1/1

CHICAGO MUSEUMS - HIDDEN GEMS

Fill gaps in your Chicago itinerary with these ideas highlighting the city's hidden gems.

Back to Previous Page

If you're looking to add lesser-known locations to your itineraries, start with these hidden gems throughout the Chicago area.

Pritzker Military Library

104 S. Michigan Ave., 312-374-9333, pritzkermilitarylibrary.org
Don't let the name fool you — there are more than just books at Pritzker Military Library. More than 35,000 books, posters, photographs, videos and artifacts ranging from military medals to swords tell the revealing story of American history through the eyes of the citizen soldier. Send your group on a 30–45 min. tour on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, or encourage them to wander collections ranging from training comics from WWII and Korea to medical research files on topics like early ambulances and Civil War nurses.

Average length of visit: 45 min.
Languages: English, Spanish
Admission: $5 (free for visitors with active military IDs)
Learn More

Oriental Institute Museum

1155 E. 58th St., 773-702-9514, oi.uchicago.edu/museum
Part museum, part research center, the Oriental Institute is home to a world-famous collection of Middle Eastern artifacts. Imagine your groups coming face-to-face with 17-foot-tall colossal statue of the infamous King Tut, being so close they can see the subtle pleats in his kilt. Or picture them gazing upon a set of shattered Persian plates from royal tables, broken when Alexander the Great destroyed the city. Or, visualize them walking right up to a gigantic stone bull head, knowing that it was the same one used to guard kings at Persepolis in 500 BC. It's all at the Oriental Institute.

Average length of visit: 1 hour
Languages: English, Chinese, Spanish (German upon request)
Admission: Free (suggested donation of $7)
Learn More

Glessner House Museum

1800 S. Prairie Ave., 312-326-1480, glessnerhouse.org
The year is 1886. Chicago's elite Prairie Avenue — "that holy of holies where only the elect do dwell," said the Chicago Evening Journal in the late 19th century — has just seen the completion of a 17,000-square-foot modern-day castle. The residence, designed by architect H. H. Richardson for wealthy Chicagoan John Glessner, shattered the designs typical for the period and created a stunning structure never before seen. Inside the monumental, fortress-like stone walls was (and is) a private sunlit courtyard, 11 fireplaces, 14 staircases and several levels of cozy hospitality. For 50 years, Glessner and his family lived at the home, and now, your groups can travel back in time to see the residence firsthand. It's truly an architectural wonder. Group tours operate on a first-come, first-serve basis for 12 or less; custom tours available for groups of 10-plus with four weeks' notice.

Average length of visit: 1 hour
Languages: English
Admission: $10 (free on Wednesdays for groups under 10 people)
Learn More

 

Clarke House Museum

1827 S. Indiana Ave., 312-326-1480, clarkehousemuseum.org
What was life like for the typical Chicago family during the city's formative years, just before the Civil War? Your groups can find out at the Clark House Museum, built in 1836 and widely considered Chicago's oldest home. This Greek Revival-style structure has survived fires, financial hardships, severe weather including spring floods, changes of ownership, changes to its exterior, a stint as church offices and even two moves, the last of which brought it to its current home on Indiana Ave. Today, visitors can walk through the twice-restored Clarke House Museum and marvel at the original design, historic furnishings, vibrant decor and overall resilience of this memorable property. Tours are arranged by the Glessner House Museum, leaving from its Visitor's Center.

Average length of visit: 1 hour
Languages: English
Admission: $10 (free on Wednesdays for groups under 10 people)
Learn More



More for travel professionals
Sign up for the monthly newsletter for travel professionals

Clarke House Museum
1827 S. Indiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-1480
Glessner House Museum
1800 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-1480
Featured Partners
Book a Trip
Find Hotels In
Check In
Check Out
Rooms
Travelers
From
To
Depart
Return
Travelers
Flying From
Find Packages In
Check In
Check Out
Rooms
Travelers

Choose Chicago on Instagram




 
33°F