Appreciating American writers in Chicago


06 April 2022
The American Writers Museum in Chicago is the perfect place to admire North-American writers. Make sure your ESTA or visa is sorted out in advance.
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The American Writers Museum in Chicago, Illinois, is a somewhat underappreciated Valhalla for anyone interested in literature, music and history. In this article, we’ll go over what makes this place so special not just for book lovers, but for people who can appreciate written art in all its forms.

Celebrating writing in all its forms

When we think of “writing”, most people think of novels, short stories, poems and similar literary concepts. But writing includes far more than that. Think for example of songs of all genres, which take a special kind of narrative creativity, or movie scripts, which have to take into account a variety of outside influences. The American Writers Museum is the epitome of the base concept of writing, the pure, undistilled written word. From the works of Edgar Allan Poe to Tupac’s greatest hits, you’ll find them all in this Chicago museum.

It should be noted that, as the name suggests, the museum focuses exclusively on American writers. But, considering the country has produced so many great artists, there is certainly no shortage of content. Not only can you look at their actual works, there are a variety of displays that track the lives and travels of writers like Steinbeck and Hemingway. The museum is filled with all kinds on interactive exhibits, so if you think it’s going to be a boring stroll while looking at bland exhibits, you’re in for a surprise. Think of touchscreens, a “waterfall of words”, or an old-school typewriter where you can sit down and start typing a collaborative story. There’s also a special section for children’s books, if you want to take the whole family (or if you just like children’s books).

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Don’t be fooled by the apparent small size of the museum. Expect to spend at least an hour wandering its various halls. And once you’re done here, you can explore more of Chicago, because the city has a number of great locations for book lovers: the Newberry Library at Walton Street, the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum along Oak Park Avenue, and a whole bunch of bookstores. If you’re looking for a specific book or literary experience, chances are you’ll find it in Chicago.

How to get there: tickets, routes and ESTA

The American Writers Museum is easily reachable through a variety of ways. Their website has handy routes depending on which direction you’re coming from, as well as guides for public transport. Visitors from outside the USA also need to take into account their ESTA or visa application. Tourists from a European country can make use of the easier (and much cheaper) ESTA application. ESTAs are generally approved within a day or two. Other nationalities may require a visa application instead, which usually takes a few weeks, as you have to make an appointment for an interview at the embassy.

The museum is open Monday-Thursday, from 10am to 5pm. Adult tickets cost $14 per person, while seniors (65+) have to pay just $9. Entry for children is entirely free. The museum is handicap-accessible.


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