The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-class art museum with some of the finest collections in the country. No matter what your tastes are — or even if you don’t know a lick about art — make sure to visit this amazing museum in the heart of downtown Chicago right next door to Millennium Park. Here are my picks for the top 10 things to see at the Art Institute of Chicago:
#1 A Sunday on La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat
Make sure to get up close to this painting so you can see the thousands of tiny dots that compose this mammoth piece. You may also recognize it from the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
#2 America Windows by Marc Chagall
Recently restored and remounted, these blue-tinted, whimsical windows will leave viewers speechless.
#3 Red and Pink Rocks and Teeth by Georgia O’Keeffe
The Art Institute has a surprising amount of O’Keeffe paintings that you’ll fall in love with.
#4 The Bedroom by Vincent van Gogh
Some of this artist’s most iconic paintings can be found at this museum. Don’t forget to see his famous Self-Portrait, too.
#5 Stack of Wheat Series by Claude Monet
This leading Impressionist painter executed a series of works depicting the same stack of wheat in a field during the years 1890-1891. I love seeing the changes in color and light from season to season.
#6 Rotating Exhibitions
The Art Institute hosts some of the best feature exhibitions in their main galleries and photography galleries. The Roy Lichtenstein Retrospective is going to be great!
#7 Woman Descending the Staircase by Gerhard Richter
You’ll think it’s a photo, but it’s really an absolutely stunning painting. Make sure to walk slowly through this room in the Modern Wing, because the range of Richter’s paintings will take the top of your head off.
#8 That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door) by Ivan Albright
This overwhelming painting by Chicago painter Ivan Albright always has a large crowd gathered around it. Don’t miss this one!
#9 The Thorn Miniature Rooms
Imagine a dollhouse painstakingly built by fine craftsmen. Kids will be fascinated by these reproductions of the interiors of 17th – 20th century palaces, cathedrals, and residences. There are other great children’s activities to explore downstairs, too.
#10 The Modern Wing
The most recent addition to the museum is a stunning example of architecture in and of itself, not even considering the hundreds of paintings housed in its galleries! Make sure to see the European Modernism galleries featuring Picasso, Cornell’s boxes, Dali, Magritte, and more on the 3rd floor, as well as the rotating film exhibits tucked in a back corner of the first floor.
To finish your day at the Art Institute, go to the exit area in the Modern Wing, walk past the coat check, take the elevator to the top floor and walk out onto the bridge. It’s a spectacular view of the skyline, and it’s a great vantage point to snap a few shots with your phone or camera. Then walk down into Millennium Park and over to “The Bean” to take some more photos with friends to commemorate your trip to the Art Institute of Chicago. You can visit their website here.