Everything you need to know about visiting the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602).
On any given day at the Chicago Cultural Center, you might find a free classical concert being performed, an art exhibition on display in one of the building’s many galleries or tourists marveling at the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome. Don’t worry about paying for admission—nearly everything that happens in this building is free and open to the public. Housed in a structure that’s as wide as an entire city block and dates back to 1897 (when it originally housed the Chicago Public Library), the Chicago Cultural Center provides a place for citizens and visitors alike to experience amazing art and beautiful architecture without spending a cent.
Scope out the Tiffany dome
Head for the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall to see the building’s architectural crown jewel: a stain glass Tiffany dome that’s 38 feet in diameter. Made up of 30,000 individual panes of glass, the dome was renovated in 2008 to allow the dizzying display to once again be lit with natural light. If you’re up for more neck craning, walk to the nearby Grand Army of the Republic Hall, which boasts neo-classical stained glass dome.
Class it up at a free concert
You’ll find free classical music in the Preston Bradley Hall every Wednesday from 12:15–1pm, featuring pianists, violinist, cellists and other emerging performers. On the first and fourth Mondays of each month, Preston Bradley Hall hosts chamber music, including jazz and vocalists, from 12:15-1pm.
Our Chicago editorial team is constantly updating and reviewing the best attractions, activities and venues across the city, so that you're always in the know, with the best of Chicago at your fingertips. Chicago Cultural Center was most recently updated with new tips on June 28, 2017.
|Venue name:||Chicago Cultural Center | Chicago, IL||Contact:|
78 E Washington St
|Cross street:||at Michigan Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 9am–7pm; Fri 9am–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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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.