"Open House weekend" Top 5 Page for this destination Chicago Architecture Foundation - CAF Tip by Dabs

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  • - Chicago

Open House October 17-18, 2015

Chicago has joined a number of other international cities in offering an Open House weekend, the 5th Open House weekend was October 17-18, 2015. The Open House is free to visitors and is sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. In 2015 they featured 19 areas that had more than 200 sights open to the public, some of them central including downtown and the Gold Coast which is great for those without cars; some just outside the central area that are easy to reach including Evanston, Pullman and Lincoln Park and further afield neighborhoods including Hyde Park, South Shore, Rogers Park, Bridgeport/Back of the Yards and Pilsen that are much easier to tour with a car.

Even with a car we couldn't visit all of the area so we concentrated on Hyde Park, Bridgeport/Back of the Yards and the west side on Saturday and then downtown on Sunday without a car. It helps to pick up one of the guides (or print from their website) and figure out a route so you are not zig zagging around town. Some of the places are open year round, some of the ones that offer tours regularly give abbreviated tours for the Open House. Some of the participants are just trying to drum up business. We managed to skip the ones that seemed like they were on the tour to drum up business although we did cut out of one tour when it became clear it was less about the building than the architectural firm; but most of the places were really cool.

Every year there's one place that I think is really cool that doesn't haven't regular access, this year it was the Aon Building, the 3rd tallest building in Chicago, which had a vacant floor open with 360 degree views of the city. Other years it was the boardroom of Marshall Field's (OK, I know it's Macy's but the carpet is still Marshall Field green), Col. McCormick's office in the Tribune Tower, and the Emil Bach house, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs that was not open to the public at the time.

If you become a member of the CAF you get priority access but over the years I tend to only pick one place with a long line, this year it was the Chicago Athletic Association which I found out you could see most of any given day.

Website: http://www.openhousechicago.org/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 22, 2015
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Comments (1)

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Windsor has Open House weekends also, usually in September. I love to go to places that are usually not open to the public and drag Hansi along with me. One year I wanted to visit the Sikh Mosque and Hansi wasn't too thrilled about it. Well, he enjoyed it immensely. The local Sikh community even offered their traditional food for visitors to sample. And we got a personalized tour of the Mosque. All in all a wonderful experience.

    • Dabs's Profile Photo
      Oct 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      You should come when they are doing the Chicago one, they have some really cool buildings open! It's always in October.

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