Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

Author: Amanda Scotese

Amanda Scotese started the tour company Chicago Detours, so she can have a legitimate excuse for wandering Chicago and geeking out on architecture. She dug in to anything Chicago, especially architecture and urban geography, through the Masters of Arts Program in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. Her travel writing has appeared in Rick Steves' Italy travel guidebooks, Trazzler, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the Chicago Detours blog.

Chicago Architecture Biennial

From Oct. 3, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016, the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial will showcase innovation in contemporary architecture with exhibitions, installations and a slew of engaging events. The programming appeals to both the stuffiest of architecture geeks to the everyday visitor wanting to better understand ideas in architecture today.  

Best Books on Chicago Architecture

Friday, June 12, 2015 12:00 AM by Amanda Scotese

Chicago Architecture

When you're touring Chicago, a little background on its architecture can really help you spot the architectural highlights around you. To learn about the city's architecture, you can explore the city by various walking or bus tours of Chicago architecture, such as with my company Chicago Detours, or of course you can cuddle up with a good book. Here are some great introductory books on Chicago architecture. 

Alta Vista - Credit Eric Alix Rogers

Stumble upon this little one-block historic district and you may feel like you have been whisked away to a European neighborhood with its harmonious design and small scale. 

The residential Alta Vista Terrace District is found on Chicago's North Side, specifically in the Lakeview neighborhood. Developer Samuel Eberly Gross had multiple architects design this set of 40 homes in 1903-1904 specifically to resemble London town homes.

Milwaukee Damen Avenue

Many people associate Wicker Park's Six Corners with nightlife, shopping and young professionals. An official Historic District lies along Milwaukee Avenue just southeast of Damen Avenue. Many pedestrians are likely so dazzled by the wares in the windows that they might not notice the beauty of the historic buildings around them. 

The Design of Maggie Daley Park

Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:00 AM by Amanda Scotese

Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon

As if Millennium Park weren't enough of an attraction, now Chicago is very much excited for the new Maggie Daley Park. While we may think of parks as places of nature, they involve an incredible amount of design of architecture. Landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh has envisioned this new park, and here is an overview of its history and its visually enticing and interactive features. 

Gold Coast

Because Michigan Avenue was developed in the 1920s as a sort of extension to downtown, which is officially south of the river, several beautiful buildings line the street among the flashy newness of a shoppers dream. This part of Michigan Avenue, north of the river, is called The Magnificent Mile, or "Mag Mile" for short. And while your experience of Chicago will likely entail some of the newest restaurants, postmodern skyscrapers, and perhaps the new Maggie Daley Park next to Millennium Park, you can stay in a place of beautiful historic ambience right on the Mag Mile. 

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Building

Studio Gang Architects has been creating quite a buzz. Founded by principal Jeannie Gang, the Chicago architecture firm really started turning heads with the completion of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago in 2009. The 82-story mixed use residential skyscraper, often highlighted on Chicago architecture boat tours, boldly revolutionized the Chicago skyline with its undulating exterior curves.

With Jeanne Gang's leadership and innovation in design, the firm has been producing cultural, educational and recreational buildings both large and small around the world, and including hometown Chicago. Most recently, their projects here have created vibrant public spaces of varying uses. 

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