Best Attractions For Art Lovers In Chicago

May 31, 2014 7:00 AM

Art can reveal more than quantum physics and the nightly news combined which is why we all need to look at and consider more of it. Always subjective and relative to the observer, art is abounding in this town from fantastic small museums in hip ‘hoods to hotels. Assuming every local and out-of-towner is familiar with the venerated Art Institute of Chicago and its treasures, here are a handful of other choice spots to eat your art out.
(Photo Credit: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art’s Facebook)

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
756 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 243-9088

For those who think that they’re just not interested in art, this museum, that preserves, displays and studies the work of artists who aren’t influenced by the mainstream art world and conform to nothing but a personal vision, will thrill. Established in 1991, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (Intuit) is the only nonprofit in the country that is dedicated entirely to presenting self-taught and outsider art, aka art brut, non-traditional folk art, self-taught art and visionary art. You’ll get into it and become an intuit yourself. The gift shop offers hard-to-find art books, intuitive and outsider art from all over the world, one-of-a-kind tee shirts, toys, jewelry and peculiar pieces found nowhere else in Chicago.
Chicago Artists Coalition
217 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 491-8888

Headquartered in the dynamic West Loop arts neighborhood, the Chicago Artists Coalition has been empowering local artists for more than 40 years with exhibition opportunities and advocacy. CAC presents a new exhibit monthly showcasing new work from around 35 gifted and cutting-edge visual artists who are participants in highly competitive CAC programs. The exhibits are free to the public and opening receptions are abuzz with visitors each month. Check the website for artist studio tours, opportunities to visit private collections and CAC’s annual “Starving Artist” party which pairs artists and chefs to help raise funds for CAC’s mission and programs.

(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Smart Museum of Art
5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 702-0200

Even though it is on the brainy University of Chicago campus, the museum is really named for brothers David and Alfred Smart who were the publishers of Esquire magazine. Boasting a permanent collection of over 10,000 objects, spanning five millennia of both Western and Eastern civilizations, Smart Museum highlights include Frank Lloyd Wright furniture, modern sculpture by Degas, Matisse and Rodin and 20th-century paintings and sculpture by Mark Rothko, Diego Rivera and Henry Moore. Bring young Einsteins and use the helpful Family Gallery Guide that makes exploring the collections fun.

Related: Best Shops To Buy Affordable Art In Chicago

National Museum of Mexican Art
1852 W. 19th St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 738-1503

Although everyone loves the annual Dia de Los Muertos exhibition (the largest annual Day of the Dead exhibit in the country), the National Museum of Mexican Art is just that – a national treasure with more than 7,000 objects in its permanent collection. So, it’s not just about once-per-year Dead Heads partying onto the next life. Check the website for special programs including Family Sundays, one-day workshops and art demos, then treat la familia or sus amigos to a neighborhood Mexican restaurant to complete your outing.

The Art Museo at InterContinental Chicago O’Hare
5300 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 544-5300

The next time you need to stay near the airport, consider a night at the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare for a stylish room and a veritable art museum in its halls. Walls are dotted with works by renowned Chicago artists and a new featured exhibition appears every couple of months in the hotel lobby. A recent exhibit at the Art Museo at the InterContinental Chicago O’Hare is Islands – new introspective photography by Emily Hanako Momohara. The hotel embraces a range of art including sculpture, canvas, architecture, photography and music.

Related: Best Date Ideas For Art Lovers In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at