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NEIGHBORHOOD TREASURES

Uncover Chicago's remarkable gems that lie downtown and beyond with this guide.

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The heart and soul of Chicago lives in our 77 vibrant neighborhoods and these neighborhoods are filled with cultural treasures. From free museums to architectural masterpieces, Chicago's neighborhoods are a must-visit for any visitor to Chicago.

 

DOWNTOWN

Charnley-Persky House (Downtown/Gold Coast, 1365 N. Astor St., Chicago, IL)

A trip to Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood is not complete without a visit to a local residence to see how Chicago's early elite lived. The Charnley-Persky house was designed by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and offers public tours of the home.

Chicago Children's Museum (Streeterville, 600 E Grand Avenue @ Navy Pier)

Chicago Children's Museum is a place where families with infants and children are encouraged to create, explore, and discover together through play. The museum features three vibrant floors of exhibits and activities that provide sensory experiences and engaging educational content focusing on literacy, science, math, visual and performing arts, and health.

Chinese American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown, 238 W. 23rd St., Chicago, IL)

The mission of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago is to promote the culture and history of Chinese Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research. The museum offers two levels of exhibition space in the heart of Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood.

Clarke House Museum (Downtown/South Loop, 1827 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago, IL)

Built in 1836 for Henry B. Clarke, the Clarke House Museum is Chicago's oldest house. The house shows what life was like for a family in Chicago during the city's formative years before the Civil War. Its fascinating history began at a time when Chicago received its city charter and much of the area was still undeveloped prairie. Tours conducted by Glessner House Museum. 

Driehaus Museum (River North, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago, IL)

Steps away from Chicago's Magnificent Mile, the Driehaus Museum offers visitors a fascinating view of one of the few remaining examples of the palatial homes erected by the wealthy of America's Gilded Age.  The galleries, elegantly furnished with period pieces selected from the Driehaus Collection, are presented in harmony with the interiors and surviving furnishings, immersing visitors in the original splendor of this late 19th-century home.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Downtown/Loop, 230 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL)

Visit the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. View rare currency and displays of millions of dollars. Detect counterfeit currency and create your own unique dollar bill featuring your portrait. All visitors receive souvenir shredded money.

Glessner House Museum (Downtown/South Loop, 1800 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL)

A National Historic Landmark, Glessner House was designed by noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1887. It remains an internationally known architectural treasure in Chicago. A radical departure from traditional Victorian architecture, the structure served as an inspiration to the young Frank Lloyd Wright and helped redefine domestic architecture.  Offering guided tours, lectures, and other special programs to interpret the themes of art, architecture, and social history which are inherent in Glessner House, the museum's collections, and the stories of its residents and neighbors during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Museum of Broadcast Communications (River North, 360 N. State St., Chicago, IL)

The mission of the Museum of Broadcast Communications is to collect, preserve and present historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educate, inform & entertain the public through its archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications & online access to its resources.

Museum of Contemporary Art (Streeterville, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL)

One of the nation's largest facilities devoted to the art of our time, the MCA offers exhibitions of the most thought-provoking art created since 1945 and documents contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance.

Pritzker Military Museum & Library (Downtown/Loop, 104 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL)

Across the street from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pritzker Military Library is open to the public with live events and a collection of books, films, and gallery exhibits that tell the story of the Citizen Soldier in American military history.

Spertus Institute (South Loop, 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL)

Chicago's Jewish education and cultural center offers an innovative array of public programming, including exhibits, performances, films, and lectures. The institute collects, preserves, and displays materials from the Jewish experience. Art from the institute's collection is showcased throughout the building and temporary exhibits examine aspects of Jewish culture.

 

NORTH

Chicago History Museum (Lincoln Park, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL)

If you live in Chicago or are visiting and are curious about the city's past, present, and future, the Museum should be your first stop. The Chicago History Museum cares for, showcases, and interprets millions of authentic pieces of Chicago and U.S. history.

DANK Haus German American Cultural Center (Lincoln Square, 4740 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL)

Founded in 1959, DANK stands for Deutsch Amerikanischer National Kongress. Best known as the DANK Haus, it promotes German American language and culture for all to enjoy. Its mission is to preserve and promote German culture, heritage, and language through activities including, but not limited to, maintaining a center consisting of a museum, art gallery, library, and language school, and organizing educational and social programming focusing on and emphasizing the history, traditions, and contributions of Germans and German Americans.

International Museum of Surgical Science (Lincoln Park, 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL)

Housed in a historic mansion on Lake Shore Drive, the International Museum of Surgical Science spans the history of surgery by means of art, books, medical instruments and artifacts. The Museum's collections and exhibitions portray the mysteries, breakthroughs, failures, and milestones that have shaped modern surgical science. Of special interest to those in the medical field, thei collection appeals to anyone interested in history, science, architecture, or classical and contemporary art.

National Veterans Art Museum (Portage Park, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL)

The National Veterans Art Museum inspires greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (Lincoln Park, 2430 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago, IL)

Inspiring people to learn about and care for nature and the environment through a unique indoor/outdoor experience. Touch live animals, learn about food's life cycle and let your imagination go in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven.

