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Art Institute Of Chicago

Explore a massive collection of works celebrating different cultures and historical times, from ancient Egypt to modern installations.

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).


Guide to Exploring around Art Institute of Chicago


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LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton $98
LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton

85 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in The Loop, this luxury hotel is steps from Chicago Riverwalk and Michigan Avenue. Grant Park and Chicago Theatre are also within 10 minutes. Clark-Lake Station is 7 minutes by foot and State Station is 8 minutes.

    The Godfrey Hotel Chicago $142
    The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

    The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

    127 West Huron, at LaSalle, Chicago, IL
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in River North, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of State Street, Michigan Avenue, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Chicago Riverwalk and House of Blues Chicago are also within 15 minutes. Chicago Station (Brown Line) is 6 minutes by foot and Chicago Station (Red Line) is 6 minutes.

      Congress Plaza Hotel $98
      Congress Plaza Hotel

      Congress Plaza Hotel

      520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in The Loop, this hotel is steps from Columbia College Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography, and Auditorium Building and Theatre. Fine Arts Building and Buckingham Fountain are also within 5 minutes. Harrison Station and Chicago Van Buren Street Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        Best Western Grant Park Hotel $65
        Best Western Grant Park Hotel

        Best Western Grant Park Hotel

        1100 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in The Loop, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Grant Park and Columbia College Chicago. Field Museum of Natural History and John G. Shedd Aquarium are also within 15 minutes. Roosevelt Station and Chicago Museum Campus-11th Street Station are within a 5-minute walk.

          Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile $189
          Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

          Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile

          20 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Near North Side, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of State Street, Water Tower Place, and John Hancock Center. Chicago Water Tower and Michigan Avenue are also within 10 minutes. Chicago Station (Red Line) is only a 3-minute walk and Grand Station (Red Line) is 10 minutes.

            Kinzie Hotel $97
            Kinzie Hotel

            Kinzie Hotel

            20 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in River North, this hotel is steps from House of Blues Chicago and State Street. Chicago Riverwalk and Chicago Theatre are also within 10 minutes. Grand Station (Red Line) is only a 4-minute walk and Merchandise Mart Station is 5 minutes.

              Staypineapple, An Iconic Hotel, The Loop $84
              Staypineapple, An Iconic Hotel, The Loop

              Staypineapple, An Iconic Hotel, The Loop

              1 W Washington St, Chicago, IL
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in The Loop, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago City Hall, and Chicago Riverwalk. Art Institute of Chicago and Civic Opera House are also within 10 minutes. Washington Station is only a 2-minute walk and Lake Station is 2 minutes.

                Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago $64
                Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago

                Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago

                65 E Harrison St, Chicago, IL
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in The Loop, this hotel is steps from Columbia College Chicago, Grant Park, and State Street. Art Institute of Chicago and Buckingham Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Harrison Station and Chicago Van Buren Street Station are within a 5-minute walk.