Offering exhibits on everything from ancient Egypt to the Day of the Dead, here are the city's must-see museums for locals and visitors alike.
1. Museum of Science and Industry
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Topping the list is the Museum of Science and Industry. Located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in Hyde Park, it is the most popular museum in Chicago, boasting 4.5 stars out of 1,022 reviews on Yelp. It's the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere.
The museum features many exhibits including a look into the science behind how Pixar creates its Disney movies; a hands-on mine shaft experience, where guests can learn the technology of coal mining; and an in-depth film about the story of planet Earth. Check out the website for more information and a full line of activities.
2. Chicago Architecture Center
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Next up is the Loop's Chicago Architecture Center, situated at 111 E. Wacker Drive. With 4.5 stars out of 382 reviews on Yelp, the museum and tour has proven to be a local favorite.
Aptly named, this museum looks at the past, present and future of Chicago buildings and architecture. Current exhibits include a scientific estimate of what Chicago will look like in the year 2050; the Chicago City Model Experience, which features more than 4,000 buildings and interactive elements that tell stories of the city; and Building Tall, a supersized scale model of buildings in Chicago and around the world. Visit the museum's website here for more information.
3. The Field Museum
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The Field Museum, located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving it four stars out of 1,062 reviews. Since opening in 1894, the museum says its collection has grown to nearly 40 million artifacts and specimens.
Visitors can take part in a public guided tour or talk to a DNA specialist at The Field Museum. Current exhibits include Inside Ancient Egypt, a close-up look at the daily lives of Egyptians and mummified remains; Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, an in-depth depiction about the history of Earth and its creatures; and Meteorites, a look at the history of geology in the Grainger Gallery. Visit the museum's website here to learn more about the exhibits and ticket prices.
4. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Park West is another much-loved go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 177 Yelp reviews. Head over to 2430 N. Cannon Drive to see for yourself.
This museum was established in 1857 and features collections of invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and Earth science materials. Archives and an assortment of publications can also be found here.
Current exhibitions include the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, which houses over 1,000 butterflies in a 2,700-square-foot space; Hidden Worlds, a collection of dynamic paintings and etchings from Renee Robbins; and the Dora and Diego -- Let's Explore! exhibit, based on the popular Nickelodeon show and aimed at youngsters. Check out the website here.
5. National Museum of Mexican Art
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Then there's the National Museum of Mexican Art, which has earned 4.5 stars out of 156 reviews on Yelp. You can find the museum at 1852 W. 19th St. in Pilsen.
This museum is a collection of art and culture spanning 3,000 years and has over 10,000 pieces of unique art. Current exhibits include Dia De Muertos, an area designed to inform guests about Mexico's Day of the Dead; Nuestras Historias, a showcase of the dynamic and diverse stories of Mexican identity by use of artifacts and folk art; and Peeling off the Grey, housed in a space that peels off the layers of gentrification in Pilsen. Head to the website for a complete list of events.