Museum Deals and Public Art: Minneapolis and Chicago

in Travel Deals, Trip Planning

Chicago, IL

The Art Institute of Chicago (

Frugal art lovers can get into one of the nation’s premier art centers for free on Thursdays (admission is usually $18 for adults, $12 for students). Are you a Bank of America credit card holder? If so, you can get in for free whenever you like. Simply show them your card at the ticket counter to receive your complimentary ticket. The Art Institute of Chicago also has reciprocity with other large museums around the country. If you are a member of another museum, check on their website to see if you can get free admission that way.

Highlights: Marc Chagall’s America Windows The Asian Collection The New Modern Wing Millenium Park ( While you’re in the vicinity, stroll across the street to Millenium Park to take in the interesting public sculptures and installation pieces.  The outdoor concert venue designed by Frank Gehry is definitely worth a peek as well (sometimes the concerts performed here are free, check the website for concert schedules and more information). The best part? It costs nothing to take a walk around Millenium Park. Highlights: Crown Fountain interactive sculpture by Jaume Plensa Cloud Gate (fondly referred to as “The Bean”) reflective sculpture by Anish Kapoor Minneapolis, MN [caption id="attachment_4590" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden"][/caption] Walker Art Center ( Admission to the world- renowned Walker Arts Center, a contemporary arts institution committed to interdisciplinary programming is free on Thursdays (the galleries stay open until 9:00pm). On the first Saturday of each month, the Walker hosts “First Free Saturday.” Not only is admission to the galleries free that day, there is also quite a bit of free programming and activities for kids and families throughout the museum. In addition to its extensive permanent collection and expertly-curated internationally touring shows, the Walker also hosts lecture, performing arts and film series throughout the year, some of which are free as well. See the calendar on the website for more information. The Walker Art Center also has reciprocity with other large museums around the country. If you are a member of another museum, check on their website to see if you can get free admission that way. Highlights: Dan Flavin’s mimimalist sculptures featuring a unique use of  light Several paintings by Andy Warhol A large collection representing the Italian Arte Povera movement The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden The open-air sculpture garden across the street from the Walker Art Center is one of the most frequently visited spots in Minneapolis. This impressive collection of public art (featuring the famous “Spoonbridge and Cherry” that has become somewhat of a symbol for Minneapolis) is free and open to the public. For schedules and events see Highlights: Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Frank Gehry’s massive Standing Glass Fish in the conservatory Minneapolis Institute of Art ( One of the Twin Cities' most impressive arts institutions, the MIA houses a large collection of visual arts from various cultures and time periods. The MIA is particularly known for its extensive collection of Asian art (a large part of it donated by the local Dayton family), period rooms, and regular rotating shows. The admission for the museum itself is free (special shows may require a purchased ticket) and there is a variety of free educational programming (lectures, tours, classes, etc.) for children and adults. Once a month, the MIA hosts a family day with lots of free activities for kids. Highlights: The Asian collection The period rooms (go between October and January to see them decorated for the holidays—a real treat) The newly revamped modernist collection

Previous post:

Next post: