About Open House Chicago

October 19-20 2024

Every October, the Chicago Architecture Center is proud to host Open House Chicago—a free public festival that offers self-guided history and architecture trails throughout Chicago, talks and programming, and behind-the-scenes access to architecturally, historically and culturally significant sites across the city. Open House Chicago remains one of the largest events of its kind in the world.

In 2023 we highlighted more than 20 Chicago neighborhoods, 170 sites, and outdoor exploration on themes of neighborhood investment, community engagement, historic preservation and more.

Open House 2024 is planned for October 19-20. We look forward to seeing you there!

OHC Archive

Photos and information about past sites from Open House Chicago starting in 2015 are available in our archive.

Volunteer for OHC 2024

Volunteers are needed to greet and assist visitors at 100+ sites throughout the city. As a thank you, each volunteer receives great benefits, including a Priority Access Pass which lets you skip long lines.

Members Get Priority Access

Members enjoy year-round benefits including discounts in the design store and on tours, early access to exhibitions, and exclusive member-only events.

Become a Member

What is Chicago Open House?

Open House Chicago (OHC) is a free annual festival hosted by the Chicago Architecture Center that offers behind-the-scenes access to buildings of architectural, cultural and historical significance during one weekend in October.

Who organizes Chicago Open House?

Since 2011, the Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) has produced each Open House Chicago festival. The CAC is a nonprofit cultural institution that offers tours, exhibitions, programs and events for all ages. The CAC's mission is to inspire people to discover why design matters. The CAC collaborates with community partners (such as chambers of commerce, neighborhood organizations, arts and culture organizations and historical societies) each year to present Open House Chicago. OHC is also made possible through generous support from festival sponsors, donors and government agencies.

What kinds of site are included in Open House Chicago and where are they located?

OHC is a citywide event, with sites and events distributed throughout multiple neighborhoods, areas and select Chicago suburbs. OHC sites and neighborhoods represent the cultural diversity and dynamic history of Chicago, as well as the unique character of each community.

How are sites selected for inclusion in Open House Chicago?

CAC staff members curate OHC sites in accordance with multiple criteria. Site consideration and selection may also be informed by each year's festival focus and themes. Proposals for site inclusion are not generally solicited. See links in the “Stay in the Know” section above to get timely updates about the CAC's plans for the next OHC.

What's the best way to navigate the city during Open House Chicago?

Divvy, Chicago's bike-sharing system, and CTA buses and trains are great modes of transit during OHC. Many neighborhoods are easily accessible by CTA. Many sites and self-guided tours are typically located within walking distance of one another. For sites and Self-guided tours not located along CTA routes, Metra train service is available. Some OHC neighborhoods have free or metered street parking.

What are OHC programs and how can I attend?

Discover captivating events and activities at various Open House Chicago sites throughout the weekend. These experiences are designed to celebrate architecture, delve into Chicago's rich history, and showcase local businesses and organizations. Explore the offerings of each site by visiting their respective pages and viewing the 'Visitor Experience' section.

Which OHC benefits do CAC members recieve?

CAC members receive exclusive benefits and discounts throughout Open House Chicago. More information about specific discounts and benefits can be found here.
If you need a replacement membership card, please call the CAC Call Center at 312.922.8687 or email membership@architecture.org.

Are there Open House programs in other cities?

OHC is part of the Open House Worldwide family of related events. Open House started in London in 1992 and launched in the United States in 2002 with Open House New York. Now, more than 50 cities around the world have adopted Open House, creating the first global architecture festival reaching more than 1 million people. Visit openhouseworldwide.org to learn more. Similar events called Doors Open are held annually in cities including Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

Thank you to our OHC 2023 sponsors