Since being converted to the Cultural Center in 1991 (it used to be the Chicago Public Library), this city-block-wide institution now offers free classical concerts Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays. Most of the center’s classical offerings take place in Preston Bradley Hall on the second floor near the Washington Street entrance, but the Claudia Cassidy Theater (named for the Tribune’s venom-penned theater and music critic from the ’40s) on the Randolph Street side is used for experimental concerts, too. Concerts are always free.
|Venue name:||Chicago Cultural Center||Contact:|
78 E Washington St
|Cross street:||at Michigan Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 8am–7pm; Fri 8am–6pm; Sat 9am–6pm; Sun 10am–6pm|
|Transport:||El stop: Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph; Red to Lake. Bus: 3, 4, 6, 10. Train: Elec Main to Millennium Station|
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"Carlos Rolón/Dzine: I Tell You This Sincerely…"
Chicago native Carlos Rolón brings his immersive, site-specific installations to the Chicago Cultural Center to examine the concept of luxury and the touchstones of urban life. Visitors can walk through a re-creation of a boxing trophy den, a Caribbean...Installation Sunday July 31 2016Read more
"Paul Catanese: Visible From Space"
After experimenting with camera-equipped kites, drones and rockets, interdisciplinary artist Paul Catanese became obsessed with the creation of Earthly drawings that could be seen from the moon. Without a lunar module to launch toward our orbiting satellite,...Mixed media Until Tuesday September 27 2016 FreeRead more
Chicago Jazz Festival
Chicago is known for its blues musicians, but these days it's more of a jazz city. The annual Chicago Jazz Festival celebrates contemporary improvisers and legendary players with four days of concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park....Music festivals Thursday September 1 2016 - Sunday September 4 2016 FreeRead more
World Music Festival
Globe-trot through music at this free, citywide fest, featuring artists from around the world. Highlights from this year's lineup include performances by North Indian brass band Red Baraat (Sept 11), Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista (Sept 12), desert...Latin and world Friday September 9 2016 - Sunday September 25 2016 FreeRead more
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The Chicago Cultural Center is one of the more under-appreciated cultural institutions in Chicago, a historic building with architecture that is just as stunning as the works of art it contains. Step inside (go ahead, it's always free!) and you're likely to find an art exhibition on display or a free classical music performance in progress. It doesn't matter if you're a tourist or a local—if you're looking for a bit of culture, you'll find it here.
It's kind of amazing that you can just wander off of the street and into this stunning space for free. What you can actually do inside of the Cultural Center depends largely on the programming, but it's worth a visit just to explore its interiors: the ornate staircases, the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial room and the two glass domes. Of the latter, the Tiffany one is particularly sublime; grab a seat and just admire it.