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One of our favorite free events in Chicago is Open House Chicago.  There will be over 200 buildings open that are otherwise closed to the public. There are a wide variety of places opening their doors and letting you in to see what you normally do not get to see. There are: condo buildings, churches, architecture firms, universities, private homes and of course lots of historic buildings participating. The sites are spread out all over Chicago and even into the suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park.

This fun event has one drawback; there are so many interesting sites it is hard to decide what to see. Fortunately the Chicago Architectural Foundation has created a helpful website that describes all of the sites. We recommend looking through their site by neighborhood, picking the neighborhood you want to spend the day and then deciding what sites in that neighborhood you want to see. A word of warning sites in Downtown Chicago can be busy and have a wait.

We at Chicago Social Media Marketers have taken advantage of this event every year and have been to dozens of the sites.  We have created this list of the 10 best sites but all of the sites are worth a visit.

Top 10 Open House Chicago Sites:

1.       Brewster Building (Lincoln Park)- Without a doubt our favorite residential building in Chicago. The exterior is beautiful but the inside is the true show stopper. Wrought iron walkways and a throwback elevator are the highlights.

2.       The Rookery (Loop)- Designed by Burnham and Root, completed in 1888, and renovated by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. The best lobby in Chicago. Note it is only open on Sunday.

3.       Edgewater Beach Apartments (Edgewater)- Anyone who has ever driven to the north end of Lake Shore Drive has seen this large pink building. Part of a hotel complex built almost 100 years ago the building has unique indoor pool and the size of the grounds will make any city dweller jealous.

4.       Glessner House Museum & Clarke House Museum (South Loop)- You get 2 for the price of one. They are separate homes but they sit on the same lot. The Clark House is oldest home in Chicago and the Glessner House is a unique mansion worth seeing.

5.       Chicago Board of Trade Building (Loop)- An Art Deco masterpiece. Pay special attention to the elevators and go into the basement to check out the massive walk-in vault.

6.       Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (Loop)- One of the giants in the architecture world. If you are an architecture buff this is a chance to get a behind the scenes look.

7.       Zap Props Bridgeport)-  Not an architectural site it is a 36,000-square-foot warehouse with an inventory of hundreds of thousands of items rented as props for movies, TV shows, plays and other occasions.

8.       Evanston History Center (Dawes House) (Evanston)- We ventured out of Chicago to Evanston for this one. A truly stunning mansion that was once home to a Vice President of the United States.

9.       Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (Oak Park)- Worth the trip not only to see a beautiful home but also to learn about one of the giants of American architecture. There are also some other sites worth a visit in Oak Park.

10.   Columbia Yacht Club (Downtown)- Anyone who has ridden their bike of the Chicago Lakefront has passed this large ship anchored just south of Navy Pier. While it is not the most interesting site it is a chance to finally see what it looks like on the inside.

 


 

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