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The Art Institute of Chicago

Architecture Appreciation in Chicago
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015.

The Art Institute of Chicago hosts the first exhibition devoted to Britain’s rising-star architect David Adjaye in September. Also in the fall, the world’s leading design talents will gather for the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

The Modern Wing
Just imagine having 264,000 square-feet of modern art at your disposal seven days a week. That is exactly what you have if you visit the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Above is but one example of the funky-cool exhibits that await you in this colossal house of creativity.

If you need a drink, a snack, or perhaps a fine-cuisine fix to recharge, you can also stop by the Terzo Piano restaurant that is located within the museum. The Modern Wing is a must-see for art lovers while visiting the Windy City.

The Lions of Chicago's Art Institute
I think these lions are as famous as any of the artwork inside The Art Institute of Chicago.

Edward Kemeys made these two bronze lions for the opening of the Art Institute in 1893 and he named them according to their stances. The southern lion is “on the prowl” while the northern lion “stands in an attitude of defiance.”

In keeping with their place as city mascots, the lions wore giant Blackhawk helmets to show their civic pride during the Stanley Cup finals and every Christmas they get decked out in pine wreaths and big red bows.

European Art at the Art Institute
Gustav Caillebotte’s Paris: A Rainy Day (above) hangs in the entrance to the European Painting and Sculpture wing of Chicago’s Art Institute. It’s the painting that stayed with me from my first visit to the Art Institute and even now when I see it, I think of Chicago.

The European wing is my very favorite floor of the Art Institute. When you go, make sure you see Claude Monet’s haystacks, Henri Toulouse-Latrec’s green faced lady dancing At the Moulin Rouge, George Seruat’s giant pointillism painting of people hanging out on the island on A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, Auguste Rodin’s fierce sculpture of the writer Balzac, Pablo Picasso’s melancholy Blue Guitarist and Pierre August Renoir’s two sisters in red hats sitting in the flowery terrace garden of Paris' Montmartre neighborhood.

The Art Institute is gigantic and you could spend days seeing everything, but the art in the European wing moves me and changes the way I see for the rest of the day.

And PS: if you're an Illinois resident you can visit for free on Thursday nights.

Amazing Museum
Wow. The last time I was here was on a high school field trip 35 years ago, and the museum has definitely grown. What an amazing collection—I could have spent days here, but I only had two hours. I followed the museum's suggested top 10, and cruised around to squeeze in as much as I could. I will definitely return the next time I am back in Chicago and have more time.

The Festive Art Institute Of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago dressed up for the holidays.

111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
+1 312-443-3600
Fri - Wed 10:30am - 5pm
Thur 10:30am - 8pm