Hidden cultural gems around Chicagoland

Looking for fun, cultural activities to do with the family? If you’ve already hit the Museum of Science and Industry or Shedd Aquarium more times than you can count, then you may want to try something new. Lucky for you, Chicagoland has plenty of culture waiting for you. Here are some hidden cultural gems to steer you in the right direction.

Smart Museum of Art

5550 S Greenwood Ave, Chicago,

See art with the entire family at the Smart Museum of Art located on the University of Chicago campus. The real highlight is their monthly Family Day. Stop by on the first Saturday of every month for free family activities with hands-on art activities, storytimes and tours. The art-making supplies are free!

Oriental Institute Museum

1155 East 58th Street, Chicago

Since you’re already in the area, you might as well stop by another great (and free!) U of C museum: the Oriental Institute Museum, which serves primarily as a research organization devoted to the study of the ancient Near East. Find mummies, explore the recreated Assyrian palace or stand in awe at the huge the 17ft tall statue of King Tut.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

99 Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the inner workings of the city’s most famous movable bridge, this is the museum for you. Travel five stories up and peek outside the porthole windows for awesome 360-degree views. You’ll also be able to step inside the working gear room and watch it in action.

Chicago History Museum

1601 N. Clark Street, Chicago

Learn all about our beloved city at this northside museum. Turn yourself into a giant Chicago-style hotdog, hop on the city’s first ‘L’ car or explore the city’s history through their five senses by smelling the smells you’ve learned to love (and hate) with the city.

National Museum of Mexican Art

1852 W. 19th street, Chicago

Located in Pilsen, the National Museum of Mexican Art celebrates Mexican art and culture and is home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections. Don’t miss out on trying out their various family art programs including Family Sundays which include gallery tours and the opportunity to create art together.

Cantigny Park

1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189

Where else are you able to climb on tanks, visit a couple museums and soak in the beautiful gardens? This Wheaton hot spot always has fun family events going on such as free kiddie concerts or classes. Grab a free discovery backpack for more exploration fun. They’re currently undergoing renovations so check their website for updates before visiting.

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