America’s second city is a treasure trove of history and culture, much of it preserved in climate-controlled museums that offer the perfect mix of traditional observation-style displays and interactive exhibits. If you live in one of the Windy City’s luxury apartment homes and are looking for some great ideas for how you can spend your weekend free time in the coming months, you have come to the right place. The museums featured in this article and a follow-up that will appear next week are so engaging that they will have you forgetting the dreary and inhospitable weather outside in no time.
The Art Institute of Chicago
Consistently ranked as one of the best art museums in the United States, The Art Institute of Chicago was recently voted the top museum in the country in a Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice poll. The museum boasts an impressive one million square feet of display space, and its curators and management make excellent use out of every last one of them. The Art Institute’s vast collection spans more than 2,500 years, with ancient Greek antiquities and contemporary masterpieces held just rooms away from one another. Spend a Saturday or Sunday as one of the museum’s more than two million annual visitors, and you are unlikely to be disappointed. If you happen to live in AMLI 900 or AMLI River North, you have the luxury of living within short walking distance to this top downtown Chicago attraction.
Chicago History Museum
Chicago has played an important role in our nation’s city, and after doubling in size during the decade from 1880 to 1890 to surpass Philadelphia as the second largest city in the United States, Chicago was given the moniker “the second city.” The fascinating history of this beloved midwestern behemoth of a city is chronicled in the Chicago History Museum. The museum, established in 1856 on Dearborn Street in downtown Chicago, is an interesting and resilient piece of Chicago history in its own rite. Destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the museum was rebuilt and its collection has been stored in fireproof buildings ever since. Today, it is housed in a larger facility on Clark Street in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Part of the downtown Chicago Museum Campus, the Shedd Aquarium is another Chicago museum that consistently ranks on top-ten lists for the country and the world. It was the first inland aquarium to obtain a permanent saltwater marine life collection. Today, it is still one of the largest indoor aquariums. More than 1,500 aquatic life species are represented in the Shedd Aquarium’s collection, which wows visitors of all ages time and time again. In just a few hours at this museum, you can travel from the Caribbean Coast to Antarctica, observing a sea turtle at play, penguins feeding, and a Giant Pacific Octopus inking. Many residents of downtown Chicago apartments enjoy the Shedd Aquarium so much that they opt to become members.
Chicago winters may not be known for being pleasant, but residents of the city cannot plausibly argue that there is a lack of ways for them to spend their free time. If you are looking for an experience that will be educational, engaging, and fun all at the same time, visit one of the museums featured above or one of the dozens of other exciting cultural attractions in downtown Chicago. To further familiarize yourself with some of Chicago’s hottest museums, visit our blog again next week!