'Explore Like a Local' - Open House Chicago returns in person this weekend | MCUTimes

‘Explore Like a Local’ – Open House Chicago returns in person this weekend

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to travel around the city this weekend because Open House Chicago is back in person this year.

The annual event, hosted by the Chicago Architecture Center, has more than 100 locations spread across 30 neighborhoods, suburbs of the North Shore and Oak Park.

While last year’s open house was virtual, this year opens historic buildings, recycled spaces and renovated halls to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

“The weekend’s big thing is always architecture,” said Hallie Rosen, CAC director of program operations and head of Open House Chicago 2021. “But I think now the theme is really exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods – not just thinking about architecture, but that think in terms of historical context and even cultural contexts. ”

Although things are back in person this year, masks are required in all indoor locations. The events start at 10.00 and ends at. 17.00 both days.

Visitors can start their weekend at the Far Southwest Side’s Beverly-Morgan Park area, where Chicago’s only castle resides.

Beverly's Givins Castle was built as a gift to owner Robert C. Givins' wife and in hopes of bringing housing growth near the Rock Island Line, according to the CAC,

Beverly’s Givins Castle was built as a gift for owner Robert C. Givins’ wife and in hopes of bringing housing growth near the Rock Island Line, according to CAC.
Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

Givins Castle, known by neighbors as “Irish Castle”, at 10255 S. Seeley Ave. was built in 1887 for $ 80,000 to Robert C. Givins’ wife.

Today, the castle is home to the Beverly Unitarian Church. The castle will be open all day Saturday.

For a more modern feel, visitors can head over to The Plant at 1400 W. 46th St. This back of the yard’s research building is home to 20 small food businesses. Indoor and outdoor farms, beer and kombucha breweries and a bread bakery are some of the shops in this former meat packing plant.

From kl. 10 to 16 both days, food production rooms that are normally closed to the public will be open, and food and beverages produced and grown at The Plant can be purchased.

This former 100,000-square-foot meat pack in Back of the Yards is home to 20 small food businesses.

This former 100,000-square-foot meat pack in Back of the Yards is home to 20 small food businesses.
Pat Nabong / Sun-Times

But it would not be Open House Chicago without the return of some favorites, like The Forum in Bronzeville.

According to the CAC, the red brick building at 324 E. 43rd St. Bronzeville’s oldest town hall. It was built by and for black Americans in 1897 and became an epicenter of the Black Metropolis.

“It survived what I call ‘Darkz of Bronzeville’, where much of Bronzeville’s business closed down because we had lost so much of our population and because of all the disinvestment and the lows affecting our society,” Bernard Loyd said , chairman of Urban Juncture, which owns the building.

Loyd said the building is currently under renovation: since last year’s Open House, the two main roofs have been replaced and work is now underway on windows and halls.

On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can see the most “iconic” part of the building: Forum Hall.

“It’s just a space that smells of history,” Loyd said. “When you walk in, you can feel the layers of history. … Everything from Nat King Cole playing on that stage, major civil rights activities in space, dancing through the decades – all of this has happened in the hall. ”

While in Bronzeville, visitors can also use the Open House Chicago mobile app to find self-guided tours. Trails can also be found in Chinatown, Logan Square and Oak Park.

The app, launched last year, has become an integral part of this year’s event, Rosen said.

“We have fewer places than we’ve had in the past, but there’s actually a lot more to do in a neighborhood when you get there,” she explained. “You can visit a site — or two — and then you can go on a guided tour of that neighborhood. If you get hungry or you think “What else can I do?” we also have another section on the app called ‘Explore as a Local.’ “

New venues at this year’s events include The Penthouse in Hyde Park and the Pullman National Monument Visitor Information Center, which opened in September.

New self-guided tours through the app include “Obama in Hyde Park,” which takes visitors through where Obama lived in the Kenwood-Hyde Park area, and a Great Chicago Fire tour that recognizes the 150th anniversary of the legendary brand.

Chicagoans can continue to use the app after the weekend’s events to find more virtual CAC events taking place throughout the month, e.g. Tuesday “In Case You Missed It: New Buildings From Our Pandemic Year.”

A complete list of sites, self-guided tours and upcoming events can be found at openhousechicago.org/sites/.

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