Updated Oct 10, 2023 - Things to Do

Pro tips for Open House Chicago

Church sanctuary

Kenwood United Church of Christ. Photo: Anna Munzesheimer

It's Open House Chicago weekend, when hundreds of buildings unlock their doors to thousands of architecture nerds.

Driving the news: One of the biggest events of its kind in the world, OHC grants free access to buildings in 20+ neighborhoods, along with self-guided tours. It runs Saturday and Sunday.

  • So how can newbies navigate this two-day building blitz?

What they're saying: The key to a great OHC experience is planning, Chicago Architecture Center's (CAC) Jennifer McElroy told Axios last year.

  • "Download the new CAC OHC app for a complete list of all the neighborhoods, sites and programs," she advises.
  • "Next pick maybe four or five sites each day depending on their location and your ambition!"

Yes, but: "Take note of sites that indicate long lines and plan to get there right when they open. They are worth the wait!"

What's more: "You can enhance your experience all month long with our complementary programs and self-guided tours throughout October," McElroy says.

The bottom line: "Expand your horizons and plan to visit a neighborhood that you've never been to before," McElroy says. "There are true gems all around the city!"

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the 2023 event.

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