Open House Chicago – The Tenth Anniversary offers online exploration for 10 days

The Oak Park Art League in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

Open House Chicago expands to 10 days for its 10th anniversary in fall 2020, highlighting South and West Side neighborhoods. The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is pleased to announce the return of Open House Chicago (OHC) for a 10th consecutive year. Part of the worldwide family of 46 Open House events, inaugurated by Open House London in 1992, Open House Chicago is the second-most widely attended event of its kind. OHC engaged 109,000 individuals in 2019, who made 370,000 total site visits to 352 sites in 39 Chicago neighborhoods, plus the near suburbs of Evanston and Oak Park. 

Plant Chicago in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

In support of public health and with sensitivity to the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CAC has reconfigured OHC for outdoor and online attendance from Friday, October 16 through Sunday, October 25. This reimagined OHC framework—designed for individuals, families and small groups that have isolated together—will highlight and promote visitation of specific areas, encouraging foot traffic and participants to patronize local businesses while learning more about the unique histories and stories of these featured areas. 

The Columbus Refectory in Columbus Park on Chicago’s West Side. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

More than 20 Chicago neighborhoods and two suburbs will be highlighted during OHC 2020, with an intentional focus on, and engagement with, areas and corridors prioritized by the City of Chicago’s INVEST South/West initiative including Auburn Gresham, Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Pullman, Roseland and South Shore. Fourteen additional focus areas confirmed to date are Chicago’s Loop, Near North Side and Near West Side plus Beverly, Chinatown, Evanston, Hyde Park, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Oak Park, Pilsen, Rogers Park, Wicker Park and Woodlawn. 

Austin Town Hall in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

Visitors to each OHC 2020 area will be supported in their self-guided exploration by free resources available online at, as well as through an application for mobile devices compatible with both Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) operating systems. Using these free resources, OHC 2020 attendees will be able to explore and select routes on a variety of themes, learn more about buildings and sites of interest in each neighborhood, browse and register for related OHC online programs and more. CAC walking tours continue throughout the festival, some highlighting OHC neighborhoods. 

The Givins Castle in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

Building upon the success of more than 50 remotely accessible CAC Live programs offered continuously by the CAC since April 4, 2020, OHC will include a variety of online events aligned with its 2020 neighborhoods and themes. Featuring guest presenters and representatives from numerous Chicago organizations, these online events may include classes, discussions and lectures, music and performance presentations, virtual tours and other offerings designed to bring the expressions, flavors and voices of OHC 2020 neighborhoods into the homes of people across and far beyond Chicago. 

To further embed OHC 2020 into the neighborhoods it spotlights, the CAC will again engage multiple community-based organizations for advice and mutual support in communications and engagement, route creation, site selection, the development of program content and more. Chambers of commerce, cultural centers and neighborhood associations confirmed to date include 826CHI, Beverly Area Planning Association, Chicago Cultural Alliance, Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chicago Public Library, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Evanston History Center, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, North Lawndale Historical and Cultural Society, Oak Park Art League, Preservation Chicago and The Renaissance Collaborative. Additional community partners will be announced at later dates, as will the complete schedule for OHC 2020 online programs and details regarding the free OHC app for mobile devices. 

The Kehilath Anshe Ma’arav (KAM) Isaiah Israel synagogue in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

Advance registration for most free and paid online events will be required, through the OHC mobile app, at or Current CAC members will receive exclusive benefits and discounts throughout OHC 2020. 

Acknowledgments In addition to continued support from Presenting Sponsor Wintrust, Open House Chicago 2020 is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities through its CARES Act grant program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the TAWANI Foundation and ComEd. 

Open House Chicago 2019 attendees visit Farm on Ogden in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Photo by Anna Munzesheimer

About the Chicago Architecture Center The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1966, dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters. A national leader in architecture and design education, the CAC offers field-leading tours, programs, exhibitions and more that are part of a dynamic journey of lifelong learning. 

Opened to the public in 2018, its riverfront location is in the heart of the city, where Michigan Avenue meets the Chicago River, featuring nearly 10,000 square feet of exhibition space filled with super-sized models—and views—of iconic skyscrapers built over the course of more than a century. Exhibitions focus on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, housing types, leading architects and future projects, and include the largest scale model of the city, with more than 4,250 miniature buildings, interactive touchscreens, and a cinematic backdrop animating key moments in its history. Highly knowledgeable, enthusiastic CAC docents guide visitors and residents through more than 75 walking tours with more than 7,000 annual departures, plus the Chicago Architecture Foundation Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady. 

The Bahá’í House of Worship in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette. Photo by Eric Allix Rogers

Through partnerships with schools and youth-serving organizations, the CAC reaches approximately 30,000 K–12 students annually, while teacher workshops provide educators with tools and resources they need to advance STEM curricula in their classrooms. Committed to increasing access for populations historically under-represented in ACED (architecture, construction, engineering, and design) professions, the CAC offers many of its education programs—and all of its programs for teens—at no cost to participants. CAC programs for adults and members include talks with acclaimed authors and practicing architects, in-depth presentations on issues and trends in urbanism, and classes unlocking a wide range of subjects with connections to the built environment. 

Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academyin Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood. Photo courtesy of the Public Building Commission of Chicago

Proceeds from programs, tours and the CAC Design Store, as well as from grants, sponsorships and donations, support its educational mission. Visit to learn more and follow @chiarchitecture and #chiarchitecture on social media. 

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