Your Guide to Open House Chicago 2017

Your Guide to Open House Chicago 2017

Your Guide to Open House Chicago 2017

It’s that time of year again! The most magical time of the year has finally arrived. Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House weekend opens up over 200 sites across the city to the public. Entering its seventh year, Open House Chicago (OHC) allows the public to see these architectural masterpieces up close and personal. Explore all the city has to offer and so much more.

This year the Logan Square and Avondale neighborhoods make their OHC debut showing some great venues like the Stan Mansion, Aloft Circus Arts production facilities for Metropolis Coffee and Revolution Brewing. These buildings will add to an already impressive lineup of structures. OHC features everything from the Aon building (one of the tallest buildings in the city) and the Chicago Board of Trade Building to the Columbia Yacht Club and Chicago Loop Synagogue. These buildings and hundreds more will be featured during this FREE event.

Things to know before you go:

1. Free admission:
This is a free event. That’s true, but you must pay close attention to some buildings of interest. The Lake Point Tower requires a RSVP and the Prudential Plaza is open only to Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) members. Be sure to check which buildings require an RSVP or are open only to members.

2. Schedule:
Pay attention to the hours each building is open. OHC is open for the weekend of October 14 and 15, but some buildings are only open one of the two days or have limited hours. If there are certain buildings you really want to see, prioritize those and make sure you check the hours that they’re open. Make a schedule and plan out a route to make your trips and time most efficient.

3. Explore:
Don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone. There are so many places to see and many different styles of architecture to experience. Explore high-tech offices at Capital One or see the intricate Art Deco details at the Civic Opera Building. No matter if you’re exploring or re-exploring a favorite, you’re bound to find something new and interesting to see.

4. Consider membership:
As mentioned some buildings are only allowing access to CAF members, which means if you’re not one you can’t get in. If there’s no way you’ll miss the chance to see the Wrigley Building or Prudential Plaza, consider investing in a CAF membership package. A basic individual package starts at $70 and a family of two adults and four kids under 18 starts at $90 for a family membership. While $70 might seem steep aside from access to restricted buildings, members often have priority lines at the buildings. The membership itself also includes a buy-one-get-one free ticket option for Chicago’s First Lady River Cruises (alone a $46 value).

5. Check if photography is allowed:
Most people visiting these sites want to take photos. It’s only natural these are spectacular sites you might now otherwise see. Many photographers come out of the woodworks to get to these sites and race to capture the best photo. If getting photos is your number one goal during the weekend, it would be in your best interest to search which sites aren’t allowing photography at all. Several sites aren’t allowing photography, including the Goodman Theatre, the Wrigley Building and the Chicago Transit Authority Control Center.

OHC is a free annual festival for the weekend of October 14 – 15. Open hours vary by site, but generally open hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. over the weekend. For more updates, a list of sites and hours, visit: