The Adler Planetarium

Adam Alexander Photography

Adam Alexander Photography

Cities are notoriously horrible locations for stargazing because of light pollution clouding the atmosphere and blocking our view of the stars. The exception to this is the Adler Planetarium, a premier astronomy facility with incredible exhibitions and beautifully choreographed film showings on astronomy topics. Located conveniently in Grant Park near the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium is a great way to explore our place in the universe without ever having to leave the Windy City.

As soon as the doors open at 9:30, head to the many exhibits featuring collections and scientifically accurate narratives explaining the importance of space exploration. The mission of the planetarium is to engender curiosity, to inspire young generations and adults to gain an understanding of the universe as we know it, and encourage further exploration into the truly final frontier.

Visit the newest exhibit, Mission Moon, to learn about the history of the lunar missions, then explore how the night sky should look without light pollution at Hidden Wonders, and even see how the sky looked over Chicago in 1913 at the Historic Atwood Sphere. The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time leads you on a spectacular journey through our current scientific knowledge of the cosmos from the time of the Big Bang to the present day.

End up at the Grainger Sky Theater, Adler’s largest theater, to see a showing of Cosmic Wonder, a show that tells the narrative of our historic fascination with the cosmos and our scientific advancement. This gorgeous film leads you through vast, colorful landscapes of deep purple nebulae and burning stars, across galaxies and black holes, all giving you a full look into the depths of the universe as few people have seen.