Chicago's Top 10 Museums

Find Fast Facts About Visiting Chicago's Top Museums
Updated February 08, 2016.

Chicago's museums rank among the best in the world. How lucky are we that we get to live nearby and visit often?

Below are the top ten Chicago museums that consistently turn up as the city's most popular, based on attendance. Find the essential info you need to visit today.

Related: Free Days at 30 Chicago Museums & Cultural Institutions

Calm Lake Michigan water is featured in the harbor near the John Shedd Aquarium on a very warm summer morning. In the background rises a portion of the lakefront skyline with significant buildings including, from left, the 311 S. Wacker Drive Building, Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and the AT&T Corporate Center. - Bruce Leighty/Photodisc/Getty Images
Bruce Leighty/Photodisc/Getty Images

1.  The Shedd Aquarium

Location: Museum Campus, just Northeast of Soldier Field

1200 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

The Shedd is dedicated to "engaging, inspiring, entertaining and informing" the public about the life in our oceans and waterways. They feature an Oceanarium, Wild Reef exhibit, Amazon River exhibit, and they pride themselves on their dedication to conservation and the protection of wildlife habitats.

Related: Free Days at the Shedd Aquarium More »

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Joe Ziolkowski, Museum of Science and Industry
Joe Ziolkowski, Museum of Science and Industry

2.  Museum of Science and Industry

Location: Hyde Park at Lake Shore Drive and 57th Street on Chicago's South Side

57th & Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637

Since 1933, this enormous museum has been dedicated to educating the public about science and technology. From the coal mine exhibit with a working elevator to the captured German World War II submarine, the museum's collections and hands-on exhibits seem almost endless.

Related: Free Days at the Museum of Science and Industry More »

3.  The Art Institute of Chicago

Location: Downtown Where Adams Street Meets Michigan Avenue

111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603

The Art Institute consistently ranks among Chicago's most-visited museums. From French Impressionist paintings to African masks to the new wing for Modern Art, the museum offers visitors a rich cultural experience. More »

4.  Museum of Contemporary Art

Location: Michigan Avenue, a Few Blocks East of the Old Water Tower

220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago's contemporary art center explores, exhibits, and collects art created since 1945. They're dedicated to allowing the public "to directly experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time." More »

5.  National Museum of Mexican Art

Location: Southwest of the Loop in the Pilsen/Little Village Neighborhood

1852 West 19th Street
Chicago, IL 60608

The National Museum of Mexican Art is dedicated to stimulating and preserving knowledge and appreciation of Mexican culture. It is one of the largest collections of Latino art in the nation, and it is also the only Latino institution to receive accreditation from the American Association of Museums. The current collection includes more than 5,500 objects. More »

6.  Adler Planetarium

Location: Museum Campus, East of Soldier Field

1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, founded in 1930, is America's first and oldest planetarium. It now houses two star-gazing theaters, a unique collection of antique instruments, extensive exhibit space, and many hands-on exhibits. It also offers one of the most wonderful views of the skyline in the entire city.

Related: Free Days at Adler Planetarium More »

© Jennifer Roche
© Jennifer Roche. © Jennifer Roche

7.  The Chicago History Museum

Location: In Lincoln Park on Chicago's North Side

1601 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614

The Chicago History Museum exhibits artifacts from the depth of their 22 million item collection and from the breadth of the city's history. From the Chicago Bulls to the Great Chicago Fire, the museum covers it all and offers contexts and exhibits to make Chicago's history relevant to our lives today. (Formerly the Chicago Historical Society.) More »

8.  DuSable Museum of African American History

Location: East Side of Washington Park on Chicago's South Side

740 East 56th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

DuSable is the nation's oldest museum dedicated to the exploration, documentation, and celebration of the African American experience. More »

9.  The Field Museum of Natural History

Location: Museum Campus, directly North of Soldier Field

1400 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

The Field Museum is probably best known for its dinosaur displays, but it also has a rich and deep dedication to "the diversity and relationships in nature and among cultures." It currently holds, conserves, studies more than 20 million objects, a collection which grew from holdings received after the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. More »

© Jennifer Roche
© Jennifer Roche. © Jennifer Roche

10.  The Notebaert Nature Museum

Location: Just North of Fullerton in Lincoln Park on Chicago's North Side

2430 N. Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60614

The Nature Museum is devoted to "inspiring people to learn about and care for nature and the environment." The museum works in conjunction with the collections and scientists of the Chicago Academy of Sciences to create exhibits, programs, and more. The museum also features a live butterfly exhibit. More »