Live Streams and Virtual Content
There is never a shortage of things to do on The Magnificent Mile! There is always a new special exhibit or performance to see. But what do you do for culture and entertainment when you are stuck "sheltering in place" at home? Local museums and attractions are helping you make it magnificent from home!
How can you explore a collection of classic or contemporary art in cyberspace? And what about the cute animals and aquatic creatures eagerly awaiting your return to the zoo or the aquarium?
Thankfully, attractions, museums and other cultural institutions around The Magnificent Mile are innovating to provide you access online and via social media. Interactive and DIY activities include live streams, educational series and crafts for kids and adults.
We are glad to share our recommendations below!
American Writers Museum
Little Squirrel Storytime
Tune in to the popular weekly storytelling program for kids that takes place every Saturday at 10:30 AM.
Watch and listen on the American Writers Museum’s Facebook page as three guest storytellers each read a children’s story.
American Writers Museum
180 N. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor | (312) 374-8790
Art Institute of Chicago
Almost Like Being in the Galleries!
The new Art Institute Essentials video series offers the chance to once again get up close with some of the most well-known and beloved works in the collection.
Wherever you are, whatever the time, online resources at the Art Institute of Chicago are always here to connect you to our collection of art from around the world—whether you’re seeking inspiration, community, or a little adventure.
Explore the collection with interactive features, as well as the blog, highlights and videos. Plus, download the free mobile app and hear directly from curators, conservators and community members about art in the collection.
El Greco: The Online Experience
During the weeks at home, explore the exhibition El Greco: Ambition and Defiance with a short video tour led by curator Rebecca Long and research associate Jena Carvana. Follow along as they lead you through the galleries and share some of the reasons El Greco and his work continue to fascinate us.
Experience more of this major exhibition with a host of online features, including blog posts, interactive features, the exhibition audio tour, and more!
Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Avenue | (312) 443-3600
Bringing the Zoo to You
Brookfield Zoo is closed to the public through April 30, but their Facebook page remains a daily resource that is both educational and entertaining, especially if you have young kids at home! Tune in daily at 11 AM CST on Facebook Live for a different topic and follow #BringingTheZooYou for the latest. Watch all the chats to date.
One of the zoo's largest expenses, which cannot be reduced, is the daily care and feeding of the animals. It costs roughly $41,000 per day for all of the 2,500+ animals under their care. For those who are able, please consider donating to help with that daily care.
3300 Golf Road | (708) 688-8000
Chicago Architecture Center
The History of Your Home
The Chicago Architecture Center is temporarily closed to the public but remains committed to their mission to introduce people to Chicago, its neighborhoods and its unparalleled architecture. Learn more about specific cancellations and postponed programs, and then head to CAC Facebook page for exciting time-lapse videos, engaging content, and prompts for your own at-home research.
CAC Live is a virtual series of book talks, panel discussions, lectures, tours, and interactive activities for families to enjoy at home.
Remember, your support today is crucial to the stability of the CAC through this crisis. Please consider supporting the CAC today with a tax-deductible donation, online at architecture.org/donate.
Chicago Architecture Center
111 E. Wacker Drive | (312) 922-3432
Chicago Flower and Garden Show
Follow the Get Growing Series on YouTube - An educational resource for experienced gardeners and newbies alike!
Though the event organizers weren't able to open the Chicago Flower & Garden Show this past March, they had many skilled and knowledgeable experts on a variety of horticultural topics as part of the 2020 Get Growing Series power by XFINITY. This channel will highlight those speakers and a number of other industry professionals on an ongoing basis, including on #TeachingTuesdays!
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Stories Every Day
Travel back in time and learn about the city and its neighborhoods, including the development of Michigan Avenue following the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Read more on the Museum Blog.
In This Together
In This Together is a community-based initiative to collect digital records that document personal experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all affected by this crisis in varying degrees, and diaries, journals, oral histories, images, recordings, and similar materials will help us tell stories of this unprecedented time in history. Contribute any digital records that document your experience and that of your community.
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark Street | (312) 642-4600
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Shakes @ Home
Chicago’s innovative performing arts venue is offering audiences a means to bring the magic of Shakespeare to their homes through its brand-new online content platform, Shakes @ Home.
This virtual program allows theater lovers to continue engaging with the power of Shakespeare through educational tools, centuries of critical thinking, artistic interpretation and more. Check out their Living Room Sonnet series!
Plus, engage your children—away from the screen—with print-at-home (and fun to look at) activity pages, inspired by a few favorite summer family musicals.
DCASE & Do312
Music in the Key of Chicago
Recognizing that the music industry has moved to #DoStuffAtHome, DCASE is partnering with Do312 to continue to celebrate the 2020 Year of Chicago Music. A new listing of virtual events and concerts has just launched to highlight the local music venues and musicians sharing "Music in the Key of Chicago."
Are you hosting a virtual concert or music-related event? Please share the link to your event details and artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Museum of Surgical Science
Search "Surgical Science"
Since 1954, the International Museum of Surgical Science has provided education on the history and progress of surgery and related medical sciences to hundreds of thousands of visitors. Unfortunately, the museum is currently closed to the public.
Meanwhile, advances in computer graphics and imaging are generating new opportunities to aid in understanding the rapidly evolving discoveries in both science and healthcare. Don't miss out! Check out the museum's Facebook page for an inside look at the latest exhibits, including Unique Perspectives: Art in Science and Medicine.
