What are the Art Institute’s hours?
The museum is open daily 10:30–5:00 and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday until 8:00.
Is the museum open on holidays?
The museum is closed only three days a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. It is open on all other holidays.
When are your free hours?
Free hours are offered to Illinois residents Wednesday evenings from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Proof of residence is required. If you do not have a state ID, please bring a lease, bill, or piece of mail that shows your name and Illinois address.
How much does it cost to go to the Art Institute?
The cost of your general admission ticket depends on if you live in Chicago, someplace else in Illinois, or elsewhere, and if you’re a student or a senior. Please refer to our ticketing chart. And remember, admission is always free for members and children under 14.
Does a general admission ticket include access to special exhibitions?
A general admission ticket allows you to see all of the museum’s nonticketed special exhibitions. Occasionally exhibitions require an additional charge.
Do members need tickets?
No, members never need tickets and never have to wait in admission lines. Simply show your member card and photo ID to the ticket collectors.
Do I have to pay for tickets for my kids?
Admission for children under 14 and Chicago teens under 18 is always free.
When does the Art Institute offer free admission?
The museum offers free admission to Illinois residents every Wednesday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Proof of residence is required. If you do not have a state ID, please bring a lease, bill, or piece of mail that shows your name and Illinois address.
When are your free hours?
Free hours are offered to Illinois residents every Wednesday evening from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Proof of residence is required. If you do not have a state ID, please bring a lease, bill, or piece of mail that shows your name and Illinois address.
Can I get to the museum on public transportation?
Yes, CTA buses, EL trains, and the Metra commuter rail are all great options to get you to the museum.
What’s the best route when driving?
Get driving directions from various city locations.
Where can I park?
The Art Institute offers valet parking at the Modern Wing entrance during museum hours. And many underground lots are only a block away. Members at the Member Plus and above levels receive a discount on parking.
Is there a bike-sharing program I could use?
Divvy is Chicago’s bike-sharing program, and several stations are located near the Art Institute. Learn more.
Please reference our member FAQs.
Is accessible parking available?
Accessible parking is located in several garages near the Art Institute. Please note that they no longer accept oversized vans.
Millennium Park Garage
Entrance at Columbus Drive and Monroe Street, with 6’ 8’ clearance in some sections and an elevator at the exit
East Monroe Street Garage
Entrance at Columbus Drive and Monroe Street, with 6’ 8” clearance and exit ramps at Monroe Street
Grant Park North Garage
Entrance at Michigan Avenue between Madison and Randolph, with 6’ 6” clearance for vans and an elevator at the exit
Do you have wheelchairs?
Yes, wheelchairs are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Are audio guides available?
Audio guides can be rented for $7 per person ($5 for members). They are compatible with t-coil hearing induction loops and are free for visually impaired visitors and their escorts.
Do you have a map of the museum?
View and download a floor plan here.
Do you welcome service animals?
Yes, service animals are welcome at the museum. For inquiries regarding emotional support animals, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I bring my bags and luggage into the galleries?
For your safety and the security of our collection, we ask that you check backpacks and any bags larger than 13 x 17 x 4 inches.
What other items are not allowed in the galleries?
- Art materials other than pencils (including ink pens)
- Backpacks and backpack baby carriers
- Bags, camera bags, and purses larger than 13 x 17 x 4 inches
- Shopping bags
- Flowers and balloons
- Food and drink
- Tripods, flash attachments, video cameras, and “selfie sticks”
- Umbrellas (small umbrellas can be stowed in bags)
- Wrapped packages (gifts)
Is there anything I cannot check?
We cannot accept flowers, balloons, food, or drink in the checkroom.
What does it cost to check items?
It is $1 per item and free for members.
What if I need certain items that I have in my bag, but my bag is over the allowed size?
Courtesy bags are available so you can carry valuable items with you.
Which exhibitions will be on view during my visit?
See a list of current and future exhibitions.
How will I know what artworks I can see during my visit?
The Art Institute is an active lending institution. For the most up-to-date information about gallery closures and significant works of art that may not be on view, please check our Collection Updates page.
