CITY GUIDE: CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER | The Chicago Cultural Center, just a few blocks north of the historic Chicago Athletic Association hotel, is a true gem in the city. Set on Michigan Avenue across from Millennium Park, the Cultural Center bustles with art, activity and more all year round.
This gorgeous landmark building with two stained-glass domes (including the world’s largest Tiffany dome) dates back to 1897, a few years after the original Chicago Athletic Association opened, when it was the city’s original public library. It was constructed with imported marble, gorgeous mosaics, beautiful hardwoods and more materials — many of which still deserve your attention today.
You can visit the Chicago Cultural Center seven days a week for a variety of free programming including live music and dance, lecture series, art expositions and more. Wednesdays through Saturdays at 1:15 p.m., partake in a 45- to 60-minute architectural tour of the building (note: these are limited to the first 20 people). On Mondays and Wednesdays, enjoy free chamber music or classic music concerts. Become part of an oral history as you step into the StoryCorps recording booth and tell your story. It’ll get archived at the Library of Congress and may even get read on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Whatever you do at the Cultural Center, even just sipping a coffee on the ground floor while you chat with a friend, you’ll soak up Chicago’s rich history just by stepping into the building.