Free tour Chicago Cultural Center. The Chicago Cultural Center is currently closed. Due to the pandemic the DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) budget has been cut by 50% so no idea when it will re-open.
78 E. Washington St., Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd floor south, 312-744-6630. Virtual
Learn about our gorgeous Chicago Cultural Center with Video Tours lead by recently retired Chicago Historian Tim Samuelsson.
About the Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center, opened in 1897, was the first permanent Chicago Public Library after the original library was lost in the Chicago fire in 1871. In addition to the library the building was also a Grand Army of the Republic Memorial (on the north side) dedicated to Northern soldiers who fought in the Civil War. All the Civil War artifacts once displayed here are now located at the Harold Washington Library. Here’s the buildings extensive history.
The City of Chicago refers to it as “a People’s Palace – a celebration of the arts, education, Chicago, and the world.”
There is also a free building tour showcasing the Greek-inspired (north side) and Roman-inspired (south side) architecture, two domes (one of which is the world’s largest Tiffany Dome) and ornate multi-colored mosaics, marble and decorative molding.
Public Group Tours: Tours are presented Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 1:15 pm. Tours meet in the Randolph Street lobby. The group will be limited to the first twenty people. To schedule tours for groups of ten or more at other times, contact Anna Marie Gazzi at 312.744.7917. Private Group Tours: Trained docents will conduct free, prearranged private tours for adult groups on Mondays though Fridays, 9 am-3 pm. Private tours are not available during weekends. Private tours are designed for adults and teenagers 13 years and over. Group sizes are limited, call for details. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance of the scheduled date by calling 312.744.7917. Private tours begin at the Chicago Cultural Center Information Desk in the Randolph Street lobby. All self-guided group tours must check in with security upon entry.