Services to Assist in Mobility
Wheelchairs are available free of charge for your visit at the coat checks on the first and second floors. Supplies are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Services for People Who Are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing
When possible, the MCA provides sign language interpretation, open captioning, and assistive listening devices for performances and activities in our theater as well as for talks, tours, or educational programs. These preplanned services are often denoted on the event’s page.
If you are in need of a particular service during your visit to the museum, our Visitor Experience staff will do their best to accommodate. If you would like more information, or have any questions, you can email Box Office staff at [email protected].
Services for People Who Are Blind, Color-Blind, or Have Low Vision
EnChroma color blindness–correcting glasses are available for individual visits and tours. When possible we provide audio description for performances and activities in our theater. If you are interested in these services, you can email the Box Office team at [email protected]. Advance notice helps us to plan for your visit. In addition to on-site offerings, we are working to provide descriptions of artworks on our website in both short and long description formats through an initiative to describe images called Coyote.
Large-print guides for the galleries are available for check out at our admissions desks.
Visitors with disabilities and their caregivers receive free admission to the museum.
When purchasing museum admission tickets or tickets to an event, please indicate if you are interested in any of our accessibility services by emailing the Box Office. We recommend that you make arrangements two weeks in advance of your visit.
The MCA’s parking garage has accessible parking spaces and we offer $16 flat-rate parking for those who use those spaces. Stop by the admissions desk or coat check for an accessible parking validation.
Service animals are welcome inside the MCA. Pets that are not registered as service animals, including emotional support animals, are not allowed inside the MCA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” Service animals must be on a leash and under their master’s control at all times. Emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not allowed inside the MCA.
The MCA has sensory kits available for visitors. Please seek out a friendly Visitor Experience staff member who would be glad to help you check one out.
Navigating the MCA
Check out our recommended routes to different areas of the museum or consult our Visual Guide so you can explore the galleries, find the nearest restroom, eat at Marisol, shop in the MCA Store, and enjoy a performance in the theater.
There are three ways to enter the museum. The accessible, plaza-level entrances are located at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Mies van der Rohe Way (through the MCA Store) and at the corner of East Pearson Street and Mies van der Rohe Way (the restaurant and theater entrance). Optionally, you can climb the front staircase, located along Mies van der Rohe Way, to the main entrance on the second floor.
For drop off, cars can pull over on Mies van der Rohe Way, which runs directly in front of the museum, between Chicago Avenue and Pearson Street. Curb cuts appropriate for wheelchair access, are available on each street corner.
Galleries are located on the second, third, and fourth floors of the museum and are accessible by the north elevator. Second- and fourth-floor galleries are also accessible by the south elevator.
Need a break? The third-floor balcony is an ideal spot to sit and observe the Lefkofsky Lobby below.
Multiuser men’s and women’s restrooms are available in the first-floor lobby and come equipped with baby-changing stations. Take the north elevator or staircase to the first floor. Restrooms are on either side of the theater entrance (men’s to the left; women’s to the right).
Single-use, all-gender restrooms are located in the Commons on the second floor, accessible by the north and south elevators. Restrooms are located on either side of the south wall, to your right when entering the Commons from the atrium.
If you have any questions or are in need of a private restroom or a place to breastfeed, please seek out a friendly Visitor Experience staff member who would be glad to help.
Our Education Center is located on the third floor, on the east-facing side of the museum’s building. You can access the Education Center via the northeast stairwell or the northeast elevator connected to Marisol and The Commons on the second floor.
Marisol Restaurant and Bar is located on the first floor of the museum with an accessible entrance, the Griffin Entrance, at the corner of Mies van der Rohe Way and Pearson Street. From inside the museum it is accessible by the north elevator and staircase as well as the northeast stairwell and elevator in the second-floor Commons.
The MCA Store is located at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Mies van der Rohe Way, with an accessible entrance on the MCA plaza. From inside the museum you can access the store through the Kovler Atrium and the south elevator. If you’re coming from the Edlis Neeson Theater, take the elevator or stairs to the second floor and cross the atrium.
For events on the Kern Terrace, automatic doors open to the the Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden. From the terrace, a ramp leads down to the sculpture garden.
During the summer, take a shortcut through the garden entrance. Usually locked, gates are open every day Memorial Day through Labor Day so you can drop by for lunch on the lawn or enjoy Tuesdays on the Terrace with ease.
Thank you for your patience while we improve accessibility to our sculpture garden. Handicap access will not be affected during construction.
The Edlis Neeson Theater entrance is located in the first-floor lobby of the museum. Use the Griffin Entrance on the corner of Mies van der Rohe Way and Pearson Street; from inside the museum it is accessible by the north elevator and staircase.
We encourage you to call our Box Office team at 312-397-4010 before attending events in the Edlis Neeson Theater. A team member can lead you to our wheelchair accessible seating or have an assistive listening device ready, free of charge.
For information on accessibility options such as American Sign Language interpretation, open captioning, relaxed performances, and audio description, email the Box Office at least two weeks in advance.
Need a place to take a break, rest, reflect, pray, or breastfeed?
Check out our Quiet Space on the first floor of the museum, near the Griffin entrance. This space includes seating and tissues, and locks from the inside for privacy.
This space is available to visitors for their personal use. If you need longer than 30 minutes, talk to a Visitor Experience staff member at the first-floor admissions desk. Learn more about the space on our FAQ page.
This website was designed with accessibility in mind, and every effort has been made to comply with the website standards articulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (WC3) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Our efforts to create a site that adheres to best practices in accessible design and that is also generous and experimental in its accommodations for visitors with vision, hearing, or cognitive impairments have been supported by Sina Bahram, one of the museum community’s leading accessibility consultants and advocates. Together, we have developed a series of projects that we hope will serve as a model for art museums hoping to reach and support members of the disability community.
One of the most exciting and groundbreaking of these initiatives is Coyote, a toolkit and project to create and publish visual descriptions of the images on this site. Our Coyote software, developed with Sina Bahram’s team at Prime Access Consulting, is an open source tool that we are pleased to be able to share with the museum community. Here at the MCA it has been used by staff from across the museum to produce image descriptions that allow people who are blind or visually impaired to engage more fully with the visual arts.
The popularity of these image descriptions—previously available only to people equipped with screen readers—has encouraged us to share them with all site visitors. As of January 2018, an on/off toggle on mcachicago.org was added to the navigation. This allows a website visitor to turn on visual descriptions for many of the images on our site.
We are happy to hear from members of the community who have questions about our website accessibility practices; please write to us at [email protected] with any suggestions or questions.
The Coyote project has been supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation.