If you see a lot of people lining up outside of buildings this weekend don’t ask questions. Just stand in line and experience the hidden gems available to see through Open House Chicago.
For 48 hours this festival from the Chicago Architecture Foundation gives the public free, exclusive access to 200 hidden gems and architectural landmarks that are rarely ever seen by the public. While downtown has plenty of buildings to see the festival stretches across 19 different neighborhoods. As a visitor you’ll notice that practically every inch of the city has some architectural and historical significance, and locals will appreciate their walks to and from work a lot more when they learn about the majesties they’ve been walking past for so long.
If you can only stay in the downtown area don’t miss visiting the Suite of Presidents at the Blackstone Renaissance Hotel where 12 sitting presidents have stayed, exploring the inside of the vault at the Chicago Board of Trade Building, traversing the glass-block walkways of the famous Rookery building, and admiring the Venetian Court in the Fine Arts Building. For those able to explore outside of the Loop make sure to visit the Ignite Glass Studios in the near West Side for glass-blowing demonstrations, the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, the historic indoor pool in Rogers Park’s Casa Bonita, the artwork housed in the terra cotta Stony Island Arts Bank in South Shore, the majestic dome at Sts. Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukrainian Village, the sky-lit atrium in the Yale Building in Englewood, and much more.
Open House Chicago takes places Oct. 15–16 at various sites across the city. It is free to attend, but some locations might be for members only or require an RSVP. For a complete list of sites and creating an itinerary for the 48 hours make sure to visit openhousechicago.org.