4 Chicago Museums for a Cultural Fix

The Windy City celebrates its ethnic diversity with these cultural museums—from Greece to Mexico to Sweden and more.

In a city of ethnic diversity, it’s no surprise there are museums to match.

National Hellenic Museum

Making the perfect stop before or after your saganaki and pastitsio in Greektown, this museum gets to the heart of Greek life, both past and present. Running exhibits include "Aegean: Creation of an Archipelago," featuring sunken treasures from the Grecian sea, and "Greek Story in America," detailing Hellenic contributions to American history from the Civil War through today. Admission $10; seniors and students $8; children 3-12 $7; under 3 free. 333 S. Halsted St., 312.655.1234

National Museum of Mexican Art

Home to more than 9,000 seminal pieces of art dating from ancient Mexico through the present, this museum houses one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the country. Aztec artifacts show rich cultural roots, while politically-charged works of modern artists highlight the cultural issues that affect us today. Its broad scope and keenly curated collection have made the National Museum of Mexican Art a leading voice for Latinos in America today. They even have cultural outreach programs—most notably, their all-out Day of the Dead exhibit in October—to immerse visitors in the vibrancy of Mexican society. Admission is free. 1852 W. 19th St., 312.738.1503

Swedish American Museum

When the tiny original iteration of this Andersonville museum moved into bigger digs in 1987, the King of Sweden attended the opening. It’s a testament to the significance of what’s contained within: a wealth of history and fascinating treasures—passports, steamship tickets and homespun crafts—that bring to life the Swedish immigrant experience. The third-floor children’s museum is a favorite for families (not an electronic component in sight). Admission $4; children, students and seniors $3; under 1 free; $10 family. 5211 N. Clark St., 773.728.8111

Swedish American Museum
(Courtesy Swedish American Museum)

The Polish Museum of America

When schools close to honor a famous Polish general (Caismir Pulaski), you know it’s an important thread in the fabric of a city’s diversity. Indeed, this museum showcases Chicago’s strong Polish pride with artwork, military artifacts, folk crafts and costumes, and memorabilia of famous Poles, including Pope John Paul II and General Pulaski. Admission $7; seniors and students $6. 984 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773.384.3352