Why are most of a city’s most beautiful spaces not granted public access? Even those that do might limit admission with entrance fees, while others are completely closed off to the public. Wouldn't it be nice to see what lies behind the closed doors of some of Chicago’s most emblematic buildings?

Thanks to the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), once a year, the public is invited to explore the inside of usually locked up buildings—completely free of charge.

The CAF hosts Open House Chicago, an event held one October weekend a year, that grants people behind-the-scenes access to over 200 of the most beautiful architectural wonders in 20 Chicago neighborhoods that aren't normally open to the public.

The catch? The event only runs for a 48 hour period, so you’ll have to be judicious with how you spend your time that weekend to check out as many buildings as possible before they’re closed off for another year.

This year, the event is happening on October 14-15, 2017, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. There will be no tickets or entrance fees collected, and admission is at a first-come-first-serve basis. Just show up within the event hours to get a peek into Chicago’s mysterious but beautiful buildings featured during Open House Chicago.


The Yale Building originally offered luxury apartments for visitors to the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. ⠀ ⠀ 📷: @ericallixrogers

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What to Expect During Open House Chicago

Now on its 7th year, new neighborhoods and places are constantly being added to the roster of buildings to explore during Open House Chicago. Logan Square and Avondale are two neighborhoods that will be making their debut, specifically with the Stan Mansion and Aloft Circus Church (a historic church building adapted into an art school) added to this year’s lineup. Visitors will also get the chance to visit the production facilities of Metropolis Coffee and Revolution Brewing.

This year, Pilsen and Ravenswood also make their return, with Chicago Scenic Studios, KOVAL Distillery, and Half Acre Beer Company. If you’ve attended Open House Chicago in recent years, note that Rogers Park will be temporarily stepping out of the lineup this year.


Places to Visit During Open House Chicago


Not sure what to put on your list for this year’s Open House Chicago? Consider the following fan favorites:

Some sites are closed on Sunday, like the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, so it’s recommended to plan your Open House Chicago festivities ahead of time by checking out the Open House Chicago map to choose specific sights and neighborhoods.


Will you be taking part in Open House Chicago? What are you adding to your list? Let us know in the comments below and share your #OHC2017 photos along the way with @chiarchitecture and @choosechicago.