Chicago's Museum Campus, with its natural history museum, aquarium and planetarium

Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, puts culture at the top of its priorities. Here, museums, exhibition halls and theatres attract large numbers of locals and tourists alike.

Among the most remarkable structures are the following two: The Field Museum of Natural History and the John G. Shedd Aquarium. These are complemented by the Adler Planetarium, also known as the Museum Campus.

Chicago, the city of excess, is home to these three remarkable tourist attractions. The numbers are staggering: over 20 hectares of exhibition space, dozens of events that change with the seasons and thousands of amazed visitors...

Head for the South Loop, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Put on your most comfortable shoes. You're going to be walking for miles. But it's worth it, the surprise and wonder are there for the taking.

Entrance to the Field Museum in Chicago

Entrance to the Field Museum in Chicago

- © Sergii Figurnyi / Shutterstock

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago's natural history museum

The Field Museum of Natural History is a museum devoted entirely to the evolution of life on earth. It displays its incredible riches on 3 levels.

Its remarkable collection puts it on a par with the New York Museum of Natural History. As soon as you enter, you'll be greeted by the world's largest reconstruction of a tyrannosaurus rex!

Among the various dioramas and displays on offer at the Field Museum of Natural History are the North American Indian Gallery, the discovery of Africa and the evolution of the planet.

The museum also has a shop where natural science buffs will be delighted!

Tyrannosaurus skeleton at the Field Museum in Chicago

Tyrannosaurus skeleton at the Field Museum in Chicago

- © Vlad G / Shutterstock

Discover the riches of the oceans with the whole family at the Shedd Aquarium!

The Shedd Aquarium is a vast complex where you can observe whales, dolphins, penguins and many kinds of sharks! It's an ideal family destination, and children will be delighted.

As an added bonus, almost every underwater ecosystem in the world is represented. No fewer than 8,000 animals are on display in specially adapted structures where attention to detail is pushed to the limit.

Special mention should be made of the coral reef and its countless inhabitants, as well as the oceanorium. The latter is a reconstitution of the North Pacific Ocean. Seals and whales populate its waters, offering a unique spectacle.

In addition to the classic visit, you can watch animal shows and 4D films.

View of Lake Michigan and the city of Chicago, with the Shedd Aquarium in the foreground

View of Lake Michigan and the city of Chicago, with the Shedd Aquarium in the foreground

- © Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum: your head in the stars!

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum is the perfect destination for space lovers! In addition to its powerful telescopes, the museum offers exhibitions and videos on the theme of stars and space.

This is the oldest observatory on the American continent. Its remarkable dome has faced downtown Chicago since 1930.

Children are not forgotten here either, with interactive experiments on the programme!

Finally, thanks to its lakeside location, the Planetarium offers stunning views of Chicago and its Skyline.

Entrance to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago

Entrance to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago

- © Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock

Where to stay near the Chicago Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium?

The Sonder South Wabash apartment hotel offers suites that are ideal for families and friends. The city's main attractions are within easy reach, including the Museum Campus.

Each suite includes a living room, bedroom and en suite bathroom. The accommodation also features a microwave, dishwasher, oven and coffee machine.

The building also features a fitness centre.

Sonder South Wabash Chicago
Booking.com

Sonder South Wabash

Bright room in the city centre with free luggage storage.
8.5 Very good
From
£182 / night
Book

Practical information

👉 When should you go to Chicago to discover the Field Museum of Natural History, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium?

You can come all year round. Temporary exhibitions are held at the Field Museum in particular. Programmes are available on the websites of each museum.

How do I get to the Museum Campus area in Chicago?

The South Loop area is very well served and linked to the rest of the city, particularly by public transport.

Train, metro and bus services form an efficient network. Museum Campus Station is a train stop ideally located just a few steps from the museums.

There are preferential fares for travel on the various transport lines in this part of the city. The Chicago Transit Authority coordinates the bus and metro networks.

A number of underground car parks complete the range of options for accessing these major tourist sites.

👉 Admission and opening times :

  • Field Museum of Natural History open every day from 9am to 5pm, admission charge reduced rate for children.

  • Shedd Aquarium is open daily from 9am to 5pm from September to May and until 6pm in summer from June to August, paying admission at a reduced rate for children.

  • Adler Planetarium is open daily from 10am to 4pm from September to May, and from 9.30am to 6pm from June to August, with reduced admission for children.

by Editorial Team
Need a hand? take a look at our guide
Chicago
Chicago
Latest news
Milan
Stop off at La Scala, Milan's opera house
Lyon
Lyon: the cradle of cinema
Marrakech
The Majorelle Garden, an infinitely blue Eden
Read more articles
Best cities