Oct 13, 2022 - 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: The biggest event of its kind in the world, OHC grants free access to buildings in 20 Chicago neighborhoods, north shore suburbs and Oak Park, along with 10 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 tells Axios.

  • "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!

  • Plus, CAC members and OHC volunteers can access shorter lines.
  • Keep up by following CAC on social media and searching #OHC2022 for other visitors' hot finds.

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

  • Her goals this year are "to see the Wintrust Banking Hall (Downtown), The Forum (Bronzeville), The Wasteshed (Humboldt Park), Pleasant Home (Oak Park) and the Central Park Theater (North Lawndale)."

The big picture: "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!"

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