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Illinois

The Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois: Artistic Discoveries Await

By: Kaitlyn Bock

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  • States:
    Illinois

Paris may have the Louvre, but in Illinois, you’ll find the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tucked along the Lake Michigan coast, the cosmopolitan city of Chicago boasts an exceptional array of art and cultural attractions. Discover one of the city’s finest: the Art Institute, a world-renowned museum showcasing iconic works of art. The entrance to the museum’s historic building, flanked by two regal bronze lions, is only a teaser to the majesty within. Regularly ranked as one of the top museums in the world by TripAdvisor, the Art Institute features a notable collection of art and artifacts spanning 5,000 BC to the present. From its stellar collections to its interactive guides, there are countless reasons to spend your day exploring the galleries of the Art Institute.

Home to the Icons

With over 300,000 works of art in its collection, the museum has something for everyone. Look for Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” or Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Sky above Clouds” – just a few of the beloved American paintings in the collection. But that’s not all; the museum has the largest Impressionist collection outside of Paris, including works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Georges Seurat, as well as a remarkable international modern and contemporary collection. Stroll between galleries, marvel at the masterpieces, or simply find a gallery bench and sit in the presence of the greats.

"Paris Street; Rainy Day" at the Art Institute of Chicago

"Paris Street; Rainy Day" at the Art Institute of Chicago
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Finding Your Way

So many galleries, so little time. How will you see it all? Hailed as one of the oldest and largest museums in the USA, the Art Institute impresses with nearly 100,000 square meters to explore. Fortunately, there’s an app to help you find your way to classic favorites and new discoveries. Download the Art Institute of Chicago Official Mobile App on your iPhone and immerse yourself in podcast-style audio tours that will help you navigate the galleries and exhibitions. You can also use the digital, interactive tool JourneyMaker to build a personalized, adventure-filled tour for your family or enjoy one of the translated guides and audio tours.

A family exploring the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago

A family exploring the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago
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© The Art Institute of Chicago

Shopping and Dining

When you’ve built up an appetite, check out one of the museum’s many cafés. Enjoy a farm-to-table meal at the museum’s fine-dining restaurant, Terzo Piano, with seating on the third-floor sculpture terrace. Quick-order and self-service dining options are also available in-house and provide options for all sorts of tastes, even those of the youngest visitors. Round out your museum visit with a stop in one of two gift shops. Find jewelry, art books and reproductions of your favorite paintings.

Ordering snacks and refreshments at the Art Institute of Chicago's Museum Cafe

Ordering snacks and refreshments at the Art Institute of Chicago's Museum Cafe
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© The Art Institute of Chicago

Location, Location, Location

Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Art Institute is just steps away from several of the city’s landmarks. Cross the street after exiting the Modern Wing, and you’ll find yourself in Millennium Park. Walk a little further, and you’re in Maggie Daley Park. From there, you’re practically at the lakefront. Seeing Chicago’s postcard-pretty views of Lake Michigan and the Monroe Harbor is a great complement to a day of museum-going.

Regal lion statues flanking the Michigan Avenue Entrance

Regal lion statues flanking the Michigan Avenue Entrance
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© The Art Institute of Chicago

Getting There

The Art Institute of Chicago is located in downtown Chicago. The city is easily reached from international destinations via Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW). 

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