3 Museums to Visit in Chicago

Literary Landmarks for Book Nerds Series

Where should you go when you visit Chicago? We’ve covered books to read before you visit, bookstores you must visit while in town, and the hidden gem of the Harold Washington Library. As you visit Chicago, don’t forget to visit these three museums that were made for book-lovers!

The Newberry Library

This place tops every Chicago literary list, and for a good reason!  The Newberry Library is an independent research library that not only holds rare books, but also offers incredible literary learning opportunities.

The Newberry holds events like the Newberry Library Book Fair, and also has opportunities for ongoing adult learning. During 2019, they had a monthly series dedicated to the Chicago Race Riots of 1919, as well as one-off events like Drag Queen Story Hour for kids, meet the author events, and a genealogy and local history orientation for individuals who want to learn more about how to research their own family histories.  Find time during your trip to Chicago to take advantage of one of these lectures, and you’ll geek out all the way home.

Planning to visit The Newberry Library and looking for something to read about it before you go?  Check out The Newberry 125: Stories of Our Collection by Newberry Library, which was published for its 125th anniversary.

Plot Twist Tip

The American Writers Museum

The mission of the American Writer’s Museum is “to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives.” (link to: mission statement)  Any place that celebrates the life of American writers tops the list of my places to visit. The museum hosts a lot of fun events, bringing together people who love very different writing genres all under one roof.

The museum is family-friendly as well!  It has a spot dedicated to children’s literature, with a fun mural of animals reading what are considered to be the most influential children’s books of our time, such as Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace and Museum

Just outside the edge of Chicago you’ll find Oak Park, a lovely little suburb which helped raise two giants – Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Make a day trip to Oak Park to visit both of their houses, then walk through downtown Oak Park, located just south of the corner of Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street.  There you will find an Irish Shop that has excellent teas and some fun books for kids.  You can even have an authentic Italian dinner at Il Vicolo Italia, which has been in Oak Park for ages.

Don’t just think about where you visit in Chicago, but also think about what time of year you might want to visit.  Yes, avoiding the dreary wintertime is a must, but also think about linking up your travel time to a literary festival in Chicago. Two famous literary festivals are the Chicago Humanities Festival (with events held year-round) and the Printers Row Lit Fest (typically held in early June).

Plot Twist Tip

No matter what time of year you travel, there will always be a museum you can find or a library to frequent that is made for a book-lover like you!  That is why we exist at Plot Twist Travels.  We create book-filled adventures. 

Traveling soon and want some help finding the best literary landmarks?  Visit our shop to find out how we can help you plan your next bookish adventure.

Do you seek out literary landmarks when you travel?  Do you prefer book-filled libraries or museums? Let us know in the comments below!

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