Landmarks, photography, waterfront theatre, history-makers and more - Chicago never fails to impress and surprise.
Experience creations by local artists and photographers in one of Chicago's most famous landmarks when you stop by the always-free City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower. The tower, built in 1869, is one of the few buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire. Immerse yourself in the local community when you peruse works at Hyde Park Arts Center (pictured above), Chicago's oldest alternative exhibition space or Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, where a collection of carefully curated found objects brings the outside inside.
Meanwhile, newcomer Stony Island Arts Bank recently unveiled its $4.5 million renovation of a once-dilapidated 1920s savings and loan bank, seamlessly fusing elements of a library, cultural center and contemporary art gallery within one neoclassical-style landmark.
If you've ever been awestruck by Chicago's massive moveable bridges, you won't want to miss the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, where you can learn about the fascinating history of the Chicago River and take in panoramic city views from the fifth floor tower. Go on Sundays for free admission and check the bridge lift schedule to see the inner workings of these engineering marvels in action.
Or, get a glimpse of Chicago in a whole new way when you survey the landscape of the 3D Chicago Model: the world's largest, most complete replica of the downtown Loop area. Located in the Railway Exchange Building - the hub of the Chicago Architecture Foundation's 85 tours - this 320-square-foot model represents more than 1,000 buildings across 400 blocks.
Riveting photographs, historical exhibits, exceptional artifacts and an extensive collection of rare books are the draw at Pritzker Military Museum & Library, where you can glimpse items spanning the centuries - from the American Revolutionary War to modern day conflicts. Meanwhile, visit the home and workspace of the first American woman to earn a Nobel Peace Prize at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (pictured above, courtesy Adam Alexander). Founded as a social settlement in 1889, this space welcomed vital thinkers and activists that impacted cultural, political and social issues right here in Chicago.
MALL PIT STOPS
It's "Game On!" at the interactive Chicago Sports Museum, which commemorates the world of sports using simulated experiences, relics and stats. Combining hi-energy entertainment with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, the Chicago Sports Museum offers exciting interactive experiences, a vast collection of unique sports memorabilia and an impressive display of game-used treasures and artifacts.
Foodseum is Chicago's first nonprofit food museum. That's right, a physical space dedicated to providing an educational journey through the history, people and farm-to-table transformation of specific food types. Celebrate international flavors and innovative uses of that food type and discover your own personal culinary adventure.
The Chicago Design Museum features exhibitions, tours, public and private programs, digital media, and workshops that are free and open to the public on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12 to 7 p.m.