Chicago Open House – Chicago Magazine
Are you the type to peek inside neighbors’ windows as you pass by, just, well, because? Then you’ll love keeping yourself busy during Open House Chicago. Each October, more than a hundred of the city’s most beautiful and intriguing spaces open their doors to the public, completely free of charge. Presented by the Chicago Architecture Center, the weekend event features sites in nearly every neighborhood.
Due to the restrictions linked to the pandemic, no building was open to the public during the Open House Chicago 2020. The event nonetheless continued: the CAC developed an application that guided users through the districts and thematic trails of the city, highlighting the remarkable buildings along the route.
Open House Chicago 2021 will be a hybrid event with indoor tours, as well as self-guided trails on the OHC2021 app. The stops for the self-guided tours are still mostly outdoor, but the app (available for download from the Google Play and Apple app stores) is packed with historical and architectural information. We’ve selected a mix of skyscrapers, theaters, and luxury hotels – all completely new to OHC this year – that, for a treasured weekend, you’re absolutely encouraged to poke around.
Sites not to be missed
Bank of America Tower Chicago is addicted to building skyscrapers – check out one of our latest, the Bank of America Tower, a 56-story Modernist structure erected last year. Nestled by the river, it is the tallest office building built here since Two Prudential Plaza in 1990. 110 N. Wacker Dr.
Quinn Chapel Home to Chicago’s oldest black congregation, this Bronzeville AME church has stood in its current location since 1891. For generations, Quinn Chapel has been a center of social and political activism – WEB Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr. have spoke here. 2401 S. Wabash Avenue.
Sable Hotel at Navy Pier What is it, you say? Couldn’t you get paid to go to Navy Pier? Once you’ve taken in the stunning skyline and lake views from this luxury hotel, which opened in March, you might start spending your money on a stay here. 900 E. Grand Avenue.
Illinois Holocaust Museum Don’t sleep on free admission to participating OHC museums, including this one. Discover his current exhibition, Shanghai: a haven of peace during the Holocaust, featuring photographs of European Jews who took refuge from the Nazis in China. 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie
Unmissable self-guided trails
Great Chicago Fire Trail October 8 marks the 150th anniversary of Ms. O’Leary’s barn fire, the first of 17,450 buildings to burn down over the next two days. Sites include the Roger Quinn Fire Academy (on the site of the O’Leary House), St. Ignatius College Prep, rescue cabins in Old Town, and the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue.
Obama Trail Astrally project yourself in the shoes of the young and future presidential couple on this tour of Kenwood and Hyde Park. You’ll see (the exterior) the Obama’s Georgian Rectory, University of Chicago Law School, and the former first couple’s favorite local businesses including 57th Street Books and Valois Restaurant.
Helmut Jahn City Center Trail Explore the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s modernist protege, killed in a bicycle accident this spring. Stop by the Thompson Center, the Chicago Board of Trade, and the Chicago Architecture Center itself, for the exhibit Helmut Jahn + Life + Architecture.
Uptown Entertainment District Trail Broadway and Lawrence has some of Chicago’s most revered and ornate performance venues. Take the red line back to the Jazz Age and take a peek at the Green Mill, Aragon Ballroom, and Uptown Theater.