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 20 cities on four continents.
When is Open House Chicago?
OHC is an annual festival held one weekend every October. In 2013, OHC will be on Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20 from 9am-5pm. Times vary depending on specific sites; check the site list for details.
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 (new)
- Garfield Park / North Lawndale
- Gold Coast
- Hyde Park
- Lincoln Park (new)
- Prairie Avenue District
- Pullman (new)
- Near West Side (new)
- Rogers Park / West Ridge
- South Shore
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 17 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! Download a copy here. 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 17, 2013. 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. Divvy is offering discounted 24-hour passes this weekend only. To claim a discount code, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Divvy will reply between 9am-5pm every day until Sunday evening with a code to redeem at any station.
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, such as Garfield Park, South Shore and Pullman, 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 ComEd, the Chicago Transit Authority and Room & Board. Our media sponsors are the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. Open House Chicago is also made possible by the support of CAF members and individual donors.
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.
- View the members-only sites
- Read the Open House Chicago FAQs for members
- Learn more about becoming a member
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.