Back to Blog

Chicago’s Best Art Museums

Shot of the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern wing

Shot of the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern wing

Chicago’s a city that boasts some of the best museums in the world, so where do you start if you’re interested in exploring them all? Especially during a pandemic? We thought we’d start off with narrowing your options down to visual arts. Here are some of Chicago’s best art museums, which also have options to stay engaged online or to visit safely.

The Art Institute of Chicago

The second largest art museum in the country, the Art Institute is a go-to for tourists and beloved by locals. The museum houses iconic pieces by famous artists like Grant Wood, Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper and that’s just naming a few. The Art Institute also hosts a rotation of impressive exhibits, most recently one featuring Monet. If you want to visit in person, there are new guidelines to keep guests safe. Or, visit virtually

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Housed in a building just as memorable and unique as its collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art is a haven for connoisseurs of contemporary art. The museum’s collection includes Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Alexander Calder, and a range of artistic styles and expressions. The museum has an extensive list of precautions for visitors and virtual events for those who want to stay connected from a distance. 

National Museum of Mexican Art

Found in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, the National Museum of Mexican Art houses an impressive collection of Mexican and American artwork. It stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States, a promise established in 1982 and still carried out today. Although the museum is still closed due to COVID-19, its at-home program is a great way to learn more for both children and adults. 

Museum of Contemporary Photography

Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual admirer, the Museum of Contemporary Photography is one of the best places in the Midwest to appreciate the art of photography. Browse through the museum’s digital exhibits from the comfort of home, or reserve a ticket to visit in person. 

For more intimate art experiences, check out the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, the Renaissance Society and the Block Museum at Northwestern. Of course, from museums, to galleries, to murals, Chicago overflows with art to appreciate and enjoy at every turn. The city’s creative inspiration is one of the many reasons we love to call it home.