Art Institute of Chicago#7 in Best Things To Do in Chicago
Home to one of the country's most impressive collections of impressionist and post-impressionist art (plus works from numerous other genres), the expansive Art Institute of Chicago features more than 300,000 works from all over the world in its permanent collection. You'll find pieces created in the Byzantine era, as well as paintings done just a few decades ago. The Art Institute's exhibits also include all sorts of intriguing artifacts, from European armor to the Thorne Miniature Rooms, which showcase interior design and furnishings in Europe and America from the late 13th to early 20th centuries. In addition to the permanent collection, the Art Institute hosts traveling exhibitions covering a variety of subjects and showcasing a diverse array of artists and genres.
The Art Institute of Chicago earns high praise from recent visitors, thanks in part to its impressive collection. Art enthusiasts particularly commend the museum's impressionist collection, which features pieces from famous artists like van Gogh, Monet and Renoir.
The Art Institute of Chicago sits just south of Millennium Park and next to Grant Park in downtown Chicago. The property is easily accessible via the Adams/Wabash, Monroe and Jackson L stations, or travelers can take one of several buses to a nearby bus stop. Driving to the Art Institute is not recommended due to the limited number of parking options available within walking distance. The museum is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Thursdays, the museum stays open until 8 p.m. General admission – which includes entry to special exhibitions, participation in guided tours and access to restrooms, several eateries and a gift shop – is $25 for adults and $19 for seniors and children between 14 and 17. If you have a Go Chicago Card or a CityPASS, admission into the museum is included with your pass. Learn more about the Art Institute of Chicago's exhibits, special events and facilities by visiting the property's website.
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#1 Grant Park and Buckingham Fountain
Often referred to as "Chicago's front yard," Grant Park is a 319-acre swath of green space that starts at the eastern edge of the Loop and stretches down to the northern fringes of the Near South Side. First-time visitors should plan on spending a fair amount of time in Grant Park: This is where you'll find several of Chicago's most popular things to do, including The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium. (Millennium Park also rubs elbows with the northwest corner of Grant Park.) Baseball diamonds, flower gardens, walking paths and wide-open grassy terrain are available as well.
At the heart of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain. One of the largest fountains in the world, this tiered water feature boasts 133 jets that shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air during 20-minute choreographed displays (which take place every hour on the hour between 9 a.m. and 10:35 p.m. from April to October). At night, the fountain's performance is accompanied by lights and music.
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