Chicago is home to many world-class museums that you've probably already checked off your bucket list. Chicago also has dozens of museums that you might not have heard of! We've rounded up some of the best Chicago museums for kids and families that you can add to a new bucket list to check out this winter.
See what matches up with your little ones' interests, or find something completely new and different! From museums that specialize in military history to cultures to Chicago trains and trolleys, you're sure to find something that your family will enjoy. And you can find even more awesome museums right here! .
Bronzeville Children's Museum
9301 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago
The Bronzeville Children's Museum aims to educate and expose all children to the rich culture and heritage of African-Americans and people of Africa and its diaspora through activities, interactive exhibits and programs. Kids can learn about healthy eating in the "You Are What You Eat" tour, learn about African American inventors, get hands-on play experience in the Jewel exhibit and more.
Chicago Maritime Museum
1200 West 35th Street, River Level, Chicago
The museum offers visitors a chronological walk through local maritime history including the eras of French fur traders, sail and steam-powered vessels, modern commercial Great Lakes frigates, recreational sailing and the Ralph and Rita Frese Canoe Collection.
The Insect Asylum
2870 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
The Insect Asylum provides a safe and sensory sensitive space for you to use your eyes, hands and hearts to fall in love with the wonders of our world. The collection has been hand selected and curated by Nina Salem, who has privately sourced every piece of the collection through ethical and legitimate means. The vast majority of the collection is antique, with insects dating back to 1910.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
9603 Woods Drive, Skokie
Illinois Holocaust Museum’s collection consists of over 20,000 items formerly belonging to Holocaust victims and Survivors. These precious artifacts were donated by individuals living in the Midwest who directly experienced the Holocaust. The Museum, as custodians of these items, uses them to tell the stories of our local Survivor community.
Illinois Railway Museum
7000 Olson Road, Union
Originally formed to preserve one important piece of rolling stock, the museum has evolved into an educational and historic preservation organization recreating possibly the largest operating demonstration railroad showcase on the North American continent.
American Indian Center of Chicago
3401 West Ainslie Street, Chicago
The American Indian Center of Chicago (AIC) promotes fellowship among Indian people of all Tribes living in metropolitan Chicago, and creates bonds of understanding and communication between Indians and non-Indians in this city. AIC focuses on the arts by offering workshops such as drum making, moccasin making, and also by housing the first and only art gallery space dedicated to the promotion and education of Native artists in the city of Chicago. AIC runs a year round education program for youth that provides culturally based after school and summer programming for youth of all ages.
Aurora Regional Fire Museum
53 N. Broadway, Aurora
Preserving the history of firefighting in Aurora and the region. The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits designed to educate and engage children, families, and firefighters, and provides tours and a variety of family-friendly educational programs.
American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Avenue 2nd Floor, Chicago
Dive into a world of discovery! The American Writers Museum’s permanent exhibits take visitors on a journey through the American story, from the perspective of the writers. They introduce you to great writing in all genres, illustrating how writing influences our history and culture, and spotlighting the beauty and visceral impact of great writing.
Oriental Institute Museum
1155 East 58th Street, Chicago
The Oriental Institute Museum is a showcase of the history, art and archaeology of the ancient Near East. An integral part of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, which has supported research and archaeological excavation in the Near East since 1919, the Museum exhibits major collections of antiquities from Egypt, Nubia, Mesopotamia, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Anatolia. The museum also hosts education events for students and families.
The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
99 Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago
The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore a historic landmark bridgehouse. At river level, visitors can view the massive gears of Chicago’s most famous movable bridge and then journey through time as they experience the story of the Chicago River. Once at the top of the Bridgehouse, visitors are treated to magnificent 360 degree views of the city and river, and will gain a whole new perspective on the beauty and complexity that is Chicago.
Ukrainian National Museum
2249 W. Superior St., Chicago
The Museum Collection includes 1,140 artifacts, Traditional Folk Arts, Agricultural Tools, Artwork, Musical Instruments, Trophies and Miscellaneous Artifacts. The Archives include material about Ukrainian communities, particularly in Chicago Ukrainian Performance Groups, National Youth Chapters, Veteran and Fraternal Organizations, Local Church Archives, 1933 Chicago World’s Fair Memorabilia, Personal Manuscripts of Civic Leaders & Large Photographic Collection Archival.
The Little White School Museum
72 Polk Street, Oswego
The Little White School Museum holds the rich history of the community and reflects the spirit of its early residents. Built as a church in 1850, then used as a school until the mid 1960's, the building is now owned by the Oswegoland Park District. The Oswegoland Heritage Association operates the museum which is open to the public and is an archive of local Oswegoland history.
Clarke House Museum
1827 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago
Chicago's oldest "domestic" structure and Chicago History Museum, Clarke House, is now open to the "public. Tours of the 1836 Greek Revival-Style house reveal what life was like for a middle class family in Chicago before the Civil War.
Pritzker Military Museum and Library
104 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
Pritzker Military Museum & Library hosts a range of events — including lectures with distinguished authors and military personnel, movie screenings, and family programs. In addition to events, the Museum & Library showcases a variety of military artifacts and regalia in its rotating and permanent Museum exhibits.
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
1220 Kensington Road, Oak Brook
Lapidary is the art of cutting and polishing stone. People of all ages are amazed at the incredible diversity of stone. The upper level of the Museum displays a large selection of Chinese jade and hard stone carvings from around the world. The Rock & Mineral Experience presents lapidary materials and earth science phenomena. The building itself is designed to resemble a jewel box in a park setting.