Everything you need to know about visiting the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603).
Guarded by an iconic pair of bronze lions, the Art Institute of Chicago houses a permanent collection of more than 300,000 artworks, displayed in a sprawling complex of galleries and halls. You’ll find everything from Japanese prints to ancient Greek sculptures among the pieces housed in the museum’s central galleries, where classic paintings such as Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and Grant Wood's American Gothic are also housed. For something a bit more contemporary, head for the Modern Wing—a Renzo Piano-designed addition that displays the museum’s architecture and design collection as well as 20th and 21st century art.
What are the free days for the Art Institute of Chicago?
The museum is free for Illinois residents on select dates throughout year. Visit the Art Institute of Chicago website for upcoming free days. The museum is always free for teens under 18, all children under 14, active-duty military, Illinois educators and LINK and WIC cardholders.
What are the Art Institute of Chicago hours?
The museum is open 11am-5pm on Monday, 11am-8pm on Thursday and 11am-5pm Friday through Sunday.
How much do tickets cost?
Tickets are $32 for adults and $26 for seniors. Chicago residents receive a $12 discount on tickets while Illinois residents save $5.
Bend it like Bueller
Recreate the Art Institute-set scenes depicted Ferris Bueller’s Day Off by visiting Georges Seurat’s iconic painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, which is located in the European Painting and Sculpture gallery on the museum’s second floor. Then, recreate the romantic moment between Sloan and Ferris in front of Marc Chagall’s American Windows—a stained glass installation in the Arthur Rubloff building.
Miniaturize your visit
Tucked away in the lower level of the Art Institute, the Thorne Miniature Rooms are an often-overlooked part of the museum that’s worth walking down some stairs to view. The room contains 68 recreations of American, European and Asian architecture and furniture, represented at 1:12 scale. It’s like a hyper-detailed, ultra-realistic doll house that you wish you had when you were kid.
Have a meal with a view
All that art is going to make your hungry (especially the paintings of food), so head for The Member Bar at Terzo Piano, where Art Institute members and their guests can take in the outstanding views of the city, park and lake while sipping free coffee and tea on this third-level perch. Wine, beer, cocktails and light snacks are also available for purchase.
Non-members can refuel at The Market, which is home to an array of Chicago food favorites. Choose from French-inspired sandwiches, salads and desserts from chef Chris Pandel’s La Patinette, or delicious chicken sandwiches, salads and sides from GG’s Chicken Shop, the second outpost of chef Lee Wolen’s Southport flagship. Seasonally rotating classics like flatbreads and burgers round out the offerings.
There's also the Modern Café, located on the second level of the Modern Wing, which offers lighter fare plus a full coffee, tea and beverage menu.
Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. The Art Institute of Chicago was most recently updated with new tips on November 2, 2023.