Can I take pictures in the galleries?
We encourage you to take pictures of the collection and special exhibitions for personal use. Non-flash photography is permitted in all permanent galleries. Signs indicate the few works that are not allowed to be photographed due to a lender requirement.
Are there restrictions on the type of equipment that is permitted?
- Equipment must not exceed the size of a SLR camera designed for personal use.
- Flash, tripods, monopods, handheld microphones, selfie sticks, and other extraneous equipment are not allowed anywhere in the museum, its gardens, or public spaces.
- All imaging documentation must be for personal, nondistributional, noncommercial use only.
Are selfie sticks permitted in the galleries?
No, for the safety of the artwork and other patrons, selfie sticks are not allowed.
How do I arrange a photo shoot or filming at the museum?
Members of the media should contact our Department of Public Affairs at (312) 443-3363 or email@example.com to arrange shoots for still photography and film.
Is sketching allowed in the museum?
Sketching with pencils only is allowed in all galleries, including special exhibitions, provided there are no restrictions by lenders. Please check with a security officer in your gallery to confirm that sketching in that space is permitted; officers have the discretion to disallow sketching if the galleries are crowded or if sketching is creating a disturbance. If a work of art is not framed or protected by a vitrine or case, sketchers are asked to remain at least five feet away from the art. Paper and pads must be no larger than 13 x 17 inches. Easels, stools, or anything that interferes with movement in the gallery are not permitted.
Can I take my wedding or engagement photos at the museum?
Unobtrusive wedding and engagement photography in the museum’s galleries, gardens, and public spaces does not require a special permit or fee. To ensure the safety of our visitors and our works of art, the maximum number of participants, including the photographer and any assistants, may not exceed six visitors. The museum’s photography restrictions and general visitation guidelines (listed above) also apply.
If you are interested in learning more about renting a space, please see our Venue Rental page.
How can I get a job at the Art Institute?
See a list of job opportunities available at the museum and the School of the Art Institute.
Do I have to have an art degree to get a job at the museum?
There are many different types of jobs at the museum—curatorial, teaching, marketing, accounting, security, human resources, facilities management, library sciences, and retail, just to name a few. Different positions require different skills and abilities, and for many positions, a major in art history or fine art is not required. To explore the variety of positions currently available at the Art Institute, please visit our employment page.
What are the names of the lions?
The two bronze lions that flank the Michigan Avenue entrance were made for the Art Institute’s opening at its current location in 1893. They were a gift from Mrs. Henry Field. They have unofficial “names,” given to them by their sculptor, Edward Kemeys, that are more like designations. You’ll notice that the lions are not identical and thus are named for their poses: The south lion stands “In an Attitude of Defiance,” while the north lion is “On the Prowl.”
Was the museum around during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition?
The Art Institute was founded as both a museum and school for the fine arts in 1879 but it wasn’t until 1893 that it found its permanent home in a building, constructed jointly with the city of Chicago for the World’s Columbian Exposition. That building, the Michigan Avenue building, remains the “front door” of the museum even today. Learn more about our history.
In the museum logo, why is there a “V” where there should be a “U” in the word “Institute”?
The “V” in our logo was a very deliberate choice on our part, as it references the lettering on our original building, which followed the classical Latin precedent in using a “V” instead of a “U.” If you look at the architrave of the building the next time you are here, you’ll notice there’s no “U” in sight! Read more on our blog.
Can you tell me the value of my artwork?
The Art Institute is not permitted to conduct appraisals or authentications of artwork. Here is a list of a few organizations that do.
Can you give me information about an artist or a work of art?
The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries have numerous resources for conducting your art research.
I have a work of art that I want to sell/give to the Art Institute.
Give us a call at (312) 443-3600, and we’ll help direct you to the appropriate curatorial department.
I have a question that isn’t answered here. How can I contact the museum?
We’re happy to answer your questions by phone or email.
How do I find a staff member’s contact information?
Call our general information number, (312) 443-3600, and we’ll be happy to direct you to the appropriate department.