National Museum Of Mexican Art
With a detailed focus on the vibrant history and cultural heritage of Mexico, this Harrison Park museum in Pilsen holds one of the largest displays of Mexican art in the United States.
Over 35,000 pieces are housed within its galleries including paintings, archeological finds, sculptures, traditional costumes, craftwork, and intricate textiles many of which date back to the B.C. era, as far as 35 long centuries ago.
Collections explore topics like Carlos Cortéz political art 3D sculpture covering both religious depictions and satirical contemporary pop art Mexican dance masks from rural areas along with their regional crafts and an impressive collection of paintings that display colorful folk art scenes among a sleuth of others, depicting life in Mexico throughout the ages.
Far from just a history lesson though, the Museum has a modern edge, with regular traveling exhibits that dive into photography, pop art, and social issues, as well as inclusive writing classes or impressive guest lectures.
And the best thing? Its totally free!
Is Wndr Museum Ada
Entry to WNDR is ADA-compliant, however, not all installations may be accessible. While service animals are welcome inside WNDR, there may be areas and/or installations in the museum which are not fully accessible with a service animal.
WNDR is a high sensory experience that may contain flashing lights, sounds and other high sensory elements.
If you have any accessibility, mobility requirements, or sensory needs or concerns, please contact for more information.
Museum Of Science And Industry
Want to take a spin in a human-sized hamster wheel? How about feeling what its like to be in the eye of a roaring tornado? Or put your brainpower to the test with a collection of mind-boggling puzzles? Sound fun? Then Chicagos Museum of Science and Industry is where you need to be.
Located on Chicago Park Districts Jackson Park, this vast museum contains tens of thousands of artifacts across no less than 35 diverse exhibits outer space, war, the environment, the dinosaur era, chemistry, and electricity, to name a few that aim to educate its visitors in innovative ways.
As one of the largest science museums in the world, taking up the equivalent of an entire city block, the museum also features an Omnimax theater, disorienting mirror maze, full-size WWII German submarine, and hosts regular temporary exhibitions that adapt to modern trends .
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The Wndr Museum Gift Shop
If youre in the market for some unique gifts either to treat yourself or someone else dont miss the gift shop. The products are just as interactive as the museum itself. Some of the highlights include an art oracle, Chicago neighborhood puzzles, a kit to make flipbooks, and Miracle Berries, a snack that alters your sense of taste.
Other Things You Shouldnt Miss At The Wndr Museum
Dont skip a chance to peek your head both down the hallway to the first bathroom and into the first bathroom itself, or to reach for the door handle at the second bathroom. If you see a sequined wall, take the time to touch it and flip the sequins around to be part of the art yourself. Watch out for work by Keith Haring, and grab a selfie in the photobooths. Pro-tip: Some of these things are more fun with two people, so bring a friend along on your visit.
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Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum
A literary icon, Ernest Hemingway is one of the most celebrated American authors of all time, and you better believe that his long-lasting legacy is on full display at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum.
Located in Oak Park, a historic suburb just west of downtown Chicago, this small museum is where the famed author spent his childhood and teenage years, and as such is dedicated to capturing the life and work of Hemingway through photos, manuscripts, personal belongings and more.
Its an intimate experience thats perfect for anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating man and his writing process, and is open for regular guided tours.
Leather Archives & Museum
An interesting and educational institution that delivers a far different experience than your typical art or history-focused museum, the Leather Archives & Museum is dedicated to preserving and documenting what they call leather subculture.
Inside an unassuming brick building in Rogers Park, you wont find a museum dedicated to the evolution of leather jackets or leather shoes. Nope, this spot is all about leather in the world of alternative sex, diving into kinks, fetishism, sadomasochism, and BDSM.
With all kinds of art, toys , literature, and other artifacts on display, its a fascinating and eye-opening look at an often misunderstood side of human sexuality as such, its certainly one of Chicagos most intriguing museums, even if it is a little offbeat!
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Federal Reserve Bank Of Chicago
Because who doesnt love money, right? A great stop for anyone with an interest in economics, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicagos Money Museum is a fascinating look into the financial side of life and a journey into the little-known behind-the-scenes angle of the American financial system.
A free, walk-in museum that aims to make money fun through zany exhibits and displays of 1 million dollars , the Feds tours operate during business hours, Monday to Friday , and offer an in-depth and visual history of money throughout the world dating back centuries.
With plenty of quirky souvenirs in the gift shop, it makes for a worthwhile stop on any day of downtown walkabout.
Museum Of Contemporary Art
Located in trendy River North, the Museum of Contemporary Art is an absolute must-see for modern art lovers .
Since opening to the public in 1967, the always-improving collection has grown to become one the biggest contemporary art venues on the planet, with more than 2,500 pieces from the 1920s to today.
From paintings and sculptures to videos, installations, performance art, and beyond, theres truly something for everyone here , with rotating exhibitions that make each visit feel new.
