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Top 5 OHC Sites for Kids Ages 8 to 12

Inspire your budding architects with these family-friendly spots.

Yes, OHC is an event for architecture enthusiasts, design fans, and adults who are curious about the built environment, but it can also be a great event to inspire the kiddos in our lives. So, get the kids and put these OHC stops on your list…you could be inspiring the future Frank Lloyd Wright or Jeanne Gang!


332 E. 51st St.

Boxville is Chicago’s first shipping container-based retail center and street food market. It all started with one box—the Bike Box in 2014— which provides affordable bike repairs in the heart of Bronzeville. It has since expanded to a 17 container open-air marketplace full of art, music, food and a variety of businesses. Kids are sure to love the vibrant environment, tasty food and inspiring stories of the entrepreneurs who have created a commerce community like no other in the city.

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McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

376 N. Michigan Ave.

With its giant gears, movable bridges and 5-story spiral staircase, kids will love exploring the McCormick Bridgehouse & Museum. This landmark bridgehouse gives people an opportunity to journey through time as they experience the story of the Chicago River. Once at the top, you’ll be treated to a magnificent 360-degree view of the city and river.

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Blackstone Branch Library

4904 S. Lake Park Ave.

Offering a walk through maritime history, the Chicago Maritime Museum will appeal to kids of all ages who enjoy learning about boats, sunken ships, steam-powered vessels and sailing. The 10,000 square foot museum explores Chicago's evolution as defined by its location between the Mississippi and Great Lakes, and helps visitors understand the impact our waterways have on our ecology and well-being.

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Tree House Humane Society

7225 N. Western Ave.

Animal lovers will certainly enjoy visiting our furry friends at Tree House Humane Society during OHC2021. While Tree House has been helping cats find loving families for decades, in 2017 they moved into a new, specially designed home. This structure is home to eleven cat colonies, nine of which have access to outdoor enclosures. The whole building is designed to be eco-friendly, with energy-efficient floor heating and extensive skylights.

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Working Bikes

2434 S. Western Ave.

Kids love bikes. Adults love bikes. Everyone loves bikes. That’s why Working Bikes is a must-see for families during OHC 2021. Working Bikes is a nonprofit that refurbishes discarded and donated bikes, then sells them affordably to local users or ships them to other countries where cheap bikes are needed. In addition to doing good, they are a veritable museum of everything pedal-powered including bikes of unusual sizes, makes or models, as well as contraptions that pump water or play records.

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Every child is an artist, and every artist yearns for inspiration. Take this opportunity to inspire your budding Castillo or Duarte on the Pilsen Mosaics self-guided walking tour, available on the OHC App. As the hub of the Mexican muralist movement, Pilsen murals and mosaics are a melding of cultural and religious identity while also showcasing great stylistic diversity on houses, schools, alleyways, doors and more. Bring some paper and crayons and challenge your little one to sketch out a creation of their own. We’d love to see them! 

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