Beat the Weather at These Museums

Warm up at these world-class museums.

J.B. Spector

A lot of Chicago’s culture exists out in the open, but when the temperature drops and the wind picks up it’s hard to experience it all. Luckily enough, the city houses world-class museums where a visitor can spend days. Here are the concierges’ choices for the perfect museums for a dreary day.

Cynthia Rodriguez, concierge with Corporate Concierge Services, recommends the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) because it has “many areas to be explored that show art in perspectives of history, beauty, religion, and freedom of expression.” The AIC also has a great holiday spirit. Head inside and see some great holiday traditions like the holiday decorations of the miniature Thorne Rooms. The miniature rooms capture European interior decorating from the 13th century to the 1930s and American interior rooms from the 17th century to the 1930s. It has been a tradition every year for AIC to dress up the rooms for the holiday season. Highlights include the Chinese room ready for the Chinese New Year; the yule log, wassailing bowl, and mummer’s mask of the English Great Hall of the Tudor; and the mistletoe, wreath, and garland of the Virginia Entrance Hall. You’re not going to want to miss the only Christmas tree in the exhibit in the English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period.

Holiday Thorne Room Museums

Mrs. James Ward Thorne. E-14: English Drawing Room of the Victorian Period, 1840–70, about
1937. Gift of Mrs. James Ward Thorne.

Brianna Connell, concierge with Corporate Concierge Services, is a fan of the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) because “there is a lot of interactive and fun things to keep you occupied.” Experience the beloved annual holiday tradition at MSI “Christmas Around the World” and “Holidays of Light” exhibits. This year’s colorful theme is inspired by the museum’s temporary exhibit “Brick by Brick.” In the rotunda, the 45-foot Grand Tree will be decked out with more than 30,000 twinkling, colorful lights and LEGO ornaments and decorations. Make sure to experience the “snow” that falls every half hour. The museum’s main floor dazzles with 50 12-foot trees beautifully decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities representing their diverse culture and holiday traditions. “Holidays of Light” is a multicultural display of holidays that celebrate light or enlightenment.


Christmas Around the World at the Museum of Science and Industry. Photo by J.B. Spector.

Melissa Driza, chef concierge at the Kinzie Hotel, loves the Chicago History Museum’s location. If you’re looking to get a dress for a loved one or yourself for the holidays it might be a good idea to get some inspiration from their newest exhibit “Making Mainbocher: The First American Couturier.” Marvel at the 30 dresses, the photographs, and the illustrations highlighting the impressive career of Chicago-born Mainbocher from working at the complaint department of Sears, Roebuck and Company to becoming a haute couturier.


Woman’s dress and stole of silk printed with allover small floral pattern, designed by Mainbocher, circa 1960.

For something off-the-beaten path and fascinating, John Dillon, concierge at the Ritz-Carlton, recommends International Museum of Surgical Science. Your eyes will easily jump from the medical instruments, paintings, and statues to the breathtaking Gold Coast building they are housed in. Over 7,000 medical artifacts, 600 art pieces, over 5,000 medical books, and more are housed in a 20th-Century four-story mansion that resembles Le Petit Trianon, a French chateau on the grounds of Versailles. Here iron lungs, skulls with holes drilled in them, hearing aids from different eras, statues of medical greats, murals depicting important moments in medical history, and more will enlighten those with or without any medical knowledge.

Written By Joel Mora

Joel Mora is editor at Concierge Preferred. Born and raised in Miami, Fl., Joel has slowly ate, drank, and explored his way up north refining all his senses to prepare for the stampede of delicious dining, notorious nightlife, stellar shopping, and captivating culture that calls Chicago home. In the wild he’ll be the red-bearded Cuban with a Lagunitas IPA in his hand.

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