These Are The Best Spots For Art Lovers Visiting Chicago This Summer

Chicago is a dream come true for lovers of arts and culture. It’s always been one of my favorite places to spend a long weekend in the United States. Located on the shores of one of the largest lakes in the world, Lake Michigan, it’s a melting pot of historic buildings and iconic contemporary architecture. More than 2.5 million people call Chicago home, and among them are incredibly talented creatives who are the beating heart of the vibrant city. 

Over the years, I’ve traveled to Chicago countless times, usually to see live music, and each time I visit, I find new and surprising public art displays. From the Gold Coast’s opulence to Old Town’s historic charm, there are endless ways to stay busy in the Windy City, but don’t skip out on experiencing some of the iconic art and cultural attractions during your next visit. 

Chicago’s Art Museums 

The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the top-rated art schools in the world. It’s been around for over 155 years and has been attended by countless visionary creatives. Students can choose to study painting, sculpture, fashion design, ceramics, creative writing, and more. The Art Institute of Chicago is also home to one of the nation’s most incredible art museums. Over 300,000 pieces are showcased in the expansive museum, representing various eras. The oldest items on display date back thousands of years. 

The Art Institute of Chicago

Some of the most famous pieces you can check out during your visit include American Gothic by Grant Wood, The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso, The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai, Water Lilies by Claude Monet, Sky Above Clouds IV by Georgia O’Keeffe, and Liz by Andy Warhol – just to name a few. I could spend hours wandering through this museum, but you can see some of the highlights in as little as an hour if you’re pressed for time. The museum is open Friday through Monday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Thursday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Adult admission costs $32. 

The Museum of Contemporary Art is another must-visit spot for art lovers. It’s one of the largest museums dedicated to showcasing current artists. It is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the ideas of modern-day creatives and their expressions of current world events, politics, and culture. The museum was founded in 1966 and features an amazing permanent collection of contemporary art as well as interesting rotating exhibits that feature some of the most iconic artists of our time. 

The National Museum of Mexican Art is located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and highlights the work of Mexican, Latino, and Chicago artists. The museum features an impressive permanent collection spanning more than 3,000 years and rotating exhibits. 

Street Art in Chicago

Eyeball Statue

In addition to the many fantastic museums and galleries throughout the city, Chicago is home to some incredible street art. In almost every neighborhood around the city, you’ll find amazing public art displays, like the famous Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park, that are free to visit and accessible to everyone. Graffiti first began appearing around Chicago in the 1960’s and 70’s, and over the years, the movement quickly grew to include intricate displays that have become some of Chicago’s beloved artistic and cultural offerings. The city has largely embraced street art, and epic murals can be found in even the most upscale neighborhoods. 

Is Chicago Safe? Travel Advisory 2023
Millennium Park

The Pilsen neighborhood has been a hub for street art for decades and is known for its Mexican cultural heritage. Many artists call the area home, and the streets are scattered with studios and galleries. You’ll see murals on the sides of homes and buildings, but the most breathtaking display stretches along 16th Street from Halsted Street to Western Avenue along the railroad embankment. You can walk along the sidewalk for about two miles to see a variety of works from local and international artists.

The Wabash Quarter is home to some of the largest-scale murals in the city, some of which ascend to the tops of ten-story buildings. The Wabash Arts Corridor is an initiative by Colombia Arts College that began in 2013 and has transformed the business district into an artistic masterpiece. The murals in this area are called Big Walls. Some of the most famous murals include Doom to Bloom by Collin van der Sluijs, Muddy Waters Mural by Eduardo Kobra, and Make Your Own Luck by ASVP. To see them all, download the WAC map. 


Of course, no street art tour of Chicago is complete without a visit to the Logan Square/Wicker Park neighborhood, where you can snap some selfies next to the iconic Greetings from Chicago mural. Humboldt Park is home to even more art, such as The Party by Jeff Zimmerman, a political commentary on the immigrant experience. In Rogers Park, you can check out the Mile of Murals art initiative, which has over 14,000 square feet of public art displays.