Best Local: Navigating The Chicago Art Scene

Calling all beret-wearers! It’s time to get artsy-fartsy

You know those depressingly bland reproductions of dull landscape paintings in doctors’ offices? Yeah, that’s not art. Allow the cultural mecca of Chicago to introduce you to what fine art is actually supposed to be. Hint: it does not include stuffy waiting rooms or filling out paperwork about your medical history.


If You’re Staying At Presidential Towers:

There is art to be admired in every single last neighborhood of this great city, but none of them is blowing up quite like Pilsen. And we have no one to thank but the strong art community taking charge down there. The Chicago Arts District in the Pilsen neighborhood, just west of the South Loop, includes handfuls of great galleries exposing innovative, up-and-coming talent from the area and beyond.

Get There: Get on the 8 Bus headed toward 79th at Halsted and Madison. Get off at Halsted and 18th St. Commute Time: 20 minutes


If You’re Staying At Columbus Plaza:

If you want to feel like a tourist, walk on down to the Art Institute of Chicago. World-renowned, spectacularly well kept, etc., etc., blah blah blah. We’re not bashing it, but we’re here to help you feel like a local. And when the locals want fascinating art in a world-class museum, they go to the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Wacker Dr.). If you want cutting-edge, globally appreciated artwork, this is your ticket. Sometimes in the art world the weirder it is, the better.

Get There: Get on the 3 Bus headed toward Michigan/Chicago at Michigan and E. Wacker. Get off at Chicago and Mies Van Der Rohe and walk east down E. Chicago Ave. Commute Time: 12 minutes


If You’re Staying At The Iroquois Club in Naperville:

Don’t think the suburbs don’t know how to twirl a paintbrush too. The Naperville Art League Fine Art Center & Gallery (508 N. Center St.) has supported local artists since its 1961 inception. This space lets you learn about, talk about, and appreciate the fine-tuned skills of suburban artists. The gallery changes themes monthly and even offers demos, classes and workshops. Go ahead and get your hands dirty.

Get There: Drive east down Iroquois Ave. and take a right onto E. Ogden Ave. Turn left onto N. Center St. Commute Time: 5 minutes


The list of Chicago art galleries and exhibitions is almost literally endless, but we’ve compiled a solid starting point for you. Not get out and gaze at something beautiful. After all, “Earth” without “art” is just… “eh.”