Chicago is home to one of the best-ranked museums in the world. Did you know that the city also has some incredibly unique museums as well? If you are taking a trip to Chicago or looking for fun things to do, check out this list of 16 of the most unique and often overlooked museums in Chicago.
1. Art on theMart
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza | River North
Wednesday – Sunday | Runs approximately every 15 minutes after sundown
See art outside museum walls at Art on theMart. This is a non-traditional museum that is free and open to the public. The permanent public art space is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world and is located in the heart of downtown along the Chicago River on the famous Merchandise Mart facade. The projections are year-round, and run for two hours a night, with expanded nightly viewing seven nights a week from May to September. See what’s new at Art on theMart here.
2. Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank
230 S LaSalle St. | The Loop
Monday – Friday | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. except on Federal holidays
Ever watch a movie and think to yourself, “I wonder if that is really a million dollars in that suitcase.” See what a million dollars really looks like at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Money Museum. Explore real historical currency and artifacts through interactive exhibits, games, and more. This museum is free and is a great experience for kids of all ages.
3. Chicago Children’s Museum
700 E Grand Ave. | Streeterville
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday | 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Friday – Sunday | 10 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Image | Chicago Children’s Museum
If you’re looking for the best museum for Children, check out the Chicago Children’s Museum. This Chicago museum is intentionally designed for experimentation, creativity, and learning for all children. Housed in Navy Pier, the museum provides an environment for children to both play and learn. Exhibits at this museum include a Tinkering Lab, an Art Studio, and a Sound Playground. Admission to the museum of free for members or $21.00 for adults and children. However, the museum has multiple ways for you to play for less. Visit the Chicago Children’s Museum.org for tickets and for more ways to save on admission to this museum.
4. Museum of Contemporary Photography
600 South Michigan Ave. | South Loop
Monday – Sunday | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP ) is a college art museum located at Columbia College Chicago. The photography museum is an international hub for artists and diverse communities. The museum boasts groundbreaking exhibitions and programming that push the conversation of the artistic, cultural, and political roles of photography in our world today. Admission to the museum is free. For current and future exhibitions at the MoCP, visit the website.
5. Busy Beaver Button Museum
3407 W. Armitage Ave. | Logan Square
Monday – Friday | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Based in the office of Busy Beaver Co, a Chicago-based custom button manufacturer, The Busy Beaver Button Museum boasts a collection of 30,000 pins in different shapes and sizes. The prominent collection dates back to 1896—every year since the pinback’s patent. The museum is free and open to the public or by appointment. For more details on this museum, visit Busy Beaver.net.
6. Chicago Sports Museum
835 North Michigan Ave. | Streeterville
Monday – Thursday | 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday | 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Sunday | 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Chicago Sports Museum is a sports fanatics’ dream come true and a top attraction for families. Chicago’s sports teams are represented through a mix of artifacts and memorable, and interactive exhibitions. Test your athletic skills at Measure Up, observe the largest collection of Chicago Cubs World Series in the city, in the Fan Zone, and more at the Chicago Sports Museum. Tickets to the Chicago Sports Museum are $10 for general admission for adults, $6 for seniors and children ages 4-11, and free for children under 3. Be sure to visit the website at Chicago Sports Museum for all details involving the museum.
7. Smart Museum of Chicago
The University of Chicago 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. | Hyde Park
Tuesday – Sunday | 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Experience a collection of fine art on the campus of the University of Chicago. The Smart Museum of Art is a free museum that offers a unique collection and selection of fine art. To learn more and to see the latest exhibitions at this Chicago Museum, visit the website.
8. American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Ave., 2nd Floor | The Loop
Monday | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Thursday – Sunday | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The American Writers Museum is the first museum of its kind that is fully committed to engaging the public in celebrating American writers. The museums include rotating and permeant exhibitions that focus on the diversity of literature—past, present, and future. Tickets to the museum are $14 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, and free for children ages 12 and under. For more information, visit www.americanwritersmuseum.org.
