Culture, Art and History in Chicago

With a regal Uptown perch at The Gwen, you’re enjoying unbelievable access to some of the standout museums and cultural institutions the Windy City has to offer, which happen to rank among the best in the world. From insights into local history to arresting masterpieces of international art, expand your mind and enrich your soul on a Chicago outing from The Gwen!

Here are some worthy destinations within a short trip of our Luxury Collection hotel along world-famous Michigan Avenue.

The Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Ave)

Among the largest and most venerable art museums in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago houses close to 300,000 pieces of art representing an astonishing range of eras, geographies, cultures, styles, and media. Its vast permanent collection—which include such instantly recognizable works as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks—always comes augmented by topnotch temporary exhibitions: Among this summer’s crop is John Singer Sargent & Chicago’s Gilded Age (through September 30th), a comprehensive overview of the iconic painter’s portraits and other works, and a retrospective of the groundbreaking artist Charles White (through September 3rd).

The Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave)

Celebrating a half-century of existence this year, the MCA is another superlative institution, ranking as one of the biggest museums dedicated to contemporary art on Earth. Explore signature works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and other innovators within its landmark building. Among the current exhibitions are Heaven & Earth: Alexander Calder & Jeff Koons (which runs through spring of next year), celebrating two strikingly difference artists with strong connections to the MCA; I Was Raised on the Internet (through October 14th), which probes the Internet’s profound revolution of everyday reality; and To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again, a look at Africa’s relationship with the West by Nigerian-born, Belgium-based multimedia artist Otobong Nkanga.

The National Museum of Mexican Art (1582 W. 19th St)

From pre-Columbian artifacts of Mesoamerican civilizations to works by contemporary artists, the National Museum of Mexican Artdoes an admirable job suggesting the amazing diversity of Mexico’s artistic heritage. Its current exhibitions include Arte Diseño Xicágo (through August 19th), which considers the important influence of early Mexican artists and designers on Chicago; Peeling Off the Grey (through October 7th), focused on the shifting face of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood; as well as the yearly teen-curated “Best of Yollo” showcase (through August 19th) in the courtyard gallery.

Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark St)

Needless to say, the Windy City’s history is a dramatic and multifaceted one, and there are few better places to start taking it all in than the Chicago History Museum. From remnants of Fort Dearborn (built along the Chicago River back in 1803) to President Abraham Lincoln’s deathbed, there’s some incredible stuff on display here. Don’t miss the standout trio of current temporary exhibitions: Chicago & the Great War (through November 12th), Amplified: Chicago Blues (through August 10th of next year), and Remembering Dr. King (through 2020).

DuSable Museum of African American History (740 E. 56th Pl.)

One of the nation’s most important museums dedicated to African-American history and culture, the DuSable was established back in 1961. It includes an array of permanent exhibits such as A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story, which examines the career and legacy of Chicago’s first African-American mayor and Clearing a Path for Democracy: Citizen Soldiers of the Illinois Fighting 8th, as well as temporary installations such as Rewriting History, displaying Haitian-born, NYC-based Fabiola Jean-Louis’ paper-gown sculptures and photos.

Explore Art, Culture, & History in Chicago on a Gwen Getaway

We’ve only gestured at the arts-and-culture hubs you can explore as a guest of ours at The Gwen—don’t forget our stone’s-throw proximity to the Chicago Theatre District, for example! But there’s no question that the abovementioned spots each exemplify the outstanding caliber of Chicago’s museums, which hold their own with any in the world.

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