Swedish American Museum (Andersonville, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL)

Established in 1976, the Swedish American Museum is a bustling center of Swedish art, history, and culture. A full program of exhibits, programs, and events keeps the building humming with activity seven days a week. The Museum is located in Andersonville, Chicago's historically Swedish neighborhood, which is now a mosaic of multiethnic shops and restaurants.

 

SOUTH

DuSable Museum of African American History (Hyde Park, 740 E. 56th Pl., Chicago, IL)

The nation's first independent museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and study of the history and culture of Africans and Americans of African descent. Exhibits, concerts, films, children's events and literary discussions are just a few of the institution's various programs offered.

Hyde Park Art Center (Hyde Park, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago, IL)

The Hyde Park Art Center it is the oldest alternative exhibition space in Chicago for showcasing boundary-pushing contemporary art, while also maintaining the approachable, friendly character of a community-based art organization. The Art Center continues this tradition of ingenuity to this day and in recent years has presented the first solo exhibitions of contemporary artists like Juan Angel Chavez, Theaster Gates, and Kelly Kaczinski.

Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (Hyde Park, 1155 E. 58th St., Chicago, IL)

The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the ancient Near East. The museum displays objects recovered by Oriental Institute excavations in permanent galleries devoted to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo, as well as rotating special exhibits. Admission is free.  

The Renaissance Society, The University of Chicago (Hyde Park, 5811 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL)

Founded in 1915, The Society's mission is to encourage the growth and understanding of contemporary art through exhibitions, publications, and events. The Society presents art seldom seen in the Midwest, giving the public opportunities to investigate the most recent developments in contemporary art.

Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago (Hyde Park, 5550 S. Greenwood Ave., Chicago, IL)

As the fine arts museum of the University of Chicago, the Smart Museum is home to thought-provoking exhibitions and an exquisite collection of ancient, modern, and contemporary art from across the globe. Admission is always free.

 

WEST

Jane Addams Hull House Museum (Little Italy/University Village, 800 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL)

The Jane Addams Hull-House Museum serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and her colleagues whose work changed the lives of their immigrant neighbors as well as national and international public policy. The Museum is located in two of the original settlement house buildings, the Hull Home, a National Historic Landmark, and the Residents' Dining Hall, a beautiful Arts and Crafts building that has welcomed some of the world's most important thinkers, artists and activists.

National Hellenic Museum (Greektown, 333 S. Halsted St., Chicago, IL)

The National Hellenic Museum is America's only national institution that interprets the American experience through the history of Greek immigrants, and the contributions of Greek Americans to the American mosaic, while celebrating their rich Greek history and culture and the profound impact of their Hellenic heritage upon the world.

National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (Little Italy/University Village, 1431 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL)

There are over 230 inductees enshrined in the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in the heart of the Little Italy neighborhood in Chicago. In 27 years, the collection of sports memorabilia the Hall has amassed is second to none. The priceless artifacts include Mario Andretti's Indy 500 racecar, Rocky Marciano's first heavyweight championship belt, Vince Lombardi's last coat worn as coach of the Green Bay Packers, and swimmer Matt Biondi's Olympic Gold Medals.

National Museum of Mexican Art (Pilsen, 1852 W. 19th St., Chicago, IL)

One of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States.  Home to one of the country's largest Mexican art collections, including more than 7,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present.

The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (Humboldt Park, 3015 W. Division St., Chicago, IL)

Founded in 2001 by members of Chicago's Puerto Rican community and local supporters of arts and culture, The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture serves as a one-of-a-kind institution that celebrates the best of Puerto Rico's identity and heritage. Since its inception, the museum has offered a variety of quality community arts and cultural programming, including visual art exhibitions, hands-on community arts workshops, films in the park and an annual outdoor fine arts and crafts festival.

Polish Museum of America (Ukrainian Village, 984 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL)

Located near the historic center of the first Polish Community in Chicago, the Polish Museum of America is one of the largest and oldest ethnic museums in the United States. Founded in 1935 and opened in 1937, the museum is made up of three parts - the library, the archives and the museum itself. A large part of the exhibits focus on the history of the Poles in America, starting with the heroes of two countries, Pulaski and Kosciuszko, who volunteered to serve the American cause during the Revolutionary War.  An entire room of the museum is dedicated to the great Maestro Ignace Jan Paderewski who fought for the struggle for Polish Independence and freedom.

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (Ukrainian Village, 2320 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL)

The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) preserves and promotes contemporary art as a shared expression of the Ukrainian and American experience. UIMA develops, utilizes and encourages artistic talent through exhibitions, concerts, readings, lectures and films to serve the cultural needs of our community and city, and thereby strengthen cultural understanding and diversity.

Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago (Ukrainian Village, 2249 W. Superior St., Chicago, IL)

Discover Ukraine's rich culture through colorful Easter eggs, ceramics, costumes, intricate embroidery, and religious artifacts. Learn about the Ukrainian Genocide Famine and the Chernobyl disaster in the heart of Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

 

For more neighborhood finds, visit our online Chicago neighborhood guide.  


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