Don't Miss These Top 10 Chicago Museums

You've Got Art, Science, History, an Aquarium -- and the Stars

88 Seconds of the Adler Planetarium
••• ShutterRunner.com (Matty Wolin) / Getty Images

Chicago is an exciting getaway destination -- great for a long weekend. It has a spectacular culinary scene and mind-blowing shopping, exciting sports teams, and renowned architecture. Chicago's museums are bright jewels in its crown and rank among the best in the world. These are the top 10 that consistently turn up as the city's most popular, based on attendance. So book a room in the Loop or on the Magnificent Mile and have yourself a ball in Chicago. It's your kind of town, no doubt about it.

Related: Free Days at 30 Chicago Museums & Cultural Institutions

  • 01 of 10
    Calm Lake Michigan water is featured in the harbor near the John Shedd Aquarium on a very warm summer morning. In the background rises a portion of the lakefront skyline with significant buildings including, from left, the 311 S. Wacker Drive Building, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the AT&T Corporate Center.
    ••• Bruce Leighty/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Location: Museum Campus, just northeast of Soldier Field

    1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60605
    (312) 939-2438

    The Shedd is dedicated to "engaging, inspiring, entertaining and informing" the public about the life in oceans and waterways. It includes an oceanarium, wild reef exhibit, and Amazon River exhibit.The Shedd prides itself on its dedication to conservation and the protection of wildlife habitats.

    Related: Free Days at the Shedd Aquarium

  • 02 of 10
    Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
    ••• Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Bruce Leighty/Photolibrary/Getty Images

    Location: Hyde Park at Lake Shore Drive and 57th Street on Chicago's South Side

    57th and Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60637
    (773) 684-1414

    Since 1933, this enormous museum has been dedicated to educating the public about science and technology. From the coal mine exhibit with a working elevator to the captured German World War II submarine, the museum's collections and hands-on exhibits never fail to thrill kids, and adults have a pretty good time, too. 

    Related: Free Days at the Museum of Science and Industry

  • 03 of 10
    Art Institute of Chicago
    ••• @keithbetti / Twenty20

    Location: Downtown, Adams Street at Michigan Avenue

    111 S. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (312) 443-3600

    The Art Institute of Chicago consistently ranks among Chicago's most-visited museums. From its large collection of French impressionist paintings to African masks to the wing for modern art and special exhibitions, the museum offers visitors a rich cultural experience.

  • 04 of 10

    Museum of Contemporary Art

    MCA chicago
    ••• David Sorich / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Location: Michigan Avenue, a few blocks east of the Old Water Tower

    220 E. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    (312) 280-2660

    Chicago's contemporary art center explores, exhibits and collects art created since 1945. The museum is dedicated to allowing the public "to directly experience the work and ideas of living artists and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time."

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    National Museum of Mexican Art chicago
    ••• Tim Marklew / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Location: Southwest of the Loop in the Pilsen/Little Village neighborhood

    1852 W. 19th St.
    Chicago, IL 60608
    (312) 738-1503

    The National Museum of Mexican Art is dedicated to stimulating and preserving knowledge and appreciation of Mexican culture. It is one of the largest collections of Latino art in the nation, and it is also the only Latino institution to receive accreditation from the American Association of Museums. The current collection includes more than 5,500 objects.

  • 06 of 10
    Adler Planetarium
    ••• Adler Planetarium / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Location: Museum Campus, east of Soldier Field

    1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60605
    (312) 922-7827

    Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, founded in 1930, is America's first and oldest planetarium. It now houses two stargazing theaters, a collection of antique instruments, extensive exhibit space, and many hands-on exhibits. It also offers one of the most wonderful views of the skyline in the entire city.

    Related: Free Days at Adler Planetarium

  • 07 of 10
    Chicago History Museum
    ••• Courtesy of Chicago History Museum

    Location: In Lincoln Park on Chicago's North Side

    1601 N. Clark St.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    (312) 642-4600

    The Chicago History Museum exhibits artifacts from the depth of its 22-million item collection and from the breadth of the city's history. From the Chicago Bulls to the Great Chicago Fire, the museum covers it all and offers context and exhibits to make Chicago's history relevant to life today. (Formerly the Chicago Historical Society)

  • 08 of 10
    DuSable Museum of African-American History
    ••• TonyTheTiger / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

    Location: East Side of Washington Park on Chicago's South Side

    740 E. 56th St.
    Chicago, IL 60637
    (773) 947-0600


    DuSable is the nation's oldest museum dedicated to the exploration, documentation, and celebration of the African-American experience.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    The Field Museum of Natural History chicago
    ••• © The Field Museum

    Location: Museum Campus, directly north of Soldier Field

    1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60605
    (312) 738-1503

    The Field Museum is probably best known for its dinosaur displays, but it also has a rich and deep dedication to "the diversity and relationships in nature and among cultures." It currently holds, conserves and studies more than 20 million objects, a collection that grew from holdings it received after the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, held in Chicago.

  • 10 of 10
    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
    ••• The Butterfly Haven at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Wildcat Dunny / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Location: Just north of Fullerton in Lincoln Park on Chicago's North Side

    2430 N. Cannon Drive
    Chicago, IL 60614
    (773) 755-5100
    Directions

    The Nature Museum is devoted to "inspiring people to learn about and care for nature and the environment." The museum works in conjunction with the collections and scientists of the Chicago Academy of Sciences to create exhibits and programs. The museum also features a live butterfly exhibit.