Highlights include works by household names like Picasso, Jasper Johns, Warhol, and Klimt as well as underrated talents from around the globe plus the architecture of the 5-story building itself is pretty darn cool too if youre into that kind of thing.
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Adler Planetarium And Astronomy Museum
An out-of-this-world experience for anyone interested in astronomy, interstellar travel, or the mysteries of the Milky Way, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum is regularly voted one of the best museums in Chicago for families, space buffs, and general tourists alike.
Featuring a range of interactive exhibits that take you on a journey from our planet to the edge of the universe, this curation of exhibitions is perfect for visitors of all ages who want to learn more about astronomy, physics, and everything in between.
Besides wielding the title of the first planetarium in the country, dating back close to a century, and holding Americas most comprehensive sundial collection, it also boasts some pretty impressive views of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan a wonderful spot for that quintessential Windy City selfie.
Throw in regular special events, lectures, and classes available, and theres something new to explore every time you visit.
Wndr Museum: Everything You Need To Know
Recently, our family was able to experience the newly reopened WNDR Museum, and it was an amazing experience! The WNDR Museum is a fully interactive art and technology extravaganza, and it fully lives up to its name. The museum gave our family a huge thrill. Its just so, so cool. Id love to walk you through the fascinating concept so you can plan a visit for yourself! Its such a great destination for the summer, and a wonderful way to awaken your creative energy, especially as the world begins to reopen.
Pritzker Military Museum & Library
Right in the middle of the downtown action on Michigan Avenue, in the historic Monroe Building, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is a fascinating multi-story institution thats dedicated to the preservation and education of military history, shining a light on both democracy and the citizen soldier, and acting as a meeting place for active military and veterans.
With rotating exhibits and events all year round, it features items like WWII propaganda posters, medals for bravery earned by soldiers across several different battles, letters sent home from soldiers at war, plus photographs both old and modern documenting key moments in history not to mention a significant archive of educational texts.
Intuit: The Center For Intuitive And Outsider Art
Quirky and delightful, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in the unconventional or offbeat.
Featuring exhibitions of art made by self-taught creators , this museum is dedicated to showcasing diverse artistic voices and pathways, resulting in 1,200 unique and fascinating pieces you wont see at the MCA or the Field Museum.
From folk paintings, drawings, and sculptures to occasional live performances and educational programs, the range of styles on display is impressive, making it a great place to go if youre looking for something completely different from the traditional art world.
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The Best Times To Visit The Wndr Museum Chicago
If you want to avoid the biggest crowds and the highest prices, go during the off hours. Peak hours are 12 noon to 4 PM on Monday through Thursday 12 noon to 8:30 PM on Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Keep in mind that even with small visitor numbers during off-peak hours, lines can form for some of the exhibits.
First Division Museum At Cantigny
Nestled away inside the 500-acre Cantigny Park in Wheaton, a peaceful slice of greenery about 40 minutes away from Chicago proper, the First Division Museum is dedicated to showcasing the complex and fascinating history and heritage of Americas armed forces through the eyes of the famed 1st Infantry Division.
Housing an extensive collection, its multiple floors are packed with military art, weaponry, memorabilia, and technology making it one of the best museums in Chicago for those interested in military history.
Through displays, life-size dioramas, guest speakers, and state-of-the-art VR technology, guests are given a rare glimpse into specific aspects of Americas wartime efforts whether thats the trenches of WWI, the stormed beaches of WWII, or the rice paddies over in Vietnam.
What makes this experience extra interesting is how much more hands-on it feels than other museums: visitors can try on uniforms from different eras, hold replica weapons, get inside a tank simulator game and dress up like soldiers from different periods dont miss Tank Park either, which features tanks, trucks, jeeps, and artillery from WWI to Desert Shield.
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The Richard H Driehaus Museum
Like stepping back into the Gilded Age, this museum, located in the Gold Coast Historic District on Chicagos Near North Side, is devoted to art and architecture from the late 18th century onwards, with a focus on the Victorian era.
Here, whether solo or under the tutelage of a friendly staff guide, youll be able to wander the halls and admire a seriously impressive permanent collection of period furniture, decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture from that period , as well as a significant archive of architectural drawings and materials.
What makes this place stand out among other museums though? The exquisite mansion itself The Nickerson Mansion was painstakingly restored to its former glory a few years back and now serves as a stunning backdrop for the exhibits within.
National Museum Of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
Providing a wonderful insight into the history, culture, and heritage of Puerto Rico, The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is a must-visit for any curious adventurer looking to develop and expand their cultural and artistic prowess.
Located on Chicagos west side in Humboldt Park known affectionately as Chicagos Little Puerto Rico thanks to its large population of people with roots on the Caribbean island this small but perfectly formed museum has been designed to celebrate all things PR through a variety of interactive exhibits that explore everything from life in 19th century San Juan to contemporary art and music.
