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Culture

Top Rated Attractions in Chicago

Search Radius (Miles)
Art Institute of Chicago

From popular Rembrandt masterpieces to recent works by lesser-known artists, the Art Institute of Chicago houses one of the finest art collections in the world. Spanning centuries of human creativity, exhibits include a distinguished collection of prints and drawings, an internationally acclaimed collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, sculptures, photographs, Asian, African, and American arts, architectural drawings, textiles, and more. Many pieces are on loan from the famed Terra Foundation for American Art. Educational programs and guided museum tours are available. Artbooks, reproductions, postcards, and other items are available in the museum shop.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is one of the newest additions to Chicago's many wide-open urban spaces and is host to a range of indoor/outdoor activities for the entire family. You can listen to top musical events at the outdoor pavilion, or glide across the bustling ice skating rink come winter. For a bit of the park's history, be sure to take a peek at the Peristyle. While in the park one cannot afford to miss the Cloud Gate Sculpture, built with 110 tons (99,790 kilograms) of steel. It is called The Bean by the residents. Meandering through the park, you'll encounter the serene beauty of Lurie Garden, a breathtaking botanical haven. The Pritzker Pavilion and Crown Fountain are also to look out for. Whether you're a local seeking solace or a traveler eager to immerse yourself in the essence of Chicago, Millennium Park warrants a visit.

Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate is an iconic Chicago sculpture located in Millennium Park. Designed by artist Anish Kapoor, its highly reflective surface appears to be seamless but is actually made up of 168 stainless steel plates that were welded together. Its legume-like shape has earned it the nickname "The Bean" among Chicago residents. It is interesting to note that a massive droplet of liquid mercury is the inspiration for this structure which tends to spark curiosity among visitors. The Bean is a must-see attraction while in downtown. Admire the unique structure and make sure you take a picture with this architectural marvel for social media.

Grant Park

The origins of this huge downtown park date back to the 19th Century. Spread across 319 acres (129 hectares), Grant Park is nestled between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan. Inspired by French parks, it has geometric layouts that are entwined by bridges, huge lawns, trails, artworks, monuments, marinas, sports fields and many gardens. The iconic Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Museum Campus and Petrillo Music Shell are some of its popular attractions. Grant Park is also home to major festivals and cultural events in the city.

Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures

Without leaving Chicago, you can see far-off and ancient civilizations thanks to the Oriental Institute Museum. The Institute Museum, a part of the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park, houses top-notch anthropological and archaeological displays regarding the first human civilizations that emerged in the East. Visitors can reflect on man's accomplishments as they examine rare artifacts from historic nations including Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, and Palestine. Afterwards, browse the "Suq" (Arabic for "market") for Eastern finds and unusual gifts. Guided group tours and workshops are available to ease the trip for you.

Field Museum of Natural History

Travel from ancient civilizations through modern times to view the remnants of bygone cultures and traditions at The Field Museum. Get the inside story on Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur skeleton, or view preserved man-eating lions and other animals. For a truly subterranean experience, check out the Underground Adventure, an exhibit dedicated to soil and how it sustains life, or just relax at one of several places to eat. Admission to the museum is free for members, teachers, and military personnel. Moreover, Chicago residents receive a discount.

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