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The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

#1 of 48 in Museums in Chicago
Must see · Art Museum · Museum
Developed from a free art school and gallery started in the 1860s, The Art Institute of Chicago now holds a permanent collection of more than 300,000 artworks. One of its most beloved paintings is George Seurat's Pointillism masterpiece "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte." Exhibits spread over eight buildings include Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, with additional holdings of Old Masters, European and American decorative arts, and industrial and graphic design. Highlights include paintings by American artists Grant Wood and Edward Hopper, as well as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, van Gogh, and Picasso. The main building itself counts among the city's major landmarks, featuring two bronze lions guarding its main entrance. Check the online calendar for special events and temporary exhibits, which often require separate time-stamped tickets. Save time by purchasing your tickets in advance. Because the museum covers so much ground, it helps to map out exhibits you particularly want to see before you start exploring. Before you head to Chicago, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Chicago trip maker tool, to make sure you see all that Chicago has to offer, including The Art Institute of Chicago.
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The Art Institute of Chicago reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
24,054 reviews
  • Under appreciated, in my opinion. I've been to Louvre, the British Museum, and others outside the U.S. Visiting the Art Institute felt like I was in a museum that was even better in some respects.  more »
  • The Monet in Chicago exhibit is one of the best I've seen, combining acquisition history with art history and audio-visual displays to give the gallery goer a new perspective on Monet's life and art.  more »
  • Well worth $35. The Bisa Butler Exhibit was so beautiful. It’s a huge museum and you can easily spend a half day or less inside.  more »
  • Great space and architectural gallery spaces. The spaces expand 3 buildings and 3 levels of major periods of art. This is a single full day adventure, so plan on being there when the doors open. I had the fast pass to by pass the super long line that poured out and round the building bat street level. Still had to wait in the fast pass line but it was worth it not to wait at least 1 hour in line. Purchased the special exhibition (extra cost to fast pass) for $7 per person. This also allowed me to by pass the super long line that housed people waiting to get into the special exhibition. There is no large backpacks allowed, but you can store the back packs and heavy coats when you validate your fast pass, $1 per item stored. 2 people in my party and I had a hiking backpack on so I was able to stuff one jacket into the backpack and attach the other coat to the exterior with the bag straps. Saved me $2 dollars as one item contained the coats. This is another spot where you want to eat a breakfast before heading out and skipping lunch and keep going though the galleries and eating dinner after the art museum closes. Saves you time and money. I was able to finish 85% of the galleries before the art institute closed.
  • An amazing art museum with a huge and wide variety of historically important and worldly renowned art collections. Why I give five stars? I am not an art person at all. This art museum is the first museum that REALLY made feel I love and appreciate art, first time in my life, thanks to my wife who recommended it and brought me here. It was so much worthwhile. Now I can confidently say, I love art! Recommended for anyone who is interested in appreciating worldly famous art.
  • One of the must visit place for Chicago visiting. Great place to visit with Children for their children's section back near the Millennium park entrance. I love their restaurants as well as the member lounge right next to the restaurant. They offer coffee and tea all day for free. This is the first place I bought an annual membership when I came to this area. They offer member lecture series from time to time and it's great. The recent member lecture about Andy Warhol was full (I guessed it was over 100 people) and the presentation was very informative and interesting. Looking and learning about the pictures you saw from a book is great.
  • This is commonly rated the best art museum in the world and it is easily a top contender. Visit the miniature rooms in the basement, see rooms from centuries past from many countries, it is a wonderful little exhibit many people miss. The European and American art exhibits are always incredible and worth visiting many times. The museum of modern art is one of the best in the world. While a recent massive donation has made it a little more stale to revisit, as it is required they display a lot of the donation, it is still incredible and they do a good job rotating a decent portion of it. Don't miss the Chagall stained glass and stock market room in the back, they are awesome and no one knows it exists.
  • A magnificent art museum located in the heart of Chicago. The Art Institute of Chicago is located in the Loop of Chicago. It's a short walk away from other iconic landmarks in the city, most notably Cloud Gate (the 'Bean'). You cannot miss it. The Art Institute of Chicago holds treasures and cultural artifacts from around the world. It is impossible to thoroughly go through every exhibit in a single day. The place is massive. Luckily, tickets are cheap enough that people can come many times. There are also many discounts and free-museum days that visitors can take advantage of. Make sure to do your research before you go. By no means, don't try to cover everything in one day. You'll exhaust yourself if you do that. Focus on what you want to see, spend time exploring from exhibit to exhibit, find something that resonates with you, and enjoy yourself. I would recommend coming on weekdays since the crowd is much, much smaller during those days. 5/5. Must-see in Chicago. Worth every penny.

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