The Art Institute of Chicago has some of the most famous works of art in the world, like American Gothic, one of Vincent van Gogh’s earliest self-portraits, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Nighthawks, The Old Guitarist, Waterlillies by my very favorite artist Claude Monet, and so many others. Along with ancient coins, marble statues from Ancient Greece, and thousands of other incredible works of art, the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the world’s best art museums, and something that can’t be missed on a visit to Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Address: 111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
Admission: $25+ per Adult Ticket
Hours: See hours here
Parking: Grant Street south lot
(use SpotHero app for discounted rate)
Handicap Accessible: Somewhat
I have missed visiting art museums SO much during the last year. If you’ve read anything in my Museums vertical, you’ll know that not only do I love museums, but I also absolutely love art, and if I hadn’t studied Environmental and Earth Sciences at the University of Michigan, I probably would have studied art history. The Art Institute of Chicago is one of my favorite museums I’ve visited so far, and I think it’s an essential spot for any art lover, or the art curious, to visit in Chicago.
The lower level of the Art Institute of Chicago features works from South African photographers, a room of miniature rooms styled in traditional ways with incredible detail from all over the world, the world’s largest collection of glass paperweights, and a vast selection of Islamic Art and textiles.
The ground floor, which is the 1st floor of the museum, features sculptures and busts from India, the Himalayas, and beyond, plus an extensive collection of ancient Chinese, Japanese, and Korean art from the early 100 B.C. and beyond.
Some of my favorites works on this floor are by Tokyo born Itō Shinsui, who created visually stunning and technically impressive portraits of beautiful women both as they exist in reality, and through his interpretive lens of how he believes historical figures such as courtesans and kabuki actors might have looked like.
There’s also art from various regions across Africa and South America, as well as Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantine art, sculptures, busts, and coins. There’s even art from North America and other places around the globe. If you’re looking to travel abroad without actually leaving home, the Art Institute of Chicago is the perfect way to learn about the world from home (or close to home).
The second floor was my favorite floor of the museum. Paintings from Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keefe, Grant Wood, Georges Seurat, Edward Hopper, and many others appear here. In a celebration Impressionism, Contemporary Art, and Medieval and Renaissance Art, some of the most famous works of European and American art & history are on display here, making it a wonderful place to come and learn about art from around the world.
During our visit, there was a special exhibition about Claude Monet’s work, who is far and away my favorite artist, but tragically the tickets were sold out well in advance of our somewhat last minute trip, which was so disappointing. I would have loved to have seen more of his beautiful interpretations of the natural world, but alas, I will continue to see a painting or two at a time elsewhere, I’m sure.
On the third floor, visitors will find paintings by Pablo Picasso inside, as well as contemporary sculptures out on the museum’s terrace.
The museum has a very large gift shop with lots of books about specific artistic, art styles, and art history, as well as other general art themed merchandise.