3 Reasons to Visit the Top Museum in Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has been top ranked in the world by TripAdvisor—four years in a row. Here's three reasons you must experience it for yourself.

Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884 (detail), 1884/86. The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.

For the Art, Obviously

The Art Institute of Chicago is an encyclopedic art museum, which is a fancy way of saying that there’s a little bit of everything, from everywhere. With one million square feet of gallery space to explore there’s something for everyone. The concierge short list of must-sees include its extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, which is considered one of the finest in the world; the airy, light-filled Modern Wing that showcases 20th- and 21st-century art and the beloved Thorne Miniature Rooms, where dollhouse-like structures illustrate European and American homes, buildings, and interiors.

The Photo Opportunities

This world class institution is home to over 300,000 works of art (some of which date back to 3,500 BC). Overwhelming, right? To help narrow down the options, we asked concierges’ to pick their favorite Instagram-worthy work of art. What topped their list? Marc Chagall’s stained-glass masterpiece America Windows, Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, and of course, the epic pointillist masterpiece A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by George Seurat. While each concierge had their personal favorite, all agreed that you’d be remiss not to take a selfie with the iconic bronze lions that guard the entrance. Expert Tip: Ask your concierge about VIP tickets that let you skip the line.

It’s an Engaging Experience

Embark on an informative and fun art adventure! In addition to free guided gallery tours available daily at noon, you can download the the Art Institute of Chicago’s Official Mobile App for iOS devices (free from the App Store) for podcast-style audio tours with behind-the-scenes stories and music that transports you into the artwork. Fun fact? There’s even a new “Hamilton”-inspired audio tour in American Art.  Bringing the Family? Let the kids choose their own art adventure. With the museum’s new digital interactive, JourneyMaker, your tykes can choose from eight different story lines and build a customized guide filled with activities and artful surprises for all.

Chicago’s Unofficial Mascots

Made for the Art Institute of Chicago’s opening in 1893, the two bronze lions that guard the main entrance aren’t identical. Take a look and see if you can spot the differences.

While they don’t have “official” names, their sculptor, Edward Kemeys, called the south lion “stands in attitude of defiance” and the north lion “on the prowl”.

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