The Art Institute of Chicago holds nearly 300,000 works of art in eight buildings, encompassing nearly one million square feet (93,000 square meters) of gallery space. It’s best known for its collection of modern European and American paintings and sculptures, including works by Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Mary Cassatt. There’s also Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, pieces from across Asia, and edgy contemporary installations. You’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes as you can spend from a few hours to a few days here.
The Museum lies on the eastern border of downtown Chicago, a block from Lake Michigan. It was founded as a museum and fine arts school in 1879. It settled in its current location in 1893 and the original building, with two famous bronze lion statues on either side of the entrance, remains.
Don’t try to attempt the Museum without a map. You’ll find one at the entrance. There are also audio guides, and Apps for smartphones that have floor plans and detailed stories about some of the artworks.
The European artworks and sculptures here are famous. You’ll likely recognize many of them, such as Two Sisters by Renoir and Water Lilies by Monet. They start on the second floor just above the main Michigan Avenue entrance.
The American art collection spans two floors. Mary Cassatt’s, The Child’s Bath, a favorite among visitors, and other highlights include paintings by James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Head to the second floor to view pieces from 1900 to1950, include Edward Hopper’s renowned painting Nighthawks which eerily depicts a New York restaurant late at night.
Explore other mediums of art in rooms about architecture and design, galleries for photography, a sculpture garden and half a floor dedicated to Asian, African and Native American art. Visit the gallery's official website before your visit to check for any upcoming special exhibitions.
Take a break at one of four eateries. The Museum Café has everything from sandwiches to pizzas, while Caffe Moderno serves up quick snacks like paninis and salads. There are two formal dining options: Terzo Piano (Italian) and McKinlock Court Restaurant (modern American).
Situated in the heart of "the Loop," the contemporary Central Loop Hotel is steps from all of Chicago’s major business and cultural destinations such as Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Grant Park, the State Street shopping district and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Chicago Theatre, Wrigley Building, and Tribune Tower. Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre and Chicago Cultural Center are also within 10 minutes.
Built in 1893, this downtown Chicago hotel offers a convenient location across from Grant Park and close to Lake Michigan.
This 39-story Chicago hotel is across the river from Magnificent Mile shopping, six blocks from Lake Michigan, and a half-mile from the Loop's theater district and the Art Institute of Chicago.
This 1925 Beaux Arts-style Chicago hotel is steps from Millennium Park, 2 blocks from Macy's and the Art Institute, and 1 mile from Lake Michigan, Magnificent Mile shopping, and Wrigley Tower.
This triangular, 43-story glass hotel is across the street from the Chicago River, 3 blocks from the lakefront running path, and 4 blocks from the Wrigley Building and the Magnificent Mile.
Located in Near North Side, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Tribune Tower and Wrigley Building. Navy Pier and Chicago Children's Museum are also within 15 minutes.
Built in 1927, this Chicago hotel is one block from Michigan Avenue shopping and Rush Street restaurants and nightlife; Lake Michigan is within five blocks.