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Propose an Open House Chicago site

Think your site has the makings of a great Open House Chicago destination?

OHC welcomes proposals for potential new sites. Proposals received after May 1, 2020 will typically be considered for inclusion in OHC 2021, and responses to new proposals may be delayed. Please review the information below before submitting a proposal.

What kinds of sites are included in OHC?

OHC includes a wide variety of sites. Proposed sites should meet at least two of the criteria below:

  • Architectural significance—designed by an important architect or designer, or an example of a significant period or style
  • Historical significance—associated with important past events or people
  • Cultural significance—important to citywide or local community culture
  • Environmental sustainability—foregrounds outstanding "green" features
  • "Wow" factor—dramatic, unexpected, novel, fun or photogenic visitor experience
  • Not routinely open to public
  • Paid admission—fee must be waived for OHC
  • Brand new or newsworthy—site has recently opened or is otherwise timely
  • Milestone anniversary—OHC can be part of celebrating a major anniversary year
  • Located near past OHC sites

In addition, sites must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Must be able to safely accommodate visitor traffic that might range from several hundred to several thousand over the two days of the event. Proof of commercial general liability insurance is generally required.
  • Occupied residences cannot be featured. Common areas and vacant units of multi-unit buildings can be included. Discrete areas of single-family homes that are in use for commercial purposes may be considered as well.
  • OHC visitors must access some interior portion of a site. OHC does not include walking tours, wider geographic districts/areas, or exterior-only site experiences.
  • There is no fee for being an OHC site, but sites must be able to bear any costs they incur as a result of their participation in OHC.
  • Sites must be located in the City of Chicago or adjacent municipalities.

Who can propose a site?

You can propose a site if you are authorized to commit it to participate in OHC (you own or manage the site yourself), or if you can directly connect CAC staff to a person with that authority.

If you submit a proposal for a site with which you are not affiliated, you may not receive a response.

Past sites that are interested in being featured again should not submit a proposal, but should instead email

What happens after you propose a site?

Every proposal will be carefully evaluated by CAC staff in light of the criteria and requirements above. The decision to include a site is made at the sole discretion of CAC staff, and regrettably, not all qualified sites can be included in the event each year.

If your site is identified as a candidate for inclusion in OHC 2020. CAC staff will follow up to schedule a site visit and meeting. This is an opportunity to learn more about your site, review the sign-up process, and discuss logistical considerations.

If your site is not invited to participate in OHC 2020, you will receive an explanation of the decision, and your proposal will be retained for consideration in future years. If you have questions about the site proposal process you can email

Proposals received after May 1, 2020 will typically be considered for inclusion in OHC 2021 and responses to new proposals may be delayed.