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.
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 Art Institute’s restaurant, Terzo Piano, once you’re ready to eat. Located on the third level on the Modern Wing, you’ll find a menu filled with authentic Italian dishes and remarkable views of Millennium Park to take in while you finish your meal.
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 March 26, 2019.