Overview: Chicago's Museum Campus was created in 1998 when the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were re-routed slightly west to make it... more »
Chicago's Museum Campus was created in 1998 when the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were re-routed slightly west to make it... more » possible to link three of Chicago's world-class museums—the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium—in a 57-acre lakefront park located at the south end of the Monroe Street Harbor.
Obviously, the museums are the big draw here. It's possible to spend several hours (or more) in each. But it's also possible to spend several hours strolling around this green space, enjoying the city views, watching the sailboats on Lake Michigan and admiring the outdoor sculptures that dot the area. less «
Although general admission tickets to each of the three museums are relatively affordable, if you want to see special exhibits or... more » enjoy the shows, the all-inclusive tickets start to get expensive.
If you think you might want to return for a second day, consider buying a membership to the museum. Memberships allow you access to everything and generally pay for themselves in two visits.
Or if you want to visit all of the museums, consider buying a CityPass or GoChicago card sold at the campus and at each museum. It gives you a discount entry and allows you to bypass the very long entrance lines.
The Museum Campus is easily reached by cab, CTA bus (buses 12 and 146 stop at the Museum Campus) or L (the Red, Orange and Green lines all stop at Roosevelt Road and it's a short walk east to the Museum Campus).
If you drive, go early and look for one of the coveted spots at a parking meter along Solidarity Drive. Bring plenty of quarters to feed the meters. Or park in one of the outdoor lots, but those fill up quickly too. less «
This world-class aquarium, the largest in the world, sits in the center of the Museum Campus at the edge of Lake Michigan.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium, which opened in 1930, today is home to more than 32,600 aquatic animals representing some 1,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world.
The oceanarium houses beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions and penguins.
John G. Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Additional fees charged for the oceanarium and special exhibits.
May 30-June 30
July 1-Sept. 5
This venerable museum is home to Sue, the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever discovered. Her menacing pose greets visitors the minute they enter the museum.
If you're visiting with young children, look for the Crown Family PlayLab. This just-for-kids spot is included in the general admission price. It's a place where pint-sized... More scientists can dig up dinosaur bones, harvest corn, play in a Pueblo, learn about sound and pretend they are woodland creatures.
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
Child (ages 3-11): $10
Senior (65+) and students with ID: $12
Closed Dec. 25
This is just one of many pieces of art interspersed throughout the museum campus. It is a replica of one of 17 known colossal heads created by the Olmec people who flourished in the Gulf region of Mexico from 1300 to 300 B.C.
Appropriately enough, it sits on the grounds of the Field Museum of Natural History.
This fountain and sculpture by Stephan Balkenhol was installed outside the Shedd Aquarium in 2001.
This statue harkens back to Chicago's Polish roots. It honors Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who fought in the American Revolutionary War on the side of the colonists.
This statue was first dedicated in 1904 in Humboldt Park, a neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago. It was moved to this spot and rededicated in 1978.
Another Polish war hero,... More Casimir Pulaski, is revered by Chicago public school students. They get the first Monday in March off school in honor of the Revolutionary War hero.Less
This statue honors another major ethnic group in Chicago: Czechs.
Karel Havlicek was a Czech writer, poet, critic, political dissident, journalist and publisher.
This monument by Joseph Strachovsky shows Havlicek in a revolutionary pose, dressed in a full military uniform and a draped cape with his outstretched arm motioning the viewer to join... More him. It was installed in Douglas Park in 1910 and moved to Solidarity Drive in 1981.Less
Grab a passer-by, hand over your camera, then line the family up along the shoreline for a family portrait with Chicago's skyline in the background.
If you forgot the camera, at least take a few minutes to sit and gaze across the harbor at one of the world's most imposing and recognizable skylines.
The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. It was founded and built in 1930 by the philanthropist Max Adler.
There's plenty of cutting-edge technology to see, but don't discount an old favorite: the Atwood Sphere. Chicago's oldest planetarium, it was... More built in 1913 and has 692 holes drilled through its metal surface to show the positions of the brightest stars in the night sky. The decidedly low-tech sphere is 15 feet in diameter. It accommodates only a few visitors at a time.
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Children (ages 3-11): $6
Additional fees for the sky show, special exhibits and the Atwood Sphere.
Sept. 6-June 5
June 6-Sept. 5
Northerly Island is a 91-acre man-made peninsula. The nature center that occupies the space now had a controversial beginning.
The area was envisioned as a lakefront park in the original 1909 Plan for Chicago created by Daniel Burnham, but it was converted into a private airport in the 1940s. It remained an airport until one night in 2003 when... More former Mayor Richard M. Daley, long a proponent of returning Northerly Island to its roots as a public park, sent in bulldozers overnight to carve giant Xs in the runway, stranding some private aircraft.
Today it is home to walking paths, a popular fishing spot and a concert venue as well as the 12th Street Beach swimming area.Less
There's no need to walk down to Soldier Field unless it happens to be a Sunday in the fall and the Chicago Bears are playing at home. But it is worth a look in that direction to see the modern addition plopped on top of the century-old structure. The controversial design was dubbed the "toilet bowl" by a Chicago columnist; others suggested it... More looked as though a space ship had landed on top of Soldier Field.Less
This public art installation by Magdalena Abakanowicz stands at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road, on the walk between the Museum Campus and the L platform. It consists of 106 headless figures, posed as if walking in multiple directions or standing still, frozen in time.
The city's public art guide says: "Each figure... More commands a dramatic presence on the landscape. In ancient Greece, the agora was the central meeting place in a village or city. Similarly, Magdalena Abakanowicz’s figures invite viewers to gather and become part of the artwork. Agora extends the traditions of monumental figurative sculpture, offering a contemporary expression and a reflection of our time.
"Abakanowicz donated the artwork’s design and worked with a group of Polish artists who volunteered to construct the pieces in Poznan, Poland. 'Agora' was made possible through the cooperation of the Polish Ministry
of Culture and a Polish private foundation."Less