You won’t need to look far to find art in Chicago. This vibrant city boasts an eclectic art scene with museums, galleries, and street art celebrating contemporary and traditional artists from varied cultures and multiple time periods. The downtown Chicago area hosts many events and art fairs throughout the year, and our boutique Club Quarters Hotels on Wacker at Michigan or in the Central Loop are perfectly situated to attend them all. If you can stir yourself from the relaxation of your hotel room, there are displays and exhibits within a short walk or a cab ride away. Use this guide to discover all of the art and soul of Chicago, and plan your stay today.
In addition to the area’s best restaurants and attractions, the Central Loop and downtown area are home to some top Chicago art galleries. Find famous works, installations by up-and-coming creatives, and celebrations of culture throughout the city. Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive experience or you want to see the institutions Chicago is known for, check out these galleries near our boutique hotels:
The Art Institute of Chicago is an award-winning, must-see art gallery less than a mile from either of our Club Quarters Hotel locations in the city. Tickets for this expansive museum gallery start at $19 per person. With more than 260,000 pieces of art, the gallery can be overwhelming, so a tour might be the best place to start. These 45-minute tours highlight well-known pieces and hidden treasures. Entry to some featured exhibitions requires an additional ticket, but these works are among the most thought-provoking and interesting in the gallery. If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Chicago, check out the Ryan Learning Center, a child-friendly area and multi-sensory experience.
The Smart Museum of Art offered by the University of Chicago is always free to visit. Its Washington Park location is about 8 miles from the downtown Club Quarters Hotel on Wacker at Michigan. This gallery offers a wealth of fine art exhibitions and commissioned artwork, and the outdoor sculpture garden features contemporary works that are a joy to view in warmer months. The Smart Museum’s collection comprises over 16,000 objects and counting.
This has been an institution of the Chicago art scene since 1967 and is one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to contemporary art. Check the museum’s calendar to catch an event during your time in Chicago. Admission is $15 for adults, and $8 for students, teachers, or seniors. Visit the MCA store for an interesting, art-inspired souvenir.
Though not a formal gallery, the public art along the Riverwalk is just as inspired as any museum exhibit. Follow the pedestrian trail just across the street from Club Quarters Hotel on Wacker at Michigan. Enjoy a variety of sculptures, architectural pieces, and installations by popular street artists, including the well-known artist, Dont Fret.
The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago is home to one of the largest Latino art collections in the US. Visit this institution of art and culture to see more than 18,000 present-day and ancient textiles, folk art, prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures, and works in other media. When planning your visit to either CQ Hotel location, add this art gallery in Chicago to your itinerary for an inspiring activity.
Chicago is known to showcase its creative side at many art events throughout the year. Annual art fairs and festivals and year-round displays offer visitors a bounty of options to look forward to. Plus, a painting or textile makes an inspired souvenir of your visit to Chicago. Mark your calendar for these upcoming art events in Chicago:
Head to Halstead Street for a gallery walk on the 2nd Friday of every month in the Chicago Arts District (CAD). This area is only 3.5 miles from Club Quarters Hotel on Wacker at Michigan, and even closer to our Central Loop property. The district encompasses several blocks of artist lofts, studios, and retail space, and more than 30 establishments welcome the public on these special evenings to view the exciting exhibits and purchase their favorite pieces.
This annual Chicago art event will be held on June 10th and 11th, 2023. To attend, head to the Old Town Triangle Historic District on Chicago’s north side near Lincoln Park, just a few miles from our CQ Hotel on Wacker at Michigan. The fair will feature displays from 220 juried artists, a garden walk, music, and food. If you’re visiting Chicago with your children, be sure to find the kids’ area for arts, crafts, and performers. A $12 donation for each adult entry is requested and admission for kids is free. The Old Town Art Fair is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday and until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Get ready for three days of art appreciation in Chicago during the Millennium Art Festival. Unfolding within blocks of the CQ Hotel on Wacker at Michigan, this lively event is easy to get to and free to attend. Shop artwork from more than 120 artisans and enjoy eats from a variety of food vendors. Listen to the live music and watch art demonstrations to make a day of it. If you’re taking advantage of the hotel’s CQ Paws Program and have your pup along, bring them to this dog-friendly event. The festival runs from July 14th to July 16th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.
For more than 25 years, Art in Wilder Park has been a family-friendly experience. The relaunch post-COVID is focused on making this Chicago art event even more inclusive and accessible with more to see and do. The park is in Elmhurst, Illinois, less than 20 miles from the downtown Club Quarters Hotels. The 2023 art fair is set for May 6th and 7th and will feature 125 artist booths, a variety of food vendors, and hands-on activities for kids. Art in Wilder Park is programmed by the Elmhurst Art Museum, another worthwhile stop in this Chicago suburb.
The Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair each fall is a can’t-miss Chicago art event that draws attendees from far and wide. The Navy Pier location is about one mile from the Club Quarters Hotel on Wacker at Michigan location, which makes an excellent home base for a fall art tour in Chicago. With 80 dealers and a projected 35,000 visitors, this large fair always features informative and interesting lectures along with loads of three-dimensional works of art, from brass, wood, and glass to clay and steel. Stay tuned for this year’s dates which are yet to be announced.
Whether you’re in Chicago for business, vacation, or a little of both, you’ll find our boutique hotels ideal for any stay – and our special offers and perks provide even more to love. With just one mile separating our Chicago Club Quarters Hotels, either destination is an ideal hub for any visitor who wants to experience the Chicago art scene. Spend your days browsing the galleries and events, and enjoy your evenings relaxing in our club living room or your comfortable suite. Book your next Chicago vacation today.
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