For concierges' cultural favorites look to Chicago's world-class historical, art, and civic museums.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The largest private residence in Chicago at the time of its construction (1879–1883), the Samuel M. Nickerson House survives today as one of the few remaining examples of the grand homes erected by the wealthy of America’s Gilded Age. Housed in this historic landmark, the Driehaus Museum offers a look at the lush settings afforded by the nouveaux-riches during that period and is a showcase for late 19th and early 20th-century art and design. Throughout the meticulously restored mansion, guests can get an up-close look at Tiffany Studios stained glass, Herter Brothers furniture, and artifacts from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. With an impressive roster of seasonal exhibits and programs, make sure to visit the special exhibit “Dressing Downton™: Changing Fashion for Changing Times,” which opens on Feb. 9. To kick off the exhibition coming to Chicago, and the final season of the popular television show “Downton Abbey®”, the museum is presenting a selection of special programs including a signature lecture with set designer Jude Farr, author events, movie nights, as well as a series finale viewing party.

DuSable Museum of African American History

DuSable Museum of African American History

The DuSable Museum of African American History is a must-experience cultural hub and one of the few independent institutions of its kind in the country. Named for Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian of African and French descent who is regarded as the founder of Chicago, the museum’s diverse holdings include more than 15,000 pieces ranging from paintings and sculptures to historical memorabilia and print works highlighting African American history, culture, experiences, and achievements. Highlights of the collection include a Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story, which brings to life the words and accomplishments of Harold Washington, Chicago’s 42nd mayor and the city’s first African American mayor.

Works of Art

"Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper at The Art Institute of Chicago.

“Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper at The Art Institute of Chicago.

No trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago, voted the #1 Museum in the World by Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards. Here you can explore America’s greatest collection of impressionist paintings—including works by Monet, Renoir, Seurat, and Van Gogh—before venturing to the Modern Wing where you can take in an extraordinary collection of modern masterpieces by Chagall, Dali, Pollock, and more. Special exhibits include Van Gogh’s Bedrooms (opens Feb. 14), the first exhibit offering an in-depth study and look at the artist’s three bedroom paintings.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s (MCA) exhibits are always rotating and fresh and housed alongside a collection of expertly-curated, cutting-edge art created after 1945. From painting and sculpture to photography, video and other medium, artistic expression is everywhere at this museum. Whether you’re looking to reacquaint yourself with the great artists of our time or for memorable cultural experience in Chicago, it’s no surprise that the MCA remains at the top of concierges’ to-do lists each year.

The Chicago Cultural Center is a city landmark for exquisite art, architecture, music, theater, and history. The most prominent elements of the historic building are the two famous glass domes including the world’s largest Tiffany dome that rests atop this People’s Palace. With its free art exhibits, renowned performers, and glorious architecture, this is one Chicago icon that’s not to be missed.

Written By Amber Holst

Amber Holst is Vice President & Editorial Director at Concierge Preferred. A native Chicagoan, she’ll happily bend your ear about why Top Notch burgers are a must (as is an Original Rainbow Cone) and can often be found procuring milk candy in Chinatown after dim sum with her partner in crime or rooting on her beloved Green Bay Packers (yes, that’s right) at Will’s Northwoods Inn. Lover of cured meats, prosecco, and good old fashioned “slashies” she considers herself fortunate to be able to promote her hometown for a living. Fun fact? She can play the accordion.

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