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How to use transit to explore museums in the Chicago region

June 23, 2023

Museum bus

The Chicago region is home to countless accessible cultural and educational amenities including 150 museums across several counties. The most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to get to many of these sites is by making use of the regional public transit system on CTA, Metra, and Pace.

City museums and sites

Museum Campus

A picturesque 57-acre park comprises three of the city’s leading cultural institutions, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and the Shedd Aquarium, along Lake Michigan. Easily accessible via public transit, all three sites often boast free and reduced rates and traveling exhibitions.  

Where: Grant Park, 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 

How to get there:

  • CTA Orange, Red and Green Lines (Roosevelt Stop) and walk for 12 to 15 minutes (0.6 miles) or catch the CTA Bus #146 (Museum Campus Stop) 
  • Metra Electric Line and South Shore Line (Museum Campus/ 11th Street Station) and walk for 8 to 10 minutes (0.4 miles)  

Chicago Children’s Museum

Operating for over 3 decades, the Chicago Children's Museum is a place that provides arts programs, STEM experiments, imaginative play, and more to over 11 million children and their parents and caregivers. Located on Navy Pier, Chicago Children’s Museum is easily accessible via public transit or even boat.

Where: Navy Pier, 700 East Grand Avenue, Suite 127, Chicago, Illinois 60611

How to get there:

  • CTA buses #29 (State St.), #65 (Grand Ave), #66 (Chicago Ave), or #2 (Hyde Park Express)
  • Metra UP-N, UP-W, or UP-NW lines to Ogilvie Transportation Station and transfer to CTA bus #124 (Navy Pier Express)
  • Metra MD-N, NCS, HC, BNSF, SWS, or MD-W Lines to Chicago Union Station and transfer to CTA bus #124 (Navy Pier Express)

Learn More

The Art Institute of Chicago

As one of the world's major museums, the Art Institute of Chicago houses works in every medium from across places, cultures, and time. The museum is dedicated to the investigation, innovation, education, and dialogue of more than 260,000 artworks and artifacts. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Art Institute is just a short walk away from multiple transit stops.

Where: 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60603

How to get there:

  • CTA Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, or Purple line (Adams/Wabash stop) and walk about 2 minutes (0.2 miles)
  • CTA Red or Blue line (Monroe stop) and walk 5 to 7 minutes (0.3 miles)
  • Metra Electric Line to Van Buren Street Station and walk 4 minutes (0.2 miles) or to Millenium Station and walk 7 to 8 minutes (0.3 miles)

Learn More

DuSable Museum of African American History

The nation's oldest independent African American museum, the DuSable Museum, is the first non-profit museum dedicated to the collection, documentation, preservation, study, and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and African Americans. With more than 100,000 visitors a year, the museum continuously explores the African American experience that aims to educate the public and write a more inclusive history.

Every Wednesday, the museum is free. Every day, free admission is offered to K-12 Illinois Public School students, military personnel, first responders, (i.e., Police, Fire, EMTs) and more with a valid ID.

Where: 740 East 56th Place Chicago, IL 60637 

How to get there:

  • CTA Green Line (Cottage Grove Stop) and connect to CTA Bus #4 
  • CTA Green Line (Garfield Stop) and connect to CTA Bus #55 
  • Metra Electric Line trains to and from downtown Chicago stop at the 55th/56th/57th Street Station and transfer to CTA Bus #55
  • Metra Electric Line at the Univ. of Chicago/59th Street Station and transfer to CTA Bus #171 and walk 10 to 12 minutes (0.5 miles)

Learn more

National Museum of Mexican Art

Free every day, the National Museum of Mexican Art represents the Mexican community from its own point of view and in its own voice. Home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 18,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present, the museum not only offers curated collections, but also hosts performing arts programs, high-quality arts education programs, and resources for students, aspiring artists, and the general public. 

