FREE Open House Chicago Includes More than 100 Sites

Come check out the FREE Chicago Architecture Center public festival, which is “one of the largest events of its kind in the world,” according to the event’s website,  Every October, the Chicago Architecture Center is proud to host Open House Chicago—a free public festival that offers self-guided history and architecture trails throughout Chicago, talks and programming, and behind-the-scenes access to architecturally, historically and culturally significant sites across the city.   This year’s festival will build on the success of the OHC 2020 mobile app to bring expanded content directly to your mobile phone.

The 2021 edition of Open House Chicago will feature self-guided tours of more than 100 sites in over 30 neighborhoods, many not typically open to the public. Most are free and open for in-person visits from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16 and Sunday, Oct. 17.

In 2020 and again this year, other Open House programs have had to be virtual. This year’s virtual programs include “In Case You Missed It: New Buildings from Our Pandemic Year,” featuring a panel of architects and designers, and “Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in the Face of Urban Change,” which includes conversations with representatives of the Bronzeville Historical Society, the Chinese American Museum of Chicago and the National Hellenic Museum. Registration for these programs is through the Open House Chicago website.



There is also an Open House Chicago app available at the website, Along with the maps and programs, the app includes content on shopping, dining and other attractions in the various neighborhoods where the featured sites are located.

This year’s program highlights more than 30 Chicago neighborhoods, North Shore suburbs and Oak Park, with 30 trails for self-guided, outdoor exploration on themes including community engagement, green spaces, historic preservation, residential architecture and more. OHC 2021 also includes a broad array of talks and virtual programs, as well as tips and itineraries for exploring shopping, dining, and other attractions in each neighborhood.


Browse the list of sites or see them on a map.   During this year’s Open House Chicago, you can step inside the Central Standard Building, formerly the Continental Illinois Bank Building, stands across LaSalle Street from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, two neoclassical near-twins guarding the main intersection of Chicago’s financial district. Interior spaces include a mix of neoclassical and Gothic Revival architecture with Art Deco influences, most notably a massive 88,000-square-foot grand banking hall on the second floor, recently restored. The building stands on the site of the former Grand Pacific Hotel, where the continental United States was officially divided into four standard time zones in 1883, an event commemorated by the building’s name and a plaque on Jackson Street.


Be awe-struck by Wintrust’s Grand Banking Hall. The rooftop deck and basement vault will not be accessible this year.


chicago open house wintrust banking hall





Have you ever walked by a Chicago building and thought, I wish I could see what’s inside?


The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago (OHC) is the city’s annual architecture festival. For one weekend in October you can explore Chicago’s most iconic and unique architectural treasures. From mansions to sacred spaces, theaters to private clubs, hotels to secret rooms—OHC gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at many of the city’s great spaces that are rarely, if ever, open to the public.  Here’s your chance to venture into new neighborhoods, learn the stories of Chicago’s buildings and experience the diversity and culture of each community.   OHC is completely free-of-charge—no registration or tickets are needed. So gather your friends, plan your itinerary and mark your calendar for October 13-14, 2018!


the regal theater chicago-open-house-2016-3
The Regal Theater in Chicago

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