Have you ever walked by a building and thought,
I wish I could see what's inside?
Now you can.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) is proud to present Open House Chicago, a free, city-wide, behind-the-scenes look at many of the city’s great places and spaces.
75,000 visitors attended Open House Chicago 2014. The 5th annual Open House Chicago will take place on October 17-18, 2015. During that weekend, visitors will have access to over 150 buildings across Chicago. Explore repurposed mansions, hidden rooms, sacred spaces, private clubs, iconic theatres, offices, hotels and more—all for free.
CAF inspires people to discover why design matters. Open House Chicago (OHC) gives you access to buildings that tell the stories of Chicago communities and cultures. By venturing into diverse neighborhoods for self-guided exploration, OHC participants come together to discover community and place.
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 17-18, 2015!
Plan your Open House Chicago experience
- For additional details, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
- To see highlights from 2014, follow CAF on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #OHC2014.
- Subscribe to OHC enews for the latest announcements and exclusive updates.
- Book a hotel for your stay in Chicago during OHC.
CAF members also receive priority access to OHC sites, so join today for an enhanced OHC experience and great year-round benefits.
Are you curious?
Open House Chicago: 150 cool places. 48 hours. Go.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation would like to thank our 2014 sponsors and our community partners:
- Bridgeport / Back of the Yards: Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council and Public Media Institute
- Bronzeville: Quad Communities Development Corporation and Bronzeville Area Residents and Commerce Council
- Downtown: Building Owners and Managers Association, Chicago Loop Alliance and the Magnificent Mile Association
- Edgewater: 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman’s Office, Edgewater Historical Society and Edgewater Chamber of Commerce
- Garfield Park / North Lawndale: Foundation for Homan Square
- Gold Coast
- Goose Island
- Hyde Park: South East Chicago Commission
- Lincoln Park: Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
- Lincoln Square / Ravenswood: 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar’s Office, Lincoln Square / Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, Ravenswood Community Council
- Near West Side / West Town: West Loop Community Organization
- Prairie Avenue District: Glessner House Museum
- Pullman: Historic Pullman Foundation and Pullman State Historic Site
- Rogers Park: Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society and the Rogers Park Business Alliance
- South Shore: South Shore Chamber, Inc.
- Ukrainian Village: Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association
- Uptown: Uptown United
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Open House Chicago?
The Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago (OHC) is a FREE annual festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to over 150 of Chicago's greatest places and spaces. This October, explore the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago's diverse neighborhoods—all for free. OHC is part of the Open House Worldwide network of events now spanning 23 cities on four continents.
When is Open House Chicago?
OHC is an annual festival held one weekend every October. In 2015, OHC will be on Saturday and Sunday, October 17-18 from 9am-5pm. Times vary depending on specific sites; check the site list for details. The updated site list will be available in summer 2015.
Who is organizing Open House Chicago?
OHC began in 2011 as a new initiative of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), a top ten Chicago cultural institution that celebrates the city's architecture with tours, exhibitions, programs, special events and other adult and youth education experiences. CAF's mission is to inspire people to discover why design matters. For more information, please visit architecture.org.
OHC is organized in partnership with community development and cultural organizations across the city. These organizations provide critical support in such areas as site identification, program development, grassroots marketing, volunteer recruitment and on-site support during the event weekend. A complete list of partners can be found here. OHC also enjoys the support of several sponsors as well as city and state agencies involved with tourism, culture and economic development.
Sites and Locations
What kinds of sites will be involved in Open House Chicago?
OHC weekend will provide access to a wide variety of sites with diverse styles and functions. Locations include: private clubs, residential spaces, offices, hotels, theaters and performance halls, design/architecture studios, schools, places of worship as well as manufacturing, cultural and government facilities. This diverse selection of sites allows visitors to plan an itinerary according to their own specific interests.
Where are the sites located?
OHC weekend is a citywide event that includes more than 150 sites located in many neighborhoods. The sites in these neighborhoods reflect the cultural diversity and history of Chicago, as well as the unique character of each community:
- Bridgeport / Back of the Yards
- Garfield Park / North Lawndale
- Gold Coast
- Goose Island
- Hyde Park
- Lincoln Park
- Lincoln Square / Ravenswood
- Near West Side / West Town
- Prairie Avenue District
- Rogers Park
- South Shore
- Ukrainian Village
Your OHC experience
How do I plan my OHC weekend experience?
To plan out sites and communities to visit during OHC, browse the site list pages of this website. Participants can also pick up a copy of the Open House Chicago Event Guide in the October 15, 2015 issue of the Chicago Tribune. To stay up-to-date on the latest OHC developments, sign-up for enews.
Will there be a printed directory of OHC sites?
Yes! The Chicago Tribune will be printing 500,000 copies of the OHC Event Guide and packaging them in their full regular circulation on Thursday, October 15, 2014. Free directories will also be available at OHC sites and at the CAF headquarters at 224 South Michigan Avenue during the event weekend.
What's the best way to get to, from and between OHC sites?
Divvy, Chicago's bike-sharing system, and CTA buses and trains are great modes of transit during OHC.
CTA and Divvy work well when used together—take CTA from one community to another then hop on a Divvy bike to navigate from one building to the next! Many sites are also within walking distance of one another. Some OHC communities have free parking available.
What is the Priority Access Pass and who gets to go in the priority line?
OHC volunteers, CAF members, and OHC sponsors/VIPs will receive priority access to all sites. When enough people start to gather at a site—creating the need for lines—two lines will be formed: one for the general public and another, shorter line for volunteers, members and VIPs. To get a Priority Access Pass, become a CAF member or volunteer for OHC!
Sponsors, members and volunteers make OHC possible
Who sponsors Open House Chicago?
Kemper Corporation is the presenting sponsor of Open House Chicago. OHC is also supported by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works. Sponsors include the James S. Kemper Foundation, ComEd and the Chicago Transit Authority. Our media sponsors are the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and WBEZ 91.5. Additionally, over a dozen community partners worked with the Chicago Architecture Foundation to plan Open House Chicago.
What are the OHC benefits for CAF members?
OHC would not be possible without the generous support of CAF members. CAF members have priority access at all OHC sites, allowing them to see Chicago's great places and spaces without the wait. New this year, members will also have access to members-only sites. Year-round membership benefits include free walking tours and a discount at the CAF shop. Learn more about becoming a CAF member here.
What's involved in volunteering for OHC?
Volunteering is simple and the benefits are great! CAF is looking for volunteers to staff 150+ OHC sites throughout the city. Volunteers collect visitor information and help control admission to OHC sites. All volunteers receive a commemorative T-shirt, a 15% discount at the CAF shop, 50% off a CAF membership, two free walking tour passes and priority access (skip the lines!) at all OHC sites. For more information, visit the volunteer page.