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2015 Sites

During Open House Chicago 2015, approximately 85,000 attendees made 320,000 visits to 204 sites.


After the devastation brought by the Chicago Fire of 1871, the central business district, known affectionately as “the Loop,” was rebuilt throughout the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s. This process gave birth to the skyscraper through the use of the steel structural skeleton. Today, downtown Chicago is a vibrant residential and commercial district famous worldwide for its innovative and iconic high-rises, boulevards and beautiful civic spaces such as Millennium Park.

Bridgeport / Back of the Yards

Formerly known as Hardscrabble, Bridgeport was created to house the workers who built the 1848 Illinois and Michigan Canal. The adjacent community housed the Union Stock Yards—once the world’s largest livestock processing, distribution and meatpacking facility. “Back of the Yards” housed many of the Irish and German immigrants who worked in the slaughterhouses and factories. Today, Bridgeport boasts numerous artist galleries and coffee shops, while Back of the Yards is home to some of the most cutting-edge sustainable industry and technology in Chicago.


One of the nation's most significant African-American communities sits just south of Downtown. During the "Great Migration" the area became a hotspot for jazz music. It is linked to cultural and social advances such as the Civil Rights movement, Negro League Baseball and Black History Month. Due to its affluent past, Bronzeville contains some of Chicago's most distinguished residential architecture and one of the largest concentrations of historic mansions in the city.


Technically speaking, Edgewater is the newest of Chicago's 77 official "community areas," having split from Uptown in 1980. But in reality, the neighborhood predates the city’s original community area system. In 1886, a real estate developer purchased land in what was then considered a suburb of the city to create a new subdivision. Proximity to the lake and public transit turned Edgewater into a booming residential neighborhood that offered the amenities of both city life and a beach-side vacation town.


Evanston is Chicago's lakefront suburban neighbor to the north. It is the focal point of a group of suburban communities known as the "North Shore." Home to Northwestern University, Evanston has always retained the distinctive character of a quaint university town despite its bustling, urban central business district and a population of 75,000. Evanston is the long-time home of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and was birthplace of the 19th-century Temperance Movement.

Garfield Park / North Lawndale

These communities are home to two of the west side's three public parks that were laid out by William Le Baron Jenney and re-designed by Jens Jensen. The former Central Park—renamed in 1881 after the assassination of President Garfield—features a gold-domed field house and the stunning Garfield Park Conservatory. South Park—renamed Douglas Park after Senator Stephen A. Douglas—sits just blocks from the massive former Sears, Roebuck & Co. complex in North Lawndale.

Goose Island

Goose Island refers to both the island on the north branch of the Chicago River and to the surrounding neighborhood. William B. Ogden, the first mayor of Chicago, created the island when he cut a navigational canal just east of the Chicago River in 1850. The island has remained almost entirely industrial since it was first developed. Few Chicagoans get the chance to explore Goose Island’s unique assortment of buildings.

Hyde Park / Woodlawn

In 1853, Hyde Park was established as a modest commuter neighborhood with frequent train service to downtown. In the 1890s, the combined effects of annexation to the City, the World’s Columbian Exposition and the establishment of the University of Chicago triggered a wave of development in Hyde Park and Woodlawn. The fates of the two neighborhoods diverged over the decades: Hyde Park changed was stabilized by Urban Renewal, while Woodlawn first boomed as a commercial and jazz mecca along the 63rd Street branch of the L, then underwent years of disinvestment. Today, the twin communities are undergoing rapid change linked to the continued growth of the University and the coming of the Obama Presidential Center to Jackson Park.


The large “community area” of Lakeview is almost a city unto itself. The former Township of Lakeview was Chicago's northern neighbor until annexation in 1889. With nearly 100,000 residents, Lakeview includes several of Chicago's most well-known neighborhoods, entertainment districts and cultural attractions. Highlights include Wrigley Field, Boystown, Graceland Cemetery and Chicago's largest off-Loop theater district.