Where: 1852 W 19th Street Chicago, IL 60608 

How to get there:

  • CTA Pink Line (Damen Stop) and walk about 5 minutes (0.2 miles), or CTA Pink Line (18th Street Stop) and walk 6 to 7 minutes (0.4 miles)
  • CTA Bus #50 to 19th Street and walk 3 minutes (0.2 miles), or CTA Bus #9 to 18th Street and walk 6 to 7 minutes (0.4 miles) 
  • Pace Bus #302 to CTA Pink Line (54th and Cermak) to 18th Street stop and walk 6 to 7 minutes (0.4 miles)
  • Metra BNSF, MD-W, and MD-N Lines (Western Ave Station) and transfer to CTA Bus #18 to 18th Street/Wood stop and walk 4 minutes (0.2 miles)

Learn more

Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago

Support the 100,000 Ukrainian Americans that live in Chicagoland, including 10,000 Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Americans living in Ukrainian Village alone, by visiting the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago. The museum is the hub of the historical, cultural, and civic contributions Ukrainians have made to Chicago. Located centrally in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, you can also find restaurants, stores, and other businesses near the museum that speak to Ukrainian life and immigration over the past century.

Where: 2249 W. Superior St. Chicago, IL 60612 

How to get there:

  • CTA Blue Line (Chicago Stop) and connect to CTA Bus #66 to Chicago & Oakley stop and walk 2 minutes (0.1 miles)
  • CTA Bus #66, CTA Bus #9 or #9x and connect to #66  
  • CTA Bus #49 or #49x to Western & Huron stop and walk 4 minutes (0.2 miles)
  • Metra BNSF, MD-N and MD-W Lines (Western Ave Station) and transfer to CTA Bus #49 to Western & Huron stop and walk 4 minutes (0.2 miles)

Learn more

Pullman National Monument  

Located in what is now the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, the Pullman National Monument is a former planned industrial community. Famed for its urban design and architecture and for its ignition of the labor rights movement, this historic housing settlement is an integral part of Chicago’s history.

Where: 610 E 111th St, Chicago, IL 60628 

How to get there:

  • CTA Bus #4 (Cottage Grove & 111th Street stop) 
  • CTA Red Line (95th/Dan Ryan Stop) and connect to CTA Bus #115 (Cottage Grove and 111th Stop) 
  • Metra Electric (111th Station/Pullman) and walk for 4 to 5 minutes (0.2 miles)

Learn more

West Suburban Museums and Sites

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

Starting with the world-renowned Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, head to the easily accessible Chicago suburb of Oak Park, which holds more Frank Lloyd Wright buildings than anywhere else in the world. His home and studio are a testament to his genre of American architecture, but you can also tour Unity Temple and the Prairie School Historic District to learn more about the evolution of Wright’s architectural design philosophy in the neighborhood where the architect lived and worked.

Where: 951 Chicago Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302

How to get there:

  • CTA Blue or Green Lines (Oak Park Stops) and transfer to Pace Bus #311  
  • Metra UP-W Line (Oak Park Station) and transfer to CTA Bus #90 (North Blvd and Harlem) or walk 10 to 12 minutes (0.6 miles)

 Learn more 

DuPage Children’s Museum

Located just across the street from the Naperville Metra station, the DuPage Children’s Museum has been inspiring children and connecting families for 30 years. Through exhibits, programs, and special events, every experience is designed to help children develop a strong foundation of creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and confidence.

Where: 301 N Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540 

How to get there:

  • Metra BNSF Line (Naperville Station) and walk 4 to 5 minutes (0.2 miles) 
  • Multiple Pace Bus Lines #530, #711, #714, #722, #834 to Metra Naperville Station and walk 4 to 5 minutes (0.2 miles) 

Learn more

Elmhurst Art Museum  

Adjacent to the Elmhurst Public Library and one block South of the Union Pacific West Metra stop, the Elmhurst Art Museum is dedicated to the development of rotating contemporary art exhibitions by regional artists. The museum provides access to world-class exhibitions, the unique McCormick home by Mies van der Rohe, and an Education Center that serves the residents of Elmhurst and the surrounding communities with ongoing educational programs that are freely available to the public. 

