Chicago's One Big Open House

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Friday, October 14, 2011 - 10:48am

Chicago is considered one of the most architecturally significant and beautiful cities in the world. The stars of the show are the skyscrapers that make our skyline so stunning, but there are buildings scattered throughout the city that also have something to say, and often are the hubs of their communities.

Open House Chicago is inviting everyone to explore over 100 of these gems. Doors to places like Lake Point Tower, the only residential building east of Lake Shore Drive, and Swift Mansion, an 1893 home clad in marble that now houses the Inner-City Youth Foundation, will be open to anyone who cares to walk in.

There are no tickets and no reservations. You simply visit openhousechicago.org to see what places are participating and schedule your own itinerary. You can even filter the locations by either geography or category, and they've made it easy to get around with free shuttles that will transport visitors from neighborhood to neighborhood with the exception of downtown. While the weekend is not specifically targeted for children (and frankly some may be bored looking at a bunch of buildings!) there are over 20 programs that are designed to engage kids.

The event is hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, but as Managing Director Bastiaan Bouma said at yesterday's press conference, "it's free to the public, but it's not free." The event is supported in large part by Allstate and The Chicago Community Trust, and they all have a common goal of building community by showcasing these jewels.

Chicago is so much more than just a large place. It's a community of neighborhoods that are individual and interconnected. The sum of those parts is what makes this such an amazing metropolis and Open House Chicago is a perfect way to explore, learn, interact, and fall in love with this city all over again.

Photo is a view of the Chicago River from the 6th floor of the Chicago Motor Club, one of the historic buildings opening its doors for Open House Chicago.

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Theresa Carter

Theresa Carter is the founder and publisher of The Local Tourist. 

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