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Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is conveniently located near the city’s top museums. The Art Institute of Chicago leads the pack; it’s the second-largest art museum in the U.S. at approximately 1.2 million square feet. While it’s well-known for its Impressionist works, the Art Institute carries quarter of a million pieces in its permanent collection. Don’t miss world-famous works such as American Gothic, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte and Nighthawks. If you plan on spending the day wandering its halls (which is pretty easy to do), take a break at one of the several on-site restaurants. The Garden Café, Café Moderno, North Garden Bistro and McKinlock Court Small Plates are all relatively casual, with salads, panini and soups. We recommend the more upscale Terzo Piano, headed by Spiaggia celebrity chef Tony Mantuano. It features authentic Italian fare with local, organic and sustainable ingredients.
If you don’t get your fill of modern work in the Art Institute’s new Modern Wing, head to the Museum of Contemporary Art (located between Lake Michigan and the Water Tower). Its 2,345-piece permanent collection includes work by fluorescent light installation artist Dan Flavin and sculptor-printmaker Lee Bontecou. Despite the museum’s large size, you can get through it in about an hour or two and still have time for a bite at its café, operated by chef Wolfgang Puck of Spago fame. MCA’s location also puts you right near Michigan Avenue, just in case you want to indulge in a bit of shopping before heading back to the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel.
A more family friendly option is the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. More than 75 butterfly species flutter about in the flower-filled, 2,700-square-foot Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, and the interactive “River Works” is a favorite among younger patrons, who squeal as they splash around the exhibit’s mini waterways. The museum features outside gardens where you can walk around and explore, and from November to April, it houses the Green City Market, Chicago’s best farmers market (from May to October, the market goes outdoors in Lincoln Park, right in front of the museum).
Another popular kiddie stop is the Field Museum in the South Loop. Its biggest attraction (quite literally) is Sue, the 42-foot-tall, 13-foot-high Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. Aside from being the largest of its kind, Sue is the most-complete, best-preserved T. rex ever discovered. Mom will want to stop in at the Grainger Hall of Gems to see sparkling rare jewels, gold objects and designer creations (don’t miss the collection from Tiffany & Co. — some of the coveted baubles date back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition). Throughout the year, the Chicago museum hosts various traveling exhibits (but entry to these limited engagements usually will cost you extra).
With its central location, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is in the midst of it all. No international city is complete without world-class museums and Chicago does not fall short. In 1998, the city officially opened Museum Campus, a 10-acre lakefront park that surrounds three of the city’s most prestigious museums: The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. Museum Campus is connected to the southern portion of Grant Park, which also includes the renowned Art Institute of Chicago and its impressive new Modern Wing. Also nearby is the Museum of Science and Industry — a great choice for families with inquisitive children.
Other smaller, but equally impressive museums abound in Chicago. Across the street from the hotel, guests will find the incredible Museum of Broadcast Communications. Home to the only Radio Hall of Fame in the country, it is full of other gems like Oprah’s famous set and the video cameras used to film the original presidential debate in 1960.
The University of Chicago Oriental Institute has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. The Chicago History Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Polish Museum of America, and the Museum of Broadcast Communications all contribute to Chicago’s rich museum culture. Many of these museums offer extended hours through the summer months and have active programming on that make the museums more interactive.