- Art Institute of Chicago: A must-see for art lovers, the Art Institute manages to combine blockbuster exhibits with smaller, uncrowded spaces for private meditation. Internationally known for its French Impressionist collection, the Art Institute can also transport you to Renaissance Italy, ancient China, or the world of the Old Masters. The dazzling, light-filled Modern Wing, added in 2009, has also given the museum's 20th-century modern art collection the setting it deserves.
- Field Museum of Natural History: The grand neoclassical entrance hall will make you feel as if you've entered somewhere important, a sense of drama only enhanced by the towering figure of Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever uncovered. The Field can easily entertain for an entire day. Exhibits include ancient Egyptian mummies, a full-size Maori Meeting House, and stuffed figures of the notorious man-eating lions of Tsavo.
- John G. Shedd Aquarium: Sure, you'll find plenty of tanks filled with exotic fish, but the Shedd is also home to some wonderful large-scale re-creations of natural habitats. Stroll through Wild Reef, and you'll see sharks swim overhead. The lovely Oceanarium, where you can watch a dolphin show, features floor-to-ceiling windows; you'll feel as if you're sitting outdoors, even on the chilliest Chicago day.
- Museum of Science and Industry: Families can easily spend an entire day at this sprawling museum and still not see everything. Although the exhibits promote scientific knowledge, most have an interactive element that keeps kids engaged. But it's not all computers and technology. Some of the classic exhibits — the underground re-creation of the coal mine and the World War II German U-boat — have been drawing visitors for generations.
- Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio: The Midwest's greatest architect started out in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, and his house — now a museum with guided tours — gives a firsthand look at how his ideas developed and influenced American architecture. The surrounding neighborhood, where Wright's Prairie-style homes sit side by side with rambling Victorian villas, is an eye-opening lesson in architectural history.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.