Museum of Contemporary Art

Museum of Contemporary Artwebsite

Location: 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

Phone: 312-280-2660

Monday                                     Closed
Tuesday                                     10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday – Sunday                 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s Day

Admission: $12 (suggested admission), $7 for senior citizens and students with ID
Children 12 and under, members of the military, and members are free.
Tuesdays are always free.
Admission is free to families on Family Day.
Chicago residents can get a Kraft Great Kids Museum Pass at their local Chicago Public Library which is good for free admission for up to four people.
Membership is $75 for a household (2 adults and all children under 18) and includes two free guest passes, a subscription to the MCA MAG and eNews, invitations to Members’ Previews, discounted admission to First Fridays, up to 20% off tickets to performances and lectures, 10% in the gift shop and restaurant, and discounted parking.

Parking: The museum has a parking lot. Standard parking rates are range from $6 to $32, but for you’ll pay $19-22 if you’re there for 1-3 hours. Parking is $16 if you’re in between 6-7:30 am and out before 6:00 pm. Get your parking ticket validated for a $3 discount ($4 for members).
Bike racks are available inside the parking garage for free.
Additional discounted parking with validation is available at The Bernardin, 747 N Wabash Ave, just a short distance past Michigan Avenue at the corner of Chicago and Wabash.
Bathrooms: The bathrooms are located on the ground floor. There is a changing table, and the bathrooms are accessible to the handicapped and strollers.

Nursing: There is no designated nursing area.

Handicapped/stroller accessibility: There are elevators and the museum is very accessible to the handicapped and strollers. During Family Days, the museum offers free (no tipping allowed) stroller valet.

Other amenities: Coat check is available for free on the ground and main floors.

Food/eating area:
Puck’s Restaurant & Express Counter are located inside the museum. Hours are:
Restaurant:                     Tuesday – Saturday    11:30 am – 2:00 pm
                                      Sunday Brunch           11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Express Counter:            Tuesday                     10:00 am – 8:00 pm
                                      Wednesday – Sunday  10:00 am – 5:00 pm
You can view menus online. Lunch entrees start at $12; kid’s meals start at $5; Express Counter sandwiches start at $7; Sunday Brunch is $28 adults, $15 kids.
On Family Days, kids 12 and under eat free!

Outside food is not allowed in the museum. There is a beautiful park with a playground right across the street if you decide to picnic. Water Tower Place is about a block away and they have a food court with a wide variety of restaurants, or bring your own lunch there to eat indoors.
We attended a Family Day and the museum provided complimentary bottled water, juice boxes, cheese crackers, fruit snacks and nut bars  in the meeting center on the ground floor of the museum. We also ate the lunch we had brought with us in that room (as did several other families).

Special activities: 
Family Day –  Second Saturday of the month, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.
The theme for Saturday, May 14 will be Anticipate the Warmth, and for Saturday, October 8 will be Out of the Box. (I believe Family Days are replaced by Summer Outdoor Creation Stations June – September.)
Several hands-on art projects and activities, free snacks, a scavenger hunt, and free stroller valet.

Farmer’s Market – Tuesdays in the summer (June 7 – September 27) from 7:00 am – 3:00 pm. 

Summer Outdoor Creation Stations – Tuesdays in the summer from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm on the front plaza, and 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm on the terrace.

Tuesdays on the Terrace – Tuesday evenings in the summer (June 7 – September 27) from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Food is available for purchase (no outside food allowed). Bring a picnic blanket & enjoy jazz music on the terrace.
The MCA Theater hosts a variety of performances. May 7-15, 2011, see The Man Who Planted Trees, a multi-sensory puppet show. Tickets are $11/adult, $5/child 12 & under in advance, or $13/$7 at the door.

Exhibits: Information about current and upcoming exhibits can be viewed online. I find the exhibits at the museum that are very interesting, but I won’t go into detail about them because they’re not likely to be interesting to your kids. The one kid-friendly exhibit now is Without You I’m Nothing: Art and It’s Audience, which runs through May 1, 2011. Part of the exhibit is interactive, allowing the audience to walk into, climb around in, and listen to pieces of artwork.

We paid: Nothing to get into the museum. We took the train there and paid $14.00 ($2.50 for each adult each way, plus $4.00 for parking in the CTA lot at the train station).

Our experience: 
My husband and I love the Museum of Contemporary Art. We were members B.C. (before children) and visited often. We really enjoyed ourselves and so did the kids, but we visited on a Family Day. Admission was free, there were free snacks, and there were lots of activities for the kids, which they LOVED.
I would probably not take my kids there unless it was Family Day or some other family program, or there was a particular exhibit I thought would keep their attention. We did walk through the museum with them and they were intrigued by a few pieces, but for the most part we spent our time trying to keep them from touching things and they got bored pretty quickly. I did love that during the Family Day the museum put up little warning signs outside some of the rooms suggesting that parents preview the room before children enter.
They both really did like the koi pond on the ground floor. It’s just the right level for toddlers to see the fish without having to worry (too much) about them trying to climb in. 


  1. I recently checked out Tuesdays at the Terrace, but didn’t know about the Family Days. I just marked my calendar!

    I love how it’s easy to find things to do in Chicago on your website and how your posts clearly breakdown all the important information!

  2. OMG, I am so excited to read this bc I went to this museum a couple of years ago with my kids and they didn’t have any signs about the content in some of the rooms. I was horrified to stumble upon some art that was inappropriate not only for my kids, but our entire family. I sent them an email suggesting they put up signs, especially when they did so much advertising to families. I’m so excited they they listened to my suggestion. Yay!!!

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