Download the museum's app for free! Search “Surgical Science” in your app store to enjoy virtual tours and more.
1524 N. Lake Shore Drive | (312) 642-6502
The theater has created gglassclasses online for K-12 students K-12 grade to learn from experienced Lookingglass teachers and artists virtually, while creating collaborative performances and building specialized skills.
Classes include Movement + Dance, Puppetry, Physical Theatre, Character Study and Documentary Theatre.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Art at Home
Engage with the MCA blog, like with the Art at Home series of simple, fun activities created by Chicago artists that you can produce with whatever materials you’ve got on hand. Whether you're a worker socially isolated at home in need of a break, or a family looking to entertain your young ones who are home from school, these e-learning resources are for everyone!
Your purchase at the MCA Store helps support the museum and staff during a difficult time of closure.
Explore an online extension of the major exhibition Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago that provides unprecedented online access to the MCA galleries, featuring floor-to-ceiling video footage of the exhibition that viewers can watch while listening to the audio experience produced for the exhibition. Speakers Olowu and MCA Senior Curator Naomi Beckwith give insight into the ideas behind the exhibition, interwoven with deep dives into select artworks, and quotes from interviews with pioneering artists Roger Brown, Richard Hunt, Kerry James Marshall, Shirin Neshat, Lorna Simpson, and Jack Whitten from the MCA archives.
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E. Chicago Avenue | (312) 280-2660
Navy Pier is putting a ‘positive spin’ on things by using its iconic Centennial Wheel to display #PierInspiration, daily messages of encouragement and hope for the city. The Pier encourages all to join in by sharing photos and inspirational words on social media using #PierInspiration for a chance to be featured on Navy Pier’s channels and to continue spreading positivity.
As part of its new digital video series, Navy Pier looks to inspire Chicagoans to “imagine a time” when our resilient and vibrant city returns to full vitality. This multi-part campaign kicked off this week on Instagram and highlights the beauty and offerings of Navy Pier, its on-site partners, Lake Michigan and Chicago. Be sure to continue checking Navy Pier’s social media pages in the coming weeks to catch the full five-part series of inspiring videos.
Wheel Talk Wednesday
This new, weekly music series on on Navy Pier's Instagram live connects followers and community members to local artists and musicians as a means to provide entertainment to viewers at home and extend support to Chicago’s talented arts community, which has been immensely impacted by COVID-19.
Navy Pier, which proudly showcases the work of local artists through more than 250 public programs year round, is now using its digital platform to feature live interviews and performances by a different talent every Wednesday at noon throughout its closure and encourage its followers to provide Venmo tips to the artists as a show of support. Since its launch on April 1, the series has featured folk artist Ana Everling and singer/songwriter Brian Allison.
Follow along on Navy Pier’s Instagram page for details on upcoming performances!
Navy Pier is home to more than 70 businesses—many of which are small and local. These businesses have been severely impacted by the ongoing pandemic and could use some virtual support as they navigate these challenging and uncertain times. If you are in a position to help, please consider aiding their businesses through gift card purchases, online shopping, donations, etc. Click here to view options to support the small businesses on the Pier and here to support the on-site restaurants.
Richard H. Driehaus Museum
A Thing of Beauty
Richard H. Driehaus Museum has currently closed to the public. This decision was made in consultation with colleagues at Chicago-area institutions, and in consideration of information provided by government officials, the Department of Public Health and the CDC.
In the meantime, enjoy a virtual tour of Eternal Light: The Sacred Stained-Glass Windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany. This exhibit focuses on the design and production of Tiffany’s ecclesiastical window commissions, and explores these works in the context of both the art and social history of the period.
During these stressful times, appreciate the daily #AThingofBeauty posts on the museum's Facebook page and other looks inside the museum.
If you previously purchased tickets to visit the museum during this closure, you may send an email to email@example.com to:
- Exchange your tickets for another date
- Receive a full refund
- Donate the value of your tickets to the Museum and receive a tax donation receipt
40 E. Erie Street | (312) 482-8933 Ext 21
Shedd Aquarium has been sparking compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world since 1930. While the aquarium is closed to the public through April 20, they are still here for the important questions, like your kiddo may be asking you. For instance, “What does animal poop look like?"
If you are able, gifts to Shedd can come in many shapes and sizes, but they all make a difference, from supporting everyday operations to sending a team of animal care experts halfway around the world to help rehabilitate hundreds of stranded penguins. Please consider a donation.
1200 S. Lakeshore Drive | (312) 939-2438
Your Support Counts!
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
While Class is Cancelled, Support the Community at Large
The Ruth Page School of Dance has suspended all classes through April 20. This closure is in accordance with the CDC's recommendations on mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and city-mandated cessations of all public and private school in-person instruction.
When our doors do re-open, we will be extending all Adult Drop-In class purchases (including single and multi-pack credits) well past their usual 3-month expiry. Any existing or pre-purchased credits will be available through the end of the Adult Term on Saturday, July 18, 2020.
During this time, The Center is committed to supporting the many teachers and staff members who dedicate their time and expertise to The Ruth Page Center, School, and performing arts community at large. COVID-19 is having an unexpected impact on us all – as a non-profit organization, this includes financial implications for The Center. If you are able, please consider forgoing any tuition refund request.
Donations to The Center are graciously accepted – any additional funds help to further ensure security for our staff and faculty.
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 N. Dearborn Street | (312) 337-6543