Where: 150 Cottage Hill Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126 

How to get there:

  • Metra UP-W Line (Elmhurst Station) and walk 4 to 5 minutes (0.2 miles) 
  • Pace Bus Lines #309 (1st St & York Street Stop) and walk 4 to 5 minutes (0.2 miles)
  • Pace Bus #313 (St. Charles/Cottage Hill Stop) and walk 10 to 12 minutes (0.6 miles)
  • CTA Green Line (Oak Park) and connect to aforementioned Metra or Pace lines

Learn more

North Suburban Museums and Sites

Bahá'í House of Worship

One of nine Bahá'í temples in the world, the Bahá'í House of Worship is a sanctuary for visitors and residents alike. The site, also known as the Temple of Light, is open to the public and used as a devotional space for people of any faith or a place to unwind. It’s common to find visitors walking the campus in awe of the building’s intricate design and history, as well as its prime location next to Wilmette Harbor.

Where: 100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091 

How to get there:

  • CTA Purple, Red, Brown Lines (Linden Stop) and walk 5 to 7 minutes (0.3 miles)  
  • Pace Bus Lines #421, #422 and #423 and walk 4 to 5 minutes (0.2 miles)

 Learn more

Kohl Children’s Museum

With 330,000 visitors every year, the Kohl Children’s Museum offers 17 interactive, hands-on exhibits for children ages birth to 8. With live animals, water play, hands-on learning sets, and year-round exhibitions and programming, families are sure to enjoy the special programs (all included with admission). 

Where: 2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview, IL 60026 

How to get there:

  • Metra MD-N Line (Glen/ North Glenview Station) and walk 14 to 16 minutes (0.7 miles) 
  • CTA Blue Line (Harlem Stop) and connect to Pace Bus Line #423 and walk 2 to 4 minutes (0.3 miles) 

Learn more 

Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County

Locally known as the Dunn Museum, the museum is charged with documenting and telling the stories of Lake County. The museum includes a life-sized replica of a 20-foot-long Dryptosaurus, fossils dating back hundreds of millions of years, and information and artifacts of the region’s original stewards, the local Native Americans. As well, the museum hosts educational programming and ample outreach/ volunteer opportunities for the community to become more involved.  

Where: 1899 W Winchester Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048 

How to get there:

  • Metra MD-N Line (Libertyville Station) and connect to Pace Bus Line #574 and walk about 9 to 11 minutes (0.5 miles)

Learn more

South Suburban Museums and Sites

The Lockport Gallery, an Illinois State Museum

Featuring alternating exhibitions of art created by past and contemporary Illinois artists and artisans, this museum located along the Des Plaines River is one site of many art and history institutions in Lockport. Admission is free every day.

Where: 201 W 10th St, Lockport, IL 60441 

How to get there:

  • Metra Rock Island Line (Joliet Station) and connect to Pace Bus Line #834 (State Street & 10th St) and walk 2 to 4 minutes (0.3 miles) 

Learn more

Homewood Science Center  

A nonprofit community science center, Homewood Science Center was founded to promote STEM education, exploration, and development for children, families, and schools. The center hosts daily programming as well as student internships, STEM Saturdays, guest speakers, and after-school classes.

Where: 18022 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430 

How to get there:

  • Metra Electric Line (Homewood Station) and walk 1 to 3 minutes (0.1 miles) 
  • Pace Bus Line #356 to (Dixie Hwy & Ridge Road) and walk less than 1 minute  
  • Pace Bus #359 and walk from Metra Homewood Station 

Learn more 

Robbins Illinois History Museum

Renowned for having the first all-Black airport in the U.S., the Robbins History Museum aims to educate, document, and preserve the legacy of the people of Robbins, including many of the original Tuskegee Airmen.  

Where: 3644 139th St, Robbins, IL 60472  

How to get there:

  • Pace Bus Line #359 (Central Park Ave & 139th Street Stop) and walk 2 to 4 minutes (0.1 miles) 
  • Pace Bus Line #385 (Central Park Ave & 139th Street Stop) and walk 2 to 4 minutes (0.1 miles) 

Learn more  

There’s is no better time to explore the museums and amenities Chicago and the suburbs have to offer. We encourage residents and visitors to take public transit as it adds to the experience of exploring a new place and prioritizes the neighborhoods where we live, work, and play.

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