Neighborhood treasures

Neighborhood treasures

The heart and soul of Chicago lives in our 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.  Here’s a must-see itinerary for groups who want to experience Chicago neighborhoods.

Downtown/Loop

Charnley-Persky House
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. 1365 N. Astor St., Gold Coast

Chicago Children’s Museum
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. 600 E Grand Ave., Streeterville

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

Clarke House Museum
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. 1827 S. Indiana Ave., South Loop 

Driehaus Museum
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. 40 E. Erie St., River North

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
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 230 S. LaSalle St., Loop

Glessner House Museum
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. 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.  1800 S. Prairie Ave., South Loop

International Museum of Surgical Science
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, the collection appeals to anyone interested in history, science, architecture, or classical and contemporary art. 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive, Gold Coast

Museum of Broadcast Communications
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. 360 N. State St., River North

Museum of Contemporary Art
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. 220 E. Chicago Ave., Streeterville

Pritzker Military Museum & Library
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. 104 S. Michigan Ave., Loop

Spertus Institute
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. 610 S. Michigan Ave., South Loop

North

Chicago History Museum
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. 1601 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park

DANK Haus German American Cultural Center
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. 4740 N. Western Ave., Lincoln Square

National Veterans Art Museum
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. 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., Portage Park

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
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.  2430 N. Cannon Drive, Lincoln Park

Swedish American Museum
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 international shops and restaurants. 5211 N. Clark St., Andersonville

South

DuSable Museum of African American History
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. 740 E. 56th Place,  Hyde Park

Hyde Park Art Center 
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. 5020 S. Cornell Ave., Hyde Park

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

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

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

West

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
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. 800 S. Halsted St., Little Italy/University Village

National Hellenic Museum
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. 333 S. Halsted St., West Loop

National Museum of Mexican Art
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. 1852 W. 19th St., Pilsen

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

Polish Museum of America
Located near the historic center of the first Polish Community in Chicago, the Polish Museum of America is one of the largest and oldest cultural heritage 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. 984 N. Milwaukee Ave., West Town

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art
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.  2320 W. Chicago Ave., West Town

Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago
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.  2249 W. Superior St., West Town

For more neighborhood finds, visit our Chicago neighborhood guide.

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