The frosty breeze from Lake Michigan does not encourage long walks through the streets of Chicago in winter. However, there is no shortage of places where you can escape from the unpleasant weather in the Windy City. The third largest and most populous metropolis in the United States is not only a business, but also an art centre.
Chicago offers one of the most famous paintings of American art, while the Museum of Art displays a truly unique exhibit: the tyrannosaurus Sue, measuring nearly 13 meters. Needless to say, that’s not all! Here you can also discover intriguing street art and a unique holiday atmosphere that you can feel even… at the zoo.
That is the number of works at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Art Institute is the second largest museum in the United States. It is only surpassed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. One of the oldest and largest art museums in the world is famous for its exceptionally impressive collection of European paintings. You can see there works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, El Greco, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. In 2010, the facility published an application thanks to which you can learn more about Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, planned events and exhibitions, architecture, as well as the cultural context of the presented works.
It is also here, where you can see one of the most famous American paintings by Grant Wood – American Gothic. The work depicts a farmer with a pitchfork and his daughter. The artist’s models were his sister and dentist.
The Natural History Museum presents the history of our planet and life on Earth. the possibly most famous exhibit is a perfectly preserved tyrannosaurus skeleton, discovered on August 12, 1990, by Sue Hendrickson, a researcher and fossil collector. The tyrannosaurus skeleton, named Sue, was purchased by the Museum of Natural History at a public auction for a then record price of $ 8.4 million. The themes of the other exhibitions vary: from the Amazon, through ancient Egypt, to the theory of evolution and palaeontology. Surely, everyone will find something for themselves here.
What do Michelle Obama and Marilyn Monroe have in common?
The First Lady of the United States in 2009–2017 and the American actress were immortalized in murals. Michelle Obama, standing in front of the moon in traditional Korean Hanbok attire, was painted by Royyal Dog, a South Korean artist. On the other hand, Jeff Zimmermann perfectly recreated the portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol. In the Windy City, the walls are also decorated with images of Frida Kahlo, an outstanding Mexican painter, Vivian Maier, a photographer whose works became famous only after her death, or Robin Williams, an actor and comedian, awarded an Oscar for his supporting role in the film “Good Will Hunting”. As you can see, you can discover art not only in museums and galleries, but also on the street in Chicago.
For years, Chicago had been the largest Polish community centre in the world (currently this title belongs to New York). About a million people of Polish origin live here. Polish shops, theatres, foundations and institutions operate in Polish districts. The Polish Museum of America has been promoting Polish art, culture and history since 1935. In addition to exhibitions, the facility organizes library lessons, concerts, theatre performances, film screenings, workshops and lectures. The rich collections include, among others, letters written by six Polish kings – the oldest one dated 1555, Ignacy Paderewski’s piano, and the monumental 28 m² stained glass, Symbol of Reborn Poland, designed by Mieczysław Jurgielewicz in 1938 in the art deco style.
It is in the suburbs of Chicago – in the town of Winnetka – that the McCallister family home from the “Home Alone” film, extremely popular in Poland during the Christmas season, was located. However, you do not have to go to 671 Lincoln Avenue to feel a unique atmosphere. On November 26 and December 12 and 17, multicultural Christmas singing and music-making take place in the Millennium Park. On the other hand, at 50 West Washington, there is a Christmas market open for over a month (from November 19 to December 24), which offers mulled wine, roasted nuts and sparkling decorations. The illuminations can also be seen at the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in North America opened in 1886. Interestingly and extremely rare, admission to it is free. The zoo is home to, among others, polar bears, monkeys, penguins, reptiles, wild cats – a total of over 1,100 animals from around 200 species. A common oak from 1830 grows in the park, which makes it older than the Windy City founded three years later.
A museum in a festive edition
Due to the extremely interesting and varied subject matter, it is worth considering a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, which has additionally prepared an exhibition about Christmas customs and traditions from around the world. There are many more reasons to visit 5700 South Lake Shore Drive. It houses more than 2,000 exhibits in 75 exhibition halls, including the U-505, a German submarine from the Second World War, and the Pioneer Zephyr train from 1934 – the first aerodynamically shaped multiple unit reaching speeds of over 180 km/h.