Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Open House Chicago October 28, 2014

DSC_0027Have you ever heard of Open House Chicago? I hadn’t either until I saw a post my cousin Pat placed on Facebook.  It’s an event that the Chicago Architecture Foundation sponsors where 150 otherwise private buildings open their doors for people to look around.  Sounds intriguing right?  Sorry to disappoint you,  but it was two weekends ago so you’ll need to wait until next year to attend.  I saw my cousin’s post on that Friday and immediately wanted to go.  I had a bit of a packed weekend and didn’t really know how I was going to fit it in.  On top of my planning issue, I wanted a fancy camera with me to capture what was sure to be amazing sites.  Problem is my main camera is my iPhone.  Not what I had in mind.  I was going to try to get up early Saturday to go but it didn’t happen.  I did some things around the house and the apartment ended up a lot cleaner, but I was kicking myself for not going.  Still when I went to bed Saturday I wasn’t sure if I would go.  I woke up Sunday and started thinking of excuses and reasons not to go, but then I got a little fed up with myself and decided to just go.  I reminded myself that I live 20 minutes from Chicago and even if I got to see 1 place, I would be pleased that I went at all.

My sweetheart dad stopped by to bring me his camera and show me how the different lenses work and my sister agreed to go with me!  After picking her up and grabbing some coffee {or in my case hot chocolate} we were on our way to the city.  We found street parking right away and I realized everything was a lot easier than I was making it out to be.  We hit up the Chicago Board of Trade building first.  They were allowing people to see the vault in the basement.  When we arrived they told us it would be an hour wait, but luckily that was a gross overestimate.  We made it down to the vault in about 15 minutes and got to take a walk inside.  I was most impressed by the door and the size of the hinges on that thing!  It was very crowded and sweltering down there so after a few minutes we made our way outside

vault 2


and headed East to see The Blackstone.  It’s a hotel that over 12 US Presidents have stayed in {Roosevelt  all the way to Carter}.  After that it fell into disrepair and it wasn’t until 2008 that it was restored and reopened.  A guy in line at the vault told us ‘if we wanted to see luxury’ to check out the Hyatt near the Blackstone so that was our next stop.  The main attraction there was the ‘Jewel Boxes.’ These are silver additions to the hotel that President Obama, among other fancy people, have stayed in.  Honestly, with both of these hotels, the best part was the view.  I have no pictures of the Hyatt’s interior.


I had made a quick list at home and Kate was fine with seeing those so although we were near some other sites, we hurried North up to Randolph so we could see the Joffery Ballet practice space and The Oriental Theatre.  We both agreed that the Joffery Ballet was our least favorite stop.  We had to wait in a long line and were not impressed once inside.  It was more an advertisement for the ballet company than showing you much of the building.  The practice space we saw did have a great view, but otherwise we didn’t see much of the building at all.  We quickly exited and walked one block West to the Theatre.  Neither of us could remember if we’ve ever been to a show there, but both agreed that we probably wouldn’t have noticed all the details with the crowds that usually accompany a show.  Since we were in a bit of a hurry, we didn’t have time to listen to the gentleman in the theater talking history, but god just look at these details:



The last spot we were hoping to see was the Lyric Opera House.  We were trying to make it over there and see it before our parking meter was up and we needed to make it back to the car.  Unfortunately we figured out that that site had closed earlier in the day at 1:30pm.  It wasn’t meant to be, but we did make one last stop at Union Station where they had 2 spaces open off the huge main hall: the Women’s and Men’s Lounges.  Which by the way aren’t lounges anymore.  The Men’s is an art gallery and the Women’s is literally a storage space for Christmas decorations.  The only nice part was the cellist playing in that space.  It’s always nice to see the hall though and I snapped a few of my favorite details so it wasn’t a total loss.

We made it back to the car the same minute our parking ran out and were pleased to see we had pretty much reached our FitBit step goals for the day {always a pleasant surprise}.  I was so glad I went and now I am even more excited to go next year.  I think I will plan a bit more and maybe even go down Saturday and Sunday so I can see more places.



2 Responses to “Open House Chicago”

  1. That vault door is so intricate and impressive! I’ve never heard of Chicago’s open house but would love to go! Great post!

    • Uncharted Says:

      After the views of the lake, the vault was my favorite part of the day! Felt like we were seeing something we shouldn’t be. You have to go next year, you’ll love it!

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