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15 must-see spots during Open House Chicago

Written by
Time Out Chicago editors
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Open House Chicago is the one time of the year when all the city's doors are open, literally. We get to take a peek inside places normally closed off to the public and look around like the nosy Chicagoans we are. This weekend, you owe it to yourself to get out and explore a new neighborhood, with more than 200 venues to see—including 60 new sites this year. We've made our top picks of the venues we're most excited to check out this weekend: 

1. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio: For a weekend filled with the city's greatest architecture, we'd all be remiss not to take advantage of this inside look at the home and studio dotted with special Wright touches from the time he occupied the space.

2. Yale Building: Engelwood's addition as an Open House neighborhood makes this easily one of the most exciting new buildings to check out this year, with a skylit atrium reminiscent of the French Quarter in New Orleans.

3. Salvation Army College for Officer Training: Originally one of the city's largest mansions, this grand building has been the property of the Salvation Army for more than 90 years and has housed more than 7,000 officers in training.

4. Studio Gang Architects: Take a break from your weekend of exploring the works of some of Chicago's finest architects from decades past to get an inside look at the hottest architecture firm of the present, located in the former Polish National Alliance building.

5. Elks National Memorial: A surprise crowd favorite year after year, the grand rotunda is always worth a visit when the opportunity presents itself.

6. Colvin House: This Prairie style mansion will soon become an events and co-working space on the north side. This weekend is the first time the building has been open to the public since it was originally built in the early 1900s.

7. Fine Arts Building: Located in the Loop, this classic building houses a concert hall, artist studios and the only surviving hand operated elevator in Chicago.

8. The Rookery: This building was originally designed by Burnham and later renovated by Wright, so it really doesn't get much more Chicago than that. Guests can access the glass-block walkways above the atrium and explore the architecture that landed this building on the National Register of Historic Places.

9. Park Castle Condominiums: The exterior of this building looks like a castle, as it's name would suggest, and once inside you can explore the indoor pool and other architectural intricacies that make these condos so unique.

10. Chicago Scenic Studios: This spot is never open to the public, so take advantage of this rare opportunity to explore this design and fabrication studio, which produces work for museums, theaters and more.

11. Pleasant Home: With the addition of Oak Park to the Open House schedule there's no surprise that there's an influx of Prarie style homes to check out, but this non-Frank Lloyd Wright building is probably one of the best early examples of the style synonymous with the area.

12. Edgewater Beach Apartments: This is your chance to poke around the massive pink building dotting the north end of the city's lakefront and explore the award-winning gardens.

13. AON Center: The best part of exploring this building will likely be the views on display from the 71st floor.

14. 1807 W Sunnyside: There's an airstream on top of this building, that should be more than enough to pique anyone's interest.

15. Carbide and Carbon Building: We're huge fans of this building, even listing it as the most beautiful building in Chicago, so an opportunity to pop inside and take a peek around is not one that should be passed up. 

Most buildings are open Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm, but the check the schedule before visiting to confirm as some locations have more limited hours. The entire weekend is free and open to the public, so get out there and see more of the city. 

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