Where to See Art in Chicagoland

If there is one thing that I have learned over my almost six years of parenting, it is that kids LOVE art. Whether they are creating it themselves (preferably some place that isn’t my nice and clean house!) or observing someone else’s colorful and fun art, kids of all ages are totally and utterly drawn to it. So the next time you hear “I’m bored” or want to spice up your typical weekend routine, take the kids to see these artistic spots in Chicagoland:

Photographed by Thomas M. Kubik | © 2015 TK Photography | www.tkphotographychicago.com

The obvious and award winning choice: The Art Institute of Chicago

There is so much for budding artists to love about the Art Institute…the sculptures, the doll houses…and of course, the Ryan Learning Center! Kids of all ages and their families can design their own creations in the Artist’s Studio inspired by collections showcased throughout the museum. Be sure to utilize the online JourneyMaker to create a map and plan for your day of artistic discovery! Children under 14 years old are free admission, and entrance to the Ryan Learning Center is free for all.


Our favorite spot for art and stories: Ed Paschke Art Center

The talented StoryBook Mom, Nili Yelin, performs her lively readings the third Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. Come for her performance but stay to check out the lively and colorful works that adorn the gallery. Admission is free.


The play space where art is at the forefront: Gather

Art is at the core of this beautiful play space in Evanston. Budding artists can contribute to the chalkboard wall, sculpt with homemade play dough, or create their own masterpieces with the ample supplies the play space provides. Be sure to check the calendar for an updated list of family friendly art inspired activities and learning opportunities.


Where to study the relationship between art and nature: Morton Arboretum Origami Exhibit

From May through October, marvel at the dozen large scale origami sculptures nestled within the beautiful landscape of the Morton Arboretum. Extension activities, such as origami folding and other family friendly fun are hosted in the Children’s Garden. Included in daily admission.


The place that helps kids realize that just about anything can be art: The Museum of Contemporary Art

Although Family Days are on hiatus until Fall 2017, there are still stroller tours and special activity kits provided to families to help them navigate the museum. Families with children under 12 years of age are free on the 2nd Saturday of each month.


Where the artist’s message is LOUD and CLEAR: Elmhurst Art Museum

Among it’s ever changing contemporary exhibits, you can enjoy the signs of love and optimism by talented artist Matthew Hoffman. Don’t miss the Skycube, my boys’ personal favorite!


And lastly…the walls around you!

Chicago has some of the best urban art…where is your favorite wall?



Where are your favorite places to see art in Chicagoland? If you are looking for a road trip, head to Milwaukee to see its stunning art museum!

Don’t forget to search “art” in the website search box in order to pull up our favorite arts and crafts activities!

Happy Creating!
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  1. Jeanette says

    I have a couple relatives that live in Chicago and I don’t think they’ve gone to check out these museums. I’m going to tell him about it because they look like a lot of fun.

  2. Joely Smith says

    Oh this is perfect timing! My aunt is traveling to Chicago in a bit and has been asking if anyone in the family knows of thigs to do there! I will send her your article!

  3. Jennifer Van Huss says

    I have never been to Chicago but always wanted to go! I never thought of Chicago as an ART city! This is a great to know! Just one more reason to visit!

  4. Pam says

    There are so many cool places to see art in Chicago. Gather sounds great for kids who love all things artsy.

  5. Mimi Green says

    This is really dope. My son does origami all the time, he would freak out over the Origami Exhibit. I need to see if we have something like that here in DC.

  6. Nancy L. says

    I didn’t realize that there were so many art museums in Chicago! Ever since I can remember I’ve had a fascination with origami. My daughter does as well. We will definitely check out the Morton Arboretum Origami Exhibit.

  7. Jeni Hawkins says

    I have always wanted to see Chicagoland! There looks like there is tons of great art and more to see here.

  8. TIm B says

    these are some really great suggestions! it has been awhile since we’ve made it to the Windy City but will keep your tips in mind on our next trip.

  9. Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms says

    I actually went on a trip to Chicago with my high school art class many years ago and we did visit some of these amazing places! I can’t wait to get back there someday and try out some of the ones you mentioned that we didn’t get to!

  10. Eloise says

    I would love to head back to Chicago some day this summer… It’ll be easier for me to do so now that a close friend moved there not too long ago! I love art and the whole creative side to it. It’s an awesome way for people to express themselves : )

  11. Kathy says

    I would love to see that someday. I’ve only been in Chicago once, maybe twice. I was never able to see the nice art work like this though.

  12. Lisa Heath says

    I love seeing art in various cities we travel to! I haven’t been to Chicago yet, but when my boyfriend and I got together 8 years ago, we spent HOURS in San Francisco looking at different art and sculptures around the city! Chicago is on our list of places to travel to, so I’ll have to make a point of showing him this!

  13. Lynndee says

    Thanks for the list. Visiting Chicago is on our bucket list so I’ll keep your recommendations in mind. Love your fam pic. I would love to have our fam pic taken there too.

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