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 Room is 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 June 30, 2017.
|Venue name:||Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL||Contact:|
111 S Michigan Ave
|Cross street:||at Adams St|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed 10:30am–5pm, Thu 10:30am–8pm, Fri–Sun 10:30am–5pm.|
|Transport:||El stop: Blue, Red to Jackson; Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Adams. Bus: 3, 4, 6, 14, 26. Train: Elec Main to Millennium Station.|
|Price:||$25; seniors, students and kids 14 and over $19; kids 14 and under free. $5 discount for Chicago residents, Illinois residents $3 off. Thu 5–8pm free for Illinois residents.|
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“Helen Frankenthaler Prints: The Romance of a New Medium”
Abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler is best known for her bold canvases, on which she employed her "soak stain" technique to create translucent splashes of color. However, "The Romance of a New Medium" focuses on her lesser-known work as a print artist,...Prints & editions Until Sunday September 30 2018
“John Singer Sargent and Chicago's Gilded Age”
As one of the most sought-after portrait artists at the turn of the 20th century, John Singer Sargent traveled the world painting important figures and scenes. Sargent first exhibited his work at the Art Institute in 1890 and returned to Chicago often,...Painting Until Sunday September 30 2018
"Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980"
Collecting vintage photos and films that explore the culture of Chicago's neighborhoods, "Never a Lovely So Real" shows how communities throughout the city reacted to three decades of social change. The exhibition includes work from photographers who...Photography Until Sunday October 28 2018
“Hairy Who? 1966–1969”
In 1966, School of the Art Institute graduates Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca and Karl Wirsum presented a group show at the Hyde Park Art Center, exhibiting together under the moniker of "Hairy Who." The artists went...Contemporary art Wednesday September 26 2018 - Sunday January 6 2019
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In my entire 3 years of living in Chicago, I have never been to the Arts Insitute until last month. I'm glad I took the entire day of looking at each exhibit. And believe me, please do take the whole day appreciating everything in the venue. I especially liked the contemporary and furniture section of the place. And best of all, there's an area where you can sit and draw the Greek sculptures.
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best art museums in the world. It's home to some of the most prestigious artworks in history. AIC houses works from the Renaissance period including artist like Nicolas Poussin to more contemporary works by artist like Dawoud Bey. It's most famous for it's Impressionist collection that includes works by Seurat & Renoir but don't overlook it's photography and printmaking collections! AIC is a really fantastic museum and a must for anyone!
The Art Institute is an absolute must for anyone in the city. One, it's a gorgeous building and two, the exhibits are always on point. It's easy to spend an entire afternoon or more, just trying to see everything the Art Institute has to offer.
Whether you're in town temporarily or here for good, you absolutely have to make a stop at the Art Institute. The collections are world-class and so is the collection of lakefront parks just a short walk away. Outside my regular corner bar, this has to be one of the places I frequent the most around town. The permanent exhibits alone would keep me coming back, but the ones that come and go are far and above the best in the Midwest, if not the country.
The Art Institute is easily my favorite art museum in the country. It's big, but not unmanageable like the Met in New York. The buildings, both the Modern Wing and the original structures, are impeccably designed. And most importantly, the collection and exhibitions are top notch. The Art Institute manages to span multiple eras of art—ancient, classicism, modern, contemporary—and present all of them in compelling and easily comprehensible ways.
Who doesn’t love the Art Institute? I could spend an entire day looking through their Modern and Contemporary Art collections and love bringing visitors through to see some of the most iconic works of art. I brought my dad here on his visit and he couldn’t believe how many famous works he could recognize. He hadn’t been to the Art Institute before so he chalked up this sense familiarity to cartoons or movies.
This is one of my favorite places to take visitors, and I might be doing so selfishly because I always want to go and see what's new. Right now they've got the Charles Ray exhibit up, and it is nothing short of inspiring. You could spend a day at the Art Institute and still not see everything.