22 Chicago music and arts buildings to add to your Open House Chicago 2019 itinerary

By Keegan Morris |

Share this Post

The South Shore Cultural Center (Photo: Eric Allix Rogers)

From downtown's soaring steel and glass skyscrapers to the iconic residential greystone, Chicago has impressive, beautiful, and revolutionary buildings practically everywhere you look. Each fall, the Chicago Architecture Center celebrates the city's many architectural treasures both big and small with Open House Chicago, the two-day festival which lets opens many of these buildings for the public to explore for free!

This year's Open House Chicago features a slate of nearly 350 buildings, which is a lot to fit in to just two days. So WFMT has found 22 music and arts buildings that we think you won't want to miss!

Listings organized geographically



Loyola University Mundelein Center

1020 W. Sheridan Rd. • Rogers Park • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

This unique Art Deco building has a stunning views of both the Loyola campus and Lake Michigan and is now home to Loyola University’s theater, music, and dance departments.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Copernicus Center

5216 W. Lawrence Ave. • Jefferson Park • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

A converted movie palace in Jefferson Park, the Copernicus Center is now a Polish cultural center that hosts concerts, events, and the city’s annual Taste of Polonia, which is the largest Polish Festival in the USA.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Irish American Heritage Center

4626 N. Knox Ave. • Irving Park • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Not only will Irish dance lessons, short films, and popup performances await visitors this Open House Chicago weekend, but the Irish American Heritage Center will host the annual Irish Books, Arts and Music celebration concurrently, so there’s many an opportunity to immerse yourself in Irish culture.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Portage Lofts Arts Center

4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. • Portage Park • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

This striking Portage Park building was once a furniture store, but it is now an arts incubator that can count Filament Theatre and Chicago Ballet Center among its residents.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Athenaeum Theatre

2936 N. Southport Ave. • Lakeview • Link
Saturday, October 19: Closed • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

The West-Lakeview performance hall opened in 1911, which makes it the oldest “continuously-operating off-Loop theater in Chicago.” Through its lifetime, Athenaeum audiences have seen standup sets, Shakespeare performances, and everything in between. Now, the intimate venue often hosts Chicago area ensembles like the Lakeview Orchestra and Thompson Street Opera.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Logan Square Auditorium

2539 N. Kedzie Blvd. • Logan Square • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Sited across the street from the public square that gives Logan Square its name, this elegant, multi-use ballroom hosts weddings and concerts.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Flatiron Arts Building

1579 N. Milwaukee Ave. • Wicker Park • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Art is in the air at this prominently-located Wicker Park site. Designed as an office, the triangular Holabird & Roche building has been a home for artists since the ‘60s. Today, it houses a tattoo parlor, an Irish dance company, a pyrotechnic company, and a theater, just to name a few.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



St. John Cantius Roman Catholic Church

825 N. Carpenter St. • West Town • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: Closed

The Baroque sacred space, and its grand organ, are an ideal backdrop for the church’s slate of devotional and choral music by Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and Schubert.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



St. James Episcopal Cathedral

65 E. Huron St. • Near North Side • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This warmly-designed place of worship is the site of music making year round. The cathedral also serves as a teaching location for the Music Institute of Chicago and as the setting for the Rush Hour Concerts, the free summer series!

St James Cathedral (Photo: Craig Sinclair, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)



House of Blues

330 N. State St. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The design for interior of the House of Blues is based on the Estavovski Opera House, but the North Loop auditorium tends to host high-octane blues, rock, and metal performances.

Chicago House of Blues (Photo Chicago Architecture Today, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)



Goodman Theatre

170 N. Dearborn St. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 11:45 am • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 11:45 am

The Tony-winning theater company opened in its current location in 2000. Since then, it has hosted a range of productions, including The Music Man and The Winter’s Tale, as well as the company’s traditional holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol.



Broadway in Chicago’s James M Nederlander Theatre

24 W. Randolph St. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: Closed

You may not know the name (the Loop theater underwent a name change in 2018), but chances are you’ve at least walked past the splashy, centrally-located performance hall once or twice. Which would you put you in good company: it’s played host to such luminaries as Duke Ellington and Judy Garland in addition to staged productions of Wicked and Billy Elliot.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Harris Theater for Music and Dance

205 E. Randolph St. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: Closed

The Harris Theater celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2018, but even for an institution in its (relative) adolescence, the theater hosts a unique range of music and dance, often performed by companies from around the world.

Photo: HBRA Architects, Hedrich Blessing



The Chicago Cultural Center featuring the Chicago Architecture Biennial

24 W. Randolph St. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: Closed

As the *ahem* cultural hub of the city, there’s manifold art in the Cultural Center: festivals, free weekly classical music performances, and through January, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, all housed under the largest Tiffany glass dome in the world.



The Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park

201 E. Randolph St. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

The Pritzker Pavilion hosts an abundance of free public performances of jazz, blues, and of course, classical music. With its striking design by Frank Gehry, the Pritzker Pavilion makes Millennium Park a vibrant, accessible musical hub for the city.

Photo courtesy Chicago Architecture Center



Lyric Opera of Chicago

10 N. Wacker Dr. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: Closed

Even if you’ve seen a performance (or three) at Lyric, this is a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of this storied Art Deco opera house.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Fine Arts Building

410 S. Michigan Ave. • The Loop • Link
Saturday, October 19: Closed • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Walking into this 1885 building is like walking into a piece of musical history. Its halls are home to all arts, but music is particularly well represented with a bevy of instrument builders and dealers, music pedagogues, shops, and studios, plus housing the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and the Studebaker Theater.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



Thalia Hall

1807 S. Allport St. • Pilsen • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Only recently restored in 2013, Pilsen’s Thalia Hall is one of the hippest venues for popular indie, alternative, and rock groups, with a restaurant and cocktail bar to boot. But what concertgoers might not realize is that the popular theater was modeled off of the Prague Opera Hall.


Photos: Eric Allix Rogers



The Forum

324 E. 43rd St. • Bronzeville • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

This 1897 social hall was once the gathering ground for Bronzeville, and may have the longest surviving hardwood dance floor in the city. During its lifetime, the Forum hosted union meetings, political rallies, and musical performances. Now, after falling into disrepair over a nearly 30-year vacancy, the Forum has been saved from demolition.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers



UChicago Green Line Performing Arts Center

329 E. Garfield Blvd. • Washington Park • Link
Saturday, October 19: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm

One of the South Side’s newest performance spaces, the Green Line Performing Arts Center was designed in part by artist and UChicago professor Theaster Gates, whose previous projects includes the Stony Island Arts Bank. Since opening last November, the Washington Park-based Green Line Performing Arts Center has hosted theater, book readings, and classical performances, as well as a monthly jazz series.

Photo: Hall + Merrick Photographers



South Shore Cultural Center

7059 S. South Shore Dr. • South Shore • Link
Saturday, October 19: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm • Sunday, October 20: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

The historic, stunning South Shore Cultural Center has been the site of too many arts and music events to count. In addition to being a frequent host to the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (who will be performing at the Cultural Center after the Open House festivities this Sunday evening) and the South Shore Opera company, it is also the site of the South Shore Cultural Center School of the Arts.

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers


For more information visit openhousechicago.org