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From literature and art to science and history, the variety of museums in Chicago is varied and plentiful. It’s almost guaranteed that you will find something to love. Whether you are passionate about pharaohs, plants, paintings or all of the above, you will find it amongst the plethora of museums that make up Chicago’s cultural landscape. 

Whether you have a day or two to enjoy all the Windy City has to offer or longer, make sure you carve out some time to enjoy the city’s museums. It’s not so much a question about if you want to go to a museum, it’s more what are the best museums in Chicago and how do you get started? 

Enter Orbzii – let us guide you through the marvellous maze of the best museums in Chicago.

Museum of Science and Industry

As the largest science museum in the world, the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park is certainly worth a visit. There’s a variety of exhibitions and it’s suitable for all the family. From ancient WWII submarines, a coal mine and tractors to exploring the human body and space exploration, it’s educational and also fun for all members of the family. Queues can be long at times, so choose the time you visit wisely.

Even if you are not a fan of science, there are some interesting exhibits both on a permanent and temporary basis and it’s easy to see why this expansive and thought provoking museum is high on the must-visit list of the best museums in Chicago.

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Art Institute of Chicago

Iconic, stunning and one of the city’s most well-known cultural buildings as well as being one of the best museums in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago is just as impressive on the inside as it is the out. There’s a staggering collection of artworks and artefacts to feast your eyes in – over 300,000 artworks in its permanent collection and then there’s the temporary collection which has housed intriguing displays from everything from London underground artwork to Kabuki prints from Japan. 

Navigate your way through the sprawling complex of galleries of sculptures, paintings, photos and drawings. Fans of pop culture will love the Georges Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, as seen in the eighties film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Photography is a huge thing in Chicago and one of the best collections of photography to check out when it comes to cool museums in Chicago is the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Based in the legendary Loop, if you are looking for a quick fix of culture, this museum/gallery is a great option as it’s small but mighty. 

It doesn’t take long to see everything on display in this relatively small museum, which makes it a perfect place to experience a bit of culture in a jiff. 

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Smart Museum of Art

Quirky and cool, the Smart Museum of Art was initially conceived as an institution where art scholars could study the arts and develop their own exhibitions. Fast forward to today and not only open to the public, but it’s also free. Expect to see contemporary works by the likes of Andy Warhol sitting alongside ceramics from Asia. There are also art installations and collections from local artists to enjoy. There is also a lovely courtyard sculpture garden making this standout from the crowd amongst its counterparts in the myriad of museums in Chicago. 

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

Immerse yourself into nature at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. From the butterfly haven to learning more about the Ice Age, this is one of the best museums in Chicago to learn about nature and science. 

Set amongst the pretty greenery in Lincoln Park, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum offers a variety of ways to enhance your appreciation of the world of nature. 

Why not take a guided tour of the museum’s outdoor nature trail and befriend the fluttering and colourful butterflies at Butterfly Haven? 

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Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum has quite the fascinating past. Not only is it Chicago’s oldest cultural institution but it has a colourful and noteworthy past. For starters, the original museum which was founded in 1856, was burned down in the Great Fire of 1871. Then there was a second blaze which devastated the remainder of the collection. However, it has fought its way through the tribulations to become one of the best museums in Chicago and is a great place to learn more about the city’s history   through engaging exhibits covering music, film, design, fashion and historic events. 

Inspired? We thought you would be! From planning a trek around the museums in Chicago to exploring the restaurants and other things to do, you will need to book that all-important break. It all starts with our fantastic app where you can Dream, Plan and Book your trip to Chicago in a matter of moments.