Lincoln Park

This neighborhood shares its name with the sprawling lakefront park that was renamed in 1865 to honor the late Abraham Lincoln. The neighborhood is home to several cultural and educational institutions such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago History Museum, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and DePaul University. Today, Lincoln Park is one of Chicago's most densely-populated and affluent communities and it features an upscale shopping corridor along Armitage.

Lincoln Square / Ravenswood

The names Lincoln Square and Ravenswood are often used interchangeably. “Ravenswood” typically designates the residential neighborhood while “Lincoln Square” often refers to the commercial district radiating out from the six-way intersection of Lawrence, Lincoln and Western. The area has long been known for its German identity, but today you're just as likely to see businesses catering to residents of Asian and Middle Eastern descent. It also contains a former industrial corridor along the Chicago and Northwestern Railway tracks (Ravenswood Avenue) that has been transformed into a unique arts, shopping and craft beverage production district.

Near West Side

Since the 19th century, the Near West Side has been home to some of Chicago's largest ethnic communities including Greektown, Little Italy and Maxwell Street. Despite massive 20th-century public works projects—such as the Eisenhower Expressway, University of Illinois Chicago and the United Center—many remnants of the area's ethnic enclaves still remain. Today, the Near West Side is transitioning from a warehouse district into a thriving dining and residential neighborhood.


Pilsen is named after a city in the Czech Republic and was established in the 1840s as one of Chicago’s earliest working-class immigrant communities. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the area drew large numbers of Bohemian immigrants who found work in manufacturing plants. In the past six decades, the community has become increasingly defined by Mexican residents and businesses. Most recently, a large number of new breweries, restaurants, art galleries and music venues have set up shop in the neighborhood.


This famous planned community was envisioned by George M. Pullman as an all-inclusive model community to house the workers who built his popular passenger rail cars. With leadership from architect Solon Spencer Beman and landscape architect Nathan Barrett, the 1884 community was built entirely by Pullman employees. Though it was once voted "World's Most Perfect Town," reduced wages and high rents led to a worker strike in 1894 that halted rail traffic and impacted the labor movement.

Rogers Park

Rogers Park is, by some measures, the most economically and ethnically diverse neighborhood in Chicago. The beachfront community is home to Loyola University and is located just minutes away from Northwestern University. A trip down any of Rogers Park's main streets reveals an entirely unique cultural experience that seems to transport visitors to destinations around the globe.

South Loop / Prairie Avenue

The South Loop was the city's most fashionable residential area in the late 1800s. It featured more than 90 of the finest mansions in the city, including those of George Pullman, Marshall Field, John J. Glessner and Philip Armour. Prairie Avenue was known as "Millionaire's Row." After an industrial phase in the 20th century, the area has reverted to an upscale Chicago neighborhood that is anchored by several remaining Gilded-Age mansions.

South Shore

In the 1880s, several wealthy Chicagoans were asked to literally move their homes to make way for the 1893 World’s Fair in Jackson Park. The beautiful homes and apartment buildings that were constructed along South Shore Drive and in the Jackson Park Highlands thus created this residential neighborhood. The community is currently undergoing significant revitalization—especially on the Lake Michigan coast—including a visionary redevelopment of the former U.S. Steel Works site.

Ukrainian Village

This community has been a hub of Ukrainian culture since World War I, when a large influx of Ukrainian refugees made this part of Chicago their home. Many aspects of Ukrainian culture still exist in the area today—along with influences from the cultures of German, Polish, Slovak and Jewish settlers.

West Town

The greater Near Northwest Side of Chicago has long been a complex puzzle of distinct neighborhoods with constantly changing cultural identities and shifting boundaries. Enclaves such as the Polish Triangle, Noble Square, Pulaski Park, Wicker Park and the East Village all retain characteristics of their storied pasts, but they have recently undergone significant gentrification.