Whether you’re just visiting Chicago or you’re a local looking for something interesting for the whole family to enjoy, a museum is a terrific destination. You’ll find world-class institutions throughout the area, and they’re among the city’s best attractions. Browse exhibits devoted to art, history, and science that will be entertaining and educational for kids and parents alike at these six museums in Chicago, Illinois.

Museum of Science and Industry

The front entrance of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL.

Image via Flickr by BrentDPayne 

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) brings a new approach to discoveries and inspiration to inquiring minds. Peruse exhibits that are unique to MSI, such as Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle. The acclaimed actress crafted this one-of-a-kind miniature home to enchant children of all ages. Tour the historic U-505 submarine which cruised the waters of the Atlantic during World War II. An interactive indoor display tells a harrowing story of the capture of this German terror. Explore its technology and get to know the sailor’s living conditions aboard the vessel. Catch the film entitled “Superpower Dogs,” showing daily at 10:40 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:20 p.m. in the giant dome theater. This all-ages attraction highlights the bravery of some of the world’s most amazing canines. 

Located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, MSI is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Remember to purchase your timed tickets in advance.

Chicago History Museum

A bronze figure display at the Chicago History Museum in Chicago, IL.

Image via Flickr by davidwilson1949 

Watch the history of the Windy City unfold right before your eyes at this inviting gallery. Curators designed the Chicago History Museum (CHM) to help foster meaningful connections between the legendary city and its people through a variety of programs. Founded in 1856, it’s the city’s oldest cultural institution.

On display now through Dec. 31, 2020, review “Millions of Moments: The Chicago Sun-Times Photo Collection.” This intriguing exhibit features more than 150 photographs taken by the photojournalists of this world-renowned newspaper. They skillfully captured bold images of Chicago’s breaking news. 

Explore the Windy City’s history right from the comfort of your home with CHM’s series of online exhibits. Gather the whole family around the computer and learn all about the law and disorder that reigned over the city during the late 1960s. Uncover the breakdown in the political process and the vast division of visiting delegates, protestors, and local police. 

Find this museum at 1601 North Clark St. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Museum of Contemporary Art

An intricately designed stairway at the Chicago Contemporary Art Museum.

Image via Flickr by Phil Roeder 

More than 600 local and internationally renowned artists are the driving force behind the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). These creatives play an integral role in every collection, program, or publication. Their works grace the MCA’s permanent and rotating displays that feature contemporary art in a variety of media.

Don’t miss “Chicago Works: Deborah Stratman.” This exhibit is based on the artist’s celebrated film “The Illinois Parables” and is on display now through Dec. 6, 2020. Find MCA at 220 E. Chicago Ave. Reserve your free admission tickets online before visiting.

The Field Museum

An elephant exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago, IL.

Image via Flickr by vagueonthehow

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, the Field Museum delights guests of all ages with exhibits filled with 40 million cultural artifacts and natural wonders. The scientists here document previously unknown species and work to conserve ecosystems all over the world, as well as those right in the Chicago neighborhood. 

Set out on an adventure with the whole family and spend the day at the Field. Sign up for Dino Camp, a summer program for preschoolers and their caregivers to engage your budding anthropologist with digs, games, and projects. The Field Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center

Honor the memory of those individuals lost during the rise of Nazism at the Illinois Holocaust Museum. With a founding principle to transform the future, it provides the opportunity for everyone to learn the universal lessons that combat hatred, prejudice, and indifference in our daily lives.

The Karkomi Holocaust Exhibition is a place where you can discover pre-war European life, the rise of Nazism, concentration camps, and the post-war life of liberated people in Skokie, Illinois. Experience more than 500 artifacts and photographs, and tour a German rail car.

Located at 9603 Woods Drive, this educational center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It offers free admission every Wednesday all year long, though you must reserve your tickets in advance.

Swedish American Museum

Whether you want to investigate your heritage or explore the intricate details of Helvetic culture, take a trip to the Swedish American Museum. Situated in Andersonville at 5211 N. Clark St. in the heart of a traditionally Swedish, north side Chicago area, this 24,000-square-foot cultural center features two gallery spaces and delightful rotating art exhibits. It’s open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Grab the kids and head to the on-campus Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration. Educators designed these hands-on interactive exhibits for kids of all ages. The whole family will explore a century-old Swedish farmhouse, milk a cow, and bring in firewood. There’s also a 20-foot immigrant steamship where kids can pretend to embark on a journey to America.

Now is an excellent time to research your family’s heritage. Individual study times are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and help is available by staff members of the Genealogical Society. This newly reorganized group hosts presentations from 10 a.m. to noon on the fourth Saturday of the month. So, there you have it. Crème de la Crème of Lincoln Park just informed you of the six museums you need to visit in the greater Chicago area.