The perfect place to learn more about one of Americas most culturally diverse neighborhoods whilst enjoying some beautiful works inspired by it too! And, as youd expect, take a little stroll around the neighborhood to uncover tantalizing eats!
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Wndr Museum Features The Work Of World Renowned Artists
The amazing Infinity Mirrored Room was created by Yayoi Kusama, an incredibly talented Japanese artist. Its one of the most celebrated pieces in the museum. Besides Kusamas work, WNDR wants to make sure to highlight the work of Keith Haring to their guests. Haring designed his pieces for public view, and intended that everyone should be able to see them for free, so to honor his desire, those pieces are displayed in the windows of the WNDR Museum for all to see!
Dusable Museum Of African American History
Dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and stories of African Americans throughout history, from their arrival in North America to their fight for equality in the Civil Rights movement, to modern-day heroes who have helped shape our world, the DuSable Museum is a must for any self-diagnosed history buff.
Founded by historian Dr. Margaret Burroughs back in 1961, the museum houses more than 15,000 artifacts detailing centuries of struggles and achievements. With everything from informative video screening and Civil War memorabilia to exhibits on Harriet Tubmans role on the Underground Railroad, youll learn about all different facets of black life throughout American history.
The permanent collection is also complemented by a rotating roster of special exhibits and events, so theres always something new to discover plus, the museum hosts regular film screenings and discussions for guests who want an even deeper dive into African American history.
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Our Earth Is Only A Polka Dot Among The Million Stars In The Cosmos Yayoi Kusama
The room is called Lets Survive Forever and is a kaleidoscopic, mirrored room covered in glass orbs. Most of her other Infinity Rooms have been limited to a small platform to stand on, but this room is meant to be explored and the art fully experienced. There are a few tickets on sale now so be sure to snag yours to check it out!
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Art Institute Of Chicago
A culture vultures Mecca, holding the impressive title of Americas second-largest art museum after the Met in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago is home to an impressive collection of over 300,000 pieces spanning a whopping 5000 years
Since opening in the late 1800s , the vast collection has expanded to now showcase everything from ancient Egyptian and Greek artifacts to iconic impressionist works by masters like Monet and Van Gogh, and contemporary head-turners by the likes of Picasso, Warhol, and Pollock so, no matter your preferred flare for art, theres something for everyone at this world-renowned institution.
Besides the opportunity to browse the halls at your own leisure, the museum also offers a variety of daily tours and programs, including staff-guided tours as well as longer, more specialized behind-the-scenes options.
Located in the heart of the downtown Loop district next to Millenium Park, a wander around the Art Institute is easily combined with other sightseeing adventures in the city so put it at the top of your list for things to do during your next visit to Chi-Town.
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Swoon Over All The Colors In The Prism Room
Thanks to our love of unicorns, iridescence is making waves in the beauty and fashion scene. So, if you’re a rainbow, mermaid, and unicorn lover like me, you’ll definitely want to walk through the prism room in the museum.
The walls are covered in colorful light prisms that’ll remind you that your favorite shades of the rainbow are always all around you. Use the prisms as a backdrop for an Insta-worthy snap that you can caption with, “Be a pop of color in a black and white world.”
Museum Of Contemporary Photography
Delivering a fascinating and ever-changing snapshot of photography from the 20th and 21st centuries, the Museum of Contemporary Photography is one of Chicagos most underrated museums.
Located on Columbia Colleges campus in downtown Chicago, this small museum showcases an eclectic mix of contemporary works by both emerging and established photographers, with a focus on appreciating and highlighting how photojournalism, portraiture, and landscape photography have evolved over time.
Its perfect for anyone interested in modern photography but also makes for a really interesting stop if youre looking to gain a unique perspective on history and culture too. Plus, located smack-bang next to Grant Park, a leisurely post-visit stroll awaits.
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What Kind Of Things Will You See At The Wndr Museum
At the beginning of the exhibits, we were amazed to see robots that paint by themselves! They were taught about a local artist and pieces of artwork, and they interact independently with black ink on white paper to create something brand new. Close to the entrance as well, there are digitized installations that accept words and suggestions from guests, then modify their shapes and colors. So cool to be able to influence how the art looks, all while standing and watching!
We also enjoyed the optical illusion room that appears to change the size of people inside it! You may have seen this on Instagram just by standing on opposite sides of the room, one person appears to be a giant and the other miniature. A great photo op, and a chance to understand how optical illusions work.
One of our very favorite parts was the light floor! Step onto the floor and watch incredible, colorful patterns swirl out from your feet with each movement. Its so much fun for any age, and, if Im being honest what a perfect Instagram moment! We jumped and hopped and danced and loved watching the colors leap out from our feet. It was fun for the whole family.
There are several exhibits that also ask you to scan a QR code and upload a selfie thats included right in the installation, along with the faces of hundreds of other people. What a neat way to remember that were all part of each others story in some way, even if its just that weve all visited the WNDR Museum.