If you go to Chicago and don't visit some of the great Chicago museums, then you're missing out on a big part of the full experience. There is a museum in Chicago for every interest, and for those who plan on doing the rounds, investing in a CityPass is arguably the way to go. The CityPass includes admission to some of the best Chicago museums, and it also allows you to enjoy the scintillating city views from the Hancock Observatory, which is a welcome bonus. You'll save some 50 percent on ticket prices at some of the top museums in Chicago when you buy the CityPass, so it's a must-have for many visitors.
The Chicago museums featured on the CityPass tickets include the three gems that make up the renowned Museum Campus: the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum. All of these attractions will figure well on the itinerary whether you're among adults or looking for things for kids to do in Chicago. At the Field Museum, visitors can admire the world's most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil, get insight into ancient Egypt at the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit, and take a look at life as far away as the South Pacific, among other things.
Over at the Shedd Aquarium, watching marine mammals splash around and checking out a host of other fascinating creatures, including birds and insects, are the top things to do. The aquarium might not technically be a museum, but it is found on Museum Campus and certainly deserves some of your time. In recent years, it has earned distinction as the top cultural attraction in Chicago, which is an honor that was previously bestowed upon the Field Museum. In other words, these two attractions should make any Chicago vacation itineraries.
The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum also deserves inclusion on your list of Chicago museums to visit, especially if you enjoy space and science. The StarRider Theater Show is reason enough to visit the Adler Planetarium. This show will take you on a virtual tour of the Milky Way before heading beyond to explore the depths of space. The 3-D graphics and the massive dome screen help to make this show truly unforgettable.
Art enthusiasts who are looking for a good museum in Chicago will want to start their search on the eastern side of the Loop, where the famous Art Institute of Chicago is located on Michigan Avenue. Monet, Matisse, Dali, Pollock, and Warhol are among the names that you'll find on the impressive collection of paintings here, and you could easily spend hours on end admiring their works. Other exhibits feature works such as Greek vases, Japanese prints, nineteenth-century glass paperweights, and European armor and weaponry that dates back to the fifteenth century. The Art Institute of Chicago is really a fantastic place, and you're bound to be amazed by the comprehensive collection here.
Other art museums in Chicago that you might consider adding to your agenda include the Museum of Contemporary Art, which can be found on the Near North Side at 220 E. Chicago Avenue; the National Museum of Mexican Art, which is located in the neighborhood of Pilsen; and the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, which can be found south of the Loop at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue. For those who are interested in Chicago history, the Chicago History Museum is bound to please. Found in Lincoln Park at the corner of Clark Street and North Avenue, the Chicago History Museum offers fantastic exhibits, including the 1893 CTA 1 passenger car, which once traveled between the Loop and Hyde Park. Hyde Park is also where you will find the DuSable Museum of African-American History, which offers insight into the African-American experience in the United States.
There are many more museums in Chicago that beg a visit, so you'll want to keep an eye out when it comes to the possibilities. For travelers on a budget, it's not uncommon for a museum in Chicago to offer free days or free hours where visitors don't have to pay admission. On Tuesdays, you won't have to pay to get into the Art Institute, while Thursdays can see you getting into the Chicago Children's Museum for free between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Other Chicago museums are free all the time, including the Smart Museum of Art, the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, and the National Museum of Mexican Art.
In addition to visiting a free Chicago museum, you can also look to visit the free Lincoln Park Zoo. Walks through parks like Lincoln Park and Grant Park also won't cost anything, nor will have to pay to enjoy the Chicago Air & Water Show. There are lots of fun, free things to do in Chicago, which only helps make the Windy City such a great place to visit.