Chicago things to do: Six cultural highlights


A trip to Chicago on Lake Michigan in Illinois is not complete without a journey through Millennium and Grant parks, via the Bean and Buckingham Fountain, and it's best when you take a few hours to pause at the Art Institute, one of the city's great visual art institutions. It was founded in 1857 and is home to greats including Ray Johnson, Gordon Parks and Georgia O'Keeffe (and, until September 2022, Cezanne). Do not miss the Thorne Miniatures in the basement, a permanent collection of 68 tiny rooms designed and made to painstakingly tiny specification. See


xx6Chicago Six Best Chicago art and culture experiences ; text by Belinda Jackson ;
(handout image supplied via journalist, no syndication) Museum of Broadcast Communicationsmandatory credit: Museum of Broadcast Communications

Fancy a deep-dive into the world of journalism and news storytelling? This museum just beyond the State Street bridge is an homage to all forms of media, with rotating installations on topics as varied as the making of Saturday Night Live, the set of Wayne's World, and the music that fuels revolutions. You can go as deep (or not) as you'd like and there is a gift shop on the way out. See


There's some seriously wide-eyed wonder at this Lincoln Park mecca to the insect. With kid-friendly explanations and interactives, the museum is the perfect meeting ground for family fun. On weekends over the summer, the butterfly atrium plays host to Saturday morning yoga, but there's outdoor trails, exhibitions (including the taxidermy-rich Wilderness Walk) and a kids nature-inspired play centre open year round. This year marks the 165th anniversary, with ongoing events throughout 2022. See


Chicago is called America's architecture capital for a reason; it's home to some of the greatest and most formative architects the world has ever seen. Between the Bauhaus movement and the city's jagged skyline – forever planting Tribune Tower and Mies van der Rohe's vision on the urban landscape – Chicago knows how to do design. You can easily set aside the morning for the must-do Chicago Architecture Centre river tour, and then follow it up with a visit to the Centre's museum to further explore the history of the skyline and its future. Museum entry is discounted with a CAC river-tour ticket. See


xx6chicago Six Best Chicago art and culture experiences ; text by Belinda Jackson ;
(handout image supplied via journalist, no syndication) Fine Arts BuildingMandatory credit: Eric Allix Rogers

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers 

While not technically a museum, the Fine Arts Building (established in 1885 as the home of the Studebaker company, before being reimagined as the Fine Arts Building in 1898) is 10 storeys of culture, creativity and crescendos. Originally home to creatives including architect Frank Lloyd Wright and editor Francis Fisher Browne, the building now houses musicians, artists and creatives from a variety of fields. There's a great bookshop – Exile in Bookville – on the second floor, and one of the city's last manned elevators - ride it to the top and then work your way down the halls of each floor, via the Venetian Court on the fourth floor. See


Sitting unassumingly on the second floor of a downtown office building, the American Writers Museum is a living testament to the talented women and men of letters who occupy the American canon. It's a highly interactive museum, with panels and pages and typewriters to touch and experience. Down one corner, an altar to Ray Bradbury, complete with the toys he'd play with while writing. Down another, a linear history of American literary greats, from the 1600s to the present day. Set aside at least two hours. See

The writer travelled at her own expense.