Top 5 Paintings to See at The Art Institute of Chicago

February 23, 2011

Chicago Navy Pier

I just took a weekend trip to Chicago with my husband Will and we had an awesome time! With our circle of friends and family, I’m pretty sure that we were the only ones who had not been yet – of course, when you live about 4 hours away, it’s about time! Our friend Mike was very generous to let us stay in his fully-furnished condo downtown next to the Sears Tower. We had a phenomenal view from the 26th floor! We spent the weekend exploring the city, walking around downtown and discovering the Millenium Park with “The Bean” sculpture/modern art/mirror… whatever, it was cool. We also had a chance to go to Navy Pier and eat at Harry Caray’s Tavern and hang out at Houndstooth Saloon, a bar for University of Alabama alumni!

Of course, seeing famous paintings was definitely a highlight of the trip! The Art Institute is so huge that you have to have a plan for what you want to see before you leave. Here are my picks for the top five paintings to see at The Art Institute of Chicago:

American Gothic

American Gothic, Grant Wood: This was the first famous painting that we found completely by accident. I think Will really likes this one and he is most familiar with it. This is when we realized that we should be searching for the famous paintings instead of wandering aimlessly. The museum has a handy visitors guide that tells you where they are located.


Nighthawks, Edward Hopper: Nighthawks is one of my favorite paintings to study in Art History class. I would love to have a print of it in my house one day, because I find it so interesting. In the museum it is one room over from American Gothic on the second floor so you can easily see them both in a short time.

Bedroom at Arles

Bedroom in Arles, Vincent Van Gogh: Van Gogh was a lot more difficult to find, because this painting is in the old wing of the museum. If you ask for directions from a staff member it will make more sense. It is so exciting to see an actual Van Gogh painting and I remember seeing pictures of this for many years in school books.


Time Transfixed, René Magritte: I really enjoy Surrealism because it transports you to a different dimension and makes you think outside the box. This painting is so strange and intriguing and people love it.


The Old Guitarist, Pablo Picasso: Last, but not least, there is a Picasso in The Art Institute! Once again, it was amazing to see an original painting by one of the Masters. We made sure to see this one before we left to take our hungry souls to Harry Caray’s!

It was really awesome to see these original paintings in person. I have been studying them my whole life, and even Will was familiar with many of them, and he is not usually an art person :) Next time you have a chance to visit Chicago, stop by The Art Institute and see these famous paintings!

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  • Reply Frances via il*mostro February 24, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    awwwww my boyfriend and I just moved to Cincy from Chicago. Great list of top picks! I do miss that windy city!

  • Reply marydeighton February 24, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    That's so cool – We had so much fun in Chicago and can't wait to go back! Welcome to Cincy! I moved here about 9 months ago from Alabama, so let me know if you need tips on fun things to do!

  • Reply Frances via il*mostro March 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    awww thanks!! ideas on things to do would be awesome! We love the art museum and eden park but we must see more! if u have any must see/do in cincy, u can message me ilmostrostudios(at)gmail(dot)com :) i'd appreciate it!!

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