1. Museum of Science and Industry—This museum is my favorite of all the museums in Chicago because of its dynamic qualities. There are new exhibits and events constantly brought in and put up for public view. After spending a considerable amount of time on display, the exhibit is disassembled and shipped off to the next big city. It is one place where I can honestly say I learn something new each time I attend. I also really enjoy the “Main Steet USA” exhibit, a permanent fixture of the museum that gives visitors a nostalgic glimpse at what Chicago used to be.

2. Chicago History Museum—It is not only wonderful inside the building itself, but the Historical Society does a fantastic job in uniting Chicago citizens through various events. During the summer, the museum puts on a number of tours in the city—to put people in contact with a tangible Chicago. Besides, anyone who offers a free viewing of "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" (my favorite movie) in one of Chicago’s beautiful parks automatically has a spot in my heart.


3. Art Institute of Chicago—I’m not sure what it is about the Art Institute, but something about it calms me. Maybe it’s the myriad of artwork that adorns the walls, or the relaxing and quiet environment that surrounds each gallery. Regardless, I can spend hours looking at paintings, photographs and pottery that I have seen before, yet still be caught up in the new experience. The exterior of the building itself is equally amazing, seated comfortably next to the beautiful Millennium Park.

4. International Museum of Surgical Science—What I love about the this place is that it’s one of Chicago’s hidden museum treasures. It’s tucked away in the Gold Coast neighborhood, and when you see it you question why you’ve never noticed it before. The healthcare nerd in me is so drawn to it because it is solely focused on the human body and the history of medicine. Tall statues of medicine’s greatest contributors start the journey through the museum. It ends with a look inside the anatomy and physiology of a person with real-life tissue figures, for the purpose of showing learners what the body actually looks like. This museum might not be for everyone’s taste, but it’s certainly worth visiting.

5. Lincoln Park Zoo—This free zoo is one of my favorites because: 1. Um, hello, it’s free; 2. I have years of happy memories here with my cousins; and 3. It is accessible year round. Though you may not be inclined to bundle up outside in the cold Chicago winters, the zoo displays lights at Christmastime that are unbelievably charming and spirited. The Lincoln Park Zoo also offers concerts during the summer and a secret, tranquil lily pond in the back is one of my favorite areas of the zoo.

/Erik Kinnhammar