For those interested in the wide and wonderful world of art, Chicago is an underrated destination with something for every taste. Although not as well-known as the art juggernauts of New York City or Rome, Chicago has a wealth of incredible museums and galleries that host a plethora of incredible and moving works by artists from all eras – from the renaissance to the modern era. These are just a few of the stimulating artistic shrines that you can visit in the fair city of Chicago, whether you’re pursuing a liberal arts degree in art history or just a curious soul.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Chicago is frequently on the cutting edge when it comes to culture – there is an exceptional thriving food scene, for example. It’s not a surprise then that Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art ranks among the best such showcases of art in the country. Since its inception in 1967, it’s come to house many groundbreaking performance pieces, jaw-dropping installations and influential artworks by a variety of talented artists – known and unknown. The museum is often the setting for field trips for alternative liberal arts college classes.
The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows
An off-the-wall collection of on-the-wall stained glass hangings, the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows is a beautifully bizarre little secret tucked away down on the Navy Pier. Chicago was actually, at one time in the 1800s, the stained glass capital of the world, owing to the large population of European immigrants. Today the Smith Museum houses amazing stained glass portraits of famous historical figures like Ben Franklin and celebrities like Michael Jordan. It’s a crazy place that’s definitely worth a visit if you’re studying at a small liberal arts college – it’s a break from the more traditional world of higher art, providing a much lighter and less stuffy experience than most museums.
The Shedd Aquarium
Do you love the brilliant blue of the ocean deep? Well then, checking out the wonderful Shedd Aquarium should certainly top your list of “must do's.” The Shedd claims to be "engaging, inspiring, entertaining and informing" the public about the life that swims and crawls in our rivers and oceans. With an amazing Oceanarium, a gorgeous exhibit on wild reefs, an exhibit on the conservation of the creatures of the Amazon river and a whole lot more, you can spend days exploring the creatures of the deep here.
The Museum of Science and Industry
The structure itself dates back to the 1890s when it was developed for the World’s Columbian Exposition, used as the Palace of Fine Arts. Now it’s used as a hub for scientific and technological voyages of exploration, analysis and wonder. Featuring crazy new inventions, boundary-pushing scientific exploits and much, much more, the Museum of Science and Industry is a world of wonder for the young and old.
As a hub for culture and arts, Chicago is hard to rival. These museums are the cream of the crop, but there’s still a wealth of amazing other institutions out there for you to discover.