler Planetarium, you’ll be able to touch a meteorite, launch a stomp rocket, race against the clock to save the crew of Apollo 13, look inside the Gemini 12 spacecraft, and take a very personal journey into space with NASA’s Captain James A. Lovell Jr. While visiting the Planetarium, people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can gain the confidence to explore their universe together.

Chicago Children’s Museum

If you have children, then the Chicago Children’s Museum is an excellent stop for you on your tour of the city—plus, it’ll keep your kids entertained for hours. Housed in Navy Pier, Chicago Children’s Museum is intentionally designed for experimentation, creativity, and learning for all children. Some of the exhibits at the Chicago Children’s Museum include the Cloud Buster, a structure with multiple levels of 37 climbable feet made of steel, wood, wire, rope, acrylic, fiberglass, and artificial turf. Or, visitors can experience the Zoom Room exhibit, where kids can send toy cars hurtling down a multilevel racecourse with more than 40 tracks of every length, height, and angle. Another intriguing exhibit allows children to paint, sew, sketch, and mold in an art studio. It’s easy to see why the Chicago Children’s Museum is perfect for families with children.

WNDR Museum

WNDR is more than a museum—it is an opportunity to explore curiosity, artistry, and connectivity with the world. WNDR is not a one-time experience: it is a state of mind that we carry with us everywhere we go. One of WNDR’s exhibits, an illuminating light floor, has hundreds of motion sensored LED panels. Visitors can step on the floor to experience animations moving across it in different directions. Another installation, called Enter the night shift, allows people to see themselves in the mirror in a futuristic space scene. The visuals are inspired by vintage comic books and imagery from the 1960s and 70s. It portrays the present as it was imagined generations ago. Visitors can engage in WNDR exhibits to spark joy, ignite curiosity, and activate creativity. 

Shedd Aquarium

At Shedd Aquarium, you’ll be able to see beluga whales, rockhopper penguins, alligators, an alligator snapping turtle, and much more as you explore the world’s oceans, lakes, rivers and reefs—all in the heart of Chicago’s Museum Campus. You can even touch sea stars, watch penguins gulp fish, see trained sharks in action, and come face to face with a beluga whale. You’ll be able to truly discover the wonders of the aquatic animal world at Shedd Aquarium. 

Field Museum

​​Stop by the Field Museum to see the massive 40-foot-long and 90 percent complete Tyrannosaurus rex. You’ll also be able to experience skeletons of a giant ground sloth and a titanosaur, the biggest dinosaur that ever lived. If dinos aren’t your thing, head over to the Ancient Egypt exhibit, where you’ll discover ancient burial chambers, hieroglyphs, and a 4,000-year-old royal boat. The Field Museum will keep you entertained inside for hours and will also give you a chance to explore and have fun. 

Art Institute of Chicago

Located in downtown Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the world’s great art museums. It houses a collection that spans centuries and the globe. Exhibits include American Gothic by Grant Wood, a 12th-century statue of the Buddha, and even 16th-century field armor made in Nuremberg, Germany. These exhibits give onlookers excellent opportunities to see and learn about world-class art.

Chicago History Museum

Experience and learn about the history of Chicago while visiting the Chicago History Museum. While visiting this Museum, you’ll be able to see historic photographs, analyze renown paintings, and experience engaging exhibits. Learn about the Great Chicago Fire as you immerse yourself in an extraordinary 40-foot-wide oil painting that captures a 360° view of the Great Chicago Fire. Or, stroll through the exhibit that honors Martin Luther King Jr. and features over 25 photographs depicting key moments in his work and the Civil Rights Movement, with a special focus on his time in Chicago. Additionally, you can use your five senses to uncover the past and discover that history is all around Chicago. Children can ride a high-wheel bicycle, hear about the Great Chicago Fire, catch a fly ball at Comiskey Park, and even dive into a giant Chicago-style hot dog.

Planning your trip to Chicago

Whether you choose to visit these museums now or in the future, you’ll have a unique and fun time. If you are a Chicago resident, make sure to look up days that are free to locals. If you are visiting the city, then make sure to book a place to stay during your trip. Consider booking a hotel located in the heart of the city, close to many of these museums. Now you’re ready for your upcoming trip to Chicago filled with adventures and spectacular sights. 

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