Have some art-loving little kids? You should definitely take a family trip to the Windy City! Chicago is, as a general rule, a great place to travel for the whole family. But for art lovers and future Picassos? It’s a must-see.

From world-class museums to fascinating public art to free drop-in classes, Chicago will keep your young art lovers entertained for days. Here are some of the coolest places to visit with your mini-Matisse.

Art Institute of Chicago

"Restless Rainbow " by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC 2.0.

Restless Rainbow ” by Phil Roeder is licensed under CC 2.0.

The Art Institute of Chicago is as accessible and impressive to kids as it is to adults, thanks to their excellent family programming. AIC offers a variety of art-making activities, special children’s exhibitions, and family gallery tours to ensure that young people are just as involved in visiting the museum as their older family members.

The museum’s Artist Studio programs are designed for children of all ages and relate thematically to works in the museum. Mini Masters Workshops are led by museum educators who use a variety of techniques to teach kids about the museum’s collections, including stories from picture books, games, experimentation with different art materials, and guided gallery visits.

I can speak from personal experience on this one—one of the most unforgettable arts experiences I had as a child was here at AIC. My parents took me to see the stained glass windows by French artist Marc Chagall, and it’s stayed with me ever since. Why not leave a lasting artistic impression on your little one?

Check out what’s happening at the museum while you’re in town, and don’t forget—admission for visitors younger than 14 is free. Score!

Millennium Park

"Cloud Gate" by Bernt Rostad is licensed under CC 2.0.

Cloud Gate” by Bernt Rostad is licensed under CC 2.0.

Chicago’s iconic Millennium Park is a great place for young travelers to take in local masterpieces. Commonly referred to as “the bean,” the sculpture Cloud Gate was created by British artist Anish Kapoor. Its reflective surface and unique shape are sure to captivate young art aficionados.

Nearby is Crown Fountain by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, a public art piece that’s made up of two 50-foot glass towers at each end of a reflecting pool. Images of Chicago citizens are reflected on the towers as water flows down. (It’s especially striking at night.)

If the kids need to burn off some energy, the nearby Maggie Daley Park is a children’s paradise with creatively designed climbing structures and huge slides.

Hyde Park Art Center

Dragon Images / Shutterstock

Dragon Images / Shutterstock

This unique arts-based non-profit’s goal is to connect artists with the local community. Hyde Park Art Center pays special attention to its youth programming. Fortunately for out-of-town visitors, there are a variety of drop-in classes and youth-centered exhibitions to experience throughout the year.

Every second Sunday of the month, budding young artists can participate in a free community art workshop where they learn about print-making, collaging, and other media. The center’s exhibitions rotate throughout the year, and feature work by local and national artists. If you’re planning on staying in Chicago for an extended period of time, check out Hyde Park Art Center’s extensive programming for kids of all ages.

Are you headed to Chicago any time soon? Which of these artistic activities would you like to do in the Windy City? Paint us a word picture in the comments below!

About The Author

Jen Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing (www.luciditewriting.com) and Bouchard Design Co.

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