9. International Museum of Surgical Science
1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. | Streeterville
Monday – Sunday | 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
From medical artifacts to apparatus and instruments, the International Museum of Surgical Science is home to over 7,000 medical artifacts spanning centuries of extensive medical history. The museum is perfectly located near Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and includes a research library, public exhibitions, and guided tours. Tickets to the museum start at $20 for adults, however, rates vary for seniors, students, and children. For more information, visit the museum website here.
10. wndr Museum
1130 West Monroe St.| West Loop
Monday – Sunday | 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The wndr Museum is an interactive museum featuring multi-sensory art and technology experiences. The wndr Museum is home to Chicago’s first-ever Infinity Mirror Room by iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The museum is constantly changing its exhibits featuring work from local and nationally renowned artists in its space. Admission starts at $32 for adults. For more details, and to purchase tickets to the wndr museum, visit the website here.
11. Depaul Art Museum
935 W Fullerton Ave. | Lincoln Park
Wednesday – Thursday | 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday – Sunday | 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
DePaul Art Museum (DPAM) is a world-class museum located in the heart of Lincoln Park on DePaul University’s campus. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 3,500 objects with a focus on international modern and contemporary art. The museum is free and open to the public. Learn more about the opening reception by visiting the website.
12. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N Cannon Dr. | Lincoln Park
Monday – Sunday | 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Looking for family-friendly things to do in Chicago? Explore Peggy Notebart Nature Museum. This unique museum is a family-friendly science museum for children and adults. Admission for adults starts at $15 for Illinois residents. From interactive exhibits to educational events, this museum is perfect for kids of all ages. For more details on this nature museum in Chicago, visit the website.
13. National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., 2nd Floor | Irving Park
Tuesday – Saturday | 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The National Veterans Art Museum is a free museum housing the artwork of veterans housing more than 2,000 works from artists that have served in WWII, Korea, the Gulf War, and the Global War on Terror. The artists live across the United States as well as Australia, Cambodia, Hungary, Thailand, and North and South Vietnam. See the latest exhibitions and learn more about how you can get involved with this museum here.
14. The Design Museum of Chicago
72 E Randolph St. | The Loop
Monday – Sunday | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Formerly the Chicago Design Museum, The Design Museum of Chicago features short-term exhibitions, engaging public programming, and robust partnerships with other arts, academic, and non-profit organizations to contextualize and humanize design’s influence in everyday life. This unique museum is free and open to the public seven days a week. For more information on their latest exhibit, visit The Design Museum of Chicago.
15. National Puerto Rican Museum
3015 W Division St. | Humboldt Park
Tuesday – Thursday | 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday | 10:00 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday | 10 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Celebrate Puerto Rican arts and culture with the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (NMPRAC). This unique museum in Chicago is the only self-standing museum in the nation devoted to showcasing Puerto Rican arts and cultural exhibitions year-round. Located in Humboldt Park, this free museum in Chicago serves as a cultural center for all people. For the latest exhibitions and events at NMPRAC, visit the website.
16. Mindworks Museum
224 S Michigan Ave. | The Loop
Wednesday-Sunday | 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Interested in understanding the inner workings of human behavior? Check out Chicago Booth’s Mindworks Museum in Chicago. This unique museum free and open to the public, is a working laboratory and interactive discovery center that welcomes the public to participate in and learn about behavioral science research, findings, and real-world applications. To learn more about Mindsworks, be sure to visit the website here.
Now that you’ve discovered Chicago’s most unique museums, will you add them to your list? Let me know in the comments!
6 responses to “16 of the Most Unique Chicago Museums to Visit”
Woah these all look so cool!!Loading…
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[…] International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago. As previously shared by The Haute Seeker, this unique museum is home to over 7,000 medical artifacts spanning centuries of extensive medical history. The museum […]Loading…
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