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Daytripper: A weekday visit to The Art Institute of Chicago this winter costs about $25 including lunch

Giving you inexpensive day-trip ideas.

Consider a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago. 

It’s inexpensive.

A roundtrip ticket from the Cary train station to the Ogilvie train station in the Loop is $13.50.

From the Olgilvie station to The Art Institute, it’s a 20-minute walk east on Madison, towards Lake Michigan..

No mistaking The Art Institute of Chicago, it’s the building with the lion statues out front.

No charge to get into the place during “winter weekdays,” although I did check my coat and there was a $1 charge for that, but the person doing the coat checking wouldn’t accept a tip.

Lunch was the best value. I enjoy looking at art much more on a full stomach. I paid $10.50 at the museum’s café for a delicious corned beef sandwich, topped with Swiss cheese and honey mustard.  The sides were homemade potato chips and steamed vegetables.

Many times I’ve been to The Art Institute of Chicago and consider myself a kind of aficionado. I usually do a quick walkthrough and then make a slower second pass.  

When I first starting coming here 20 years ago, I fantasized bumping into Saul Bellow or Studs Terkel. Although I’m a big fan of theirs, in my mind’s eye, I wouldn’t say anything to them. I’d be distant, aloof and reserved … just a fellow writer, soaking up culture.

I did, however, act like a rube last year when I spotted Stephen King at the Museum of Science and Industry.  I was with my sons and frantic when I spotted the legendary horror-fiction writer.

We were standing in a long line, waiting to get in. Stephen King was in line … way behind us.

Now I’m having doubts that it was Stephen King. You would think special measures would be in place. One of the cashiers surely would have recognized King and escorted him through a VIP door.

Tuesday they had the usual at The Art Institute of Chicago, great art from around the world.  

The medieval armor exhibit is my favorite. 

They moved it since the last time I was there.

But I found it.

Museum Hours

Open daily 10:30–5:00
Thursday until 8:00

The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Free Winter Weekdays 2013

Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents every weekday from January 7 through February 13, 2013.

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