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Chicago Cultural Center

The Cultural Center Chicago IL

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Chicago Cultural Center Information

Info

Hours:
Mon.- Thurs. 8am- 7pm, Fri. 8am- 6pm, Sat. 9am- 6pm & Sun. 10am- 6pm

When to Go:
Weekdays are quietest

Seasonal Information:
Open Year-Round

Important Information:
The Chicago Cultural Center caters to those who need accessible features.

Chicago Cultural Center

Quick Facts

  • The Cultural Center Chicago houses some of the best Chicago art galleries, exhibits, musical performances and more in a neoclassical Chicago building built in 1897.
  • Chicago events regularly hosted by the Chicago Cultural Museum include live music, Chicago tours and film showcases.
  • The Chicago Cultural Center is regarded as perhaps the best free attraction in Chicago.  

Address:
78 East Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
View Map



User Average Review

Overall:
4.25
Location:
4.5
Information:
4
Fun Factor:
3.5

Based on 2 reviews

Rating Distribution

4.3 out of 5 Stars

100.0% recommended it

Chicago Cultural Center Reviews

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Tour Review : Chicago Cultural Center


ChicagoTourist

Joined: August 2012

xxx.xxx.42.9

Overall:
4.65
Location:
5
Information:
4
Fun Factor:
5

Would recommend to a friend

Date of stay: 8/12

Went with:

The tour was:

Amazing Structure and History

What a joy to discover this awesome building! Since I was a tourist and never heard of this place it was amazing to just walk in and see it. This place is a book lover's mecca. Sure the books are gone. The actual library collection was moved to the new building during the seventies. Nevertheless, this building will long stand in dedication to the venerable words that withstood the tests of time through 1897 when this structure was completed. Those who dedicated so much time and attention to creating this masterpiece of a structure clearly revered the written word. The words and authors they chose to inscribe throughout the building remind us that for long centuries libraries were the repositories of all of our best thoughts and traditions. They still are of course, but nearly every great book housed in a library has its counterpart on the Internet (most classics are free online now, as are encyclopedias, etc.). That so much amazing attention and craft was given to the creation and maintenance of this special structure clearly reflects a different focus on public works than many urge today. Amazing! Astonishing! Marvelous! Sublime! These are but a few words capable of describing this building. The fact that it is so amazing and yet common in its surroundings speaks well of Chicago which is truly a world class city. I realize that I appreciate this building more than most so forgive me for going on, but wow!

Tour Review : Chicago Cultural Center


Jason Bushey

Joined: April 2011

xxx.xxx.244.242

Overall:
3.35
Location:
4
Information:
4
Fun Factor:
2

Would recommend to a friend

Date of stay: 11/11

Went with:

The tour was:

Cultural Center - Worth a walk around

While I admit I was disappointed in the Chicago Cultural Center, I can't help but think there was something I was missing, or that I just caught the Center on a weird day, which is why I'm still going to recommend it. That being said, I had high expectations for this free Chicago attraction and was somewhat let down by my visit. (Also, yes, it's FREE - so I can't really complain about it.)

First, the pros: Again, the free aspect. Also, they have a quiet little cafe called the Renaissance Court, and the exterior architecture is pretty amazing. Actually, the inside's pretty beautiful as well, highlighted by the world's largest Tiffany Glass Dome and the grand marble staircase. It's worth walking through the Cultural Center just to get a glimpse of this old-time Chicago decadence on display. Also, there was a pretty cool art exhibition on display called "Landmark Chicago" that documented the history of Chicago's most impressive buildings. Lastly, there was a public tour taking place that had about 35 captive audience members, but I chose to pass on it because it looked to be halfway done by the time I stumbled upon it.

Now, the cons: Definitely a library atmosphere going on in here, not surprising given the fact the Cultural Center is located in the former home of the Chicago Public Library. But I felt like I needed to be really quiet. Also, some of the art exhibitions were combined with practical city services; a great idea, except that it was sort of like touring the art work in your dentist's office. (Granted, the art itself was actually really impressive and far superior than that of my dentist's.) 

Perhaps it was because so many people had recommended it, or because I had read such great things about the Cultural Center before I visited, but I couldn't help but feel disappointed with a typical midday afternoon at this Chicago landmark. That being said, I would still recommend checking out the Cultural Center and supporting their mission of promoting local art and public transparency. Overall, worth a visit, just not what I was expecting.

Chicago Cultural Center Photos



Chicago Cultural Center Hotel

Chicago Cultural Center

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Favorite Chicago Attraction is Free and Family Friendly

Located in

Central

The Loop

This activity is FREE!


Summary

Features: The Chicago Cultural Center was completed in 1897 and dedicated as the city's original Chicago Public Library. Completed at a cost of nearly $2 million, this remarkable monument was inspired by the neo-classical style of the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. 

The building's structure consists of three-foot thick masonry walls faced with Bedford limestone that are set 104 feet above a granite base. Sumptuous materials used in the interior design include rare imported marble, fine hardwood, stained-glass, and polished brass, as well as mosaics of Favrile glass, colored stone and mother-of-pearl. The building's most notable features are its spectacular stained-glass domes. The 38-foot dome in the Preston Bradley Hall at the south end of the building is the world's largest Tiffany stained-glass dome, valued at an estimated $35 million. 

As one of the most comprehensive free arts showcases in the United States, this landmark building is the setting for hundreds of programs and exhibitions presented annually by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Through collaborative programming, admission-free exhibitions and programs covering a wide range of the performing, visual, and literary arts are presented on practically every day of the year. 

The Randolph Café is a gathering place where patrons can enjoy cappuccino, teas, juices, baked goods and scheduled jazz, folk, pop, blues and cabaret-style performances. 

Why We Go: The Cultural Center Chicago is easily one of the best free attractions in Chicago, and regularly hosts family friendly Chicago events for the arts.

  • Historic Building: Group Tours of the historic Chicago Cultural Museum take place every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, or you can always tour this popular Chicago landmark on your own no matter what day of the week it is.
  • Chicago Art Exhibitions: The Cultural Center in Chicago hosts some of the best Chicago art exhibitions from local and International artists, with frequent turnover to keep the galleries fresh for everyone.
  • Live Music and Theater: The Cultural Center Chicago regularly features International musicians and local live acts compliments of the International Music Foundation, and Chicago theater companies perform throughout the year - for free - at the Chicago Cultural Museum Downtown.   

Inside Knowledge: Given its beautiful interior and convenient location near Millennium Park, it's no wonder that the Cultural Center Chicago is a favorite Chicago wedding location. Visit their Web site to find out how to host your next private party or wedding at the Chicago Cultural Center. 

Do's and Don'ts:

  • Do Check the Schedule: With so many entertaining Chicago events taking place each day at the Chicago Cultural Museum, you'll want to check out the Chicago events schedule online to find out what's in store at this popular free Chicago attraction.
  • Do Bring the Kids: This family friendly Chicago attraction Downtown caters to the young ones, and offers up frequent events and exhibits the little ones are sure to appreciate.
  • Don't Forget Your Camera: From the beautiful interior architecture to the thrilling live music performances, you'll definitely want to document your time at the Cultural Center Chicago.
  • Don't Miss the Visitor's Resource Center: Located on the first floor of the Cultural Center Chicago, the Visitor's Resource Center is perfect for first-time Chicago tourists looking for a little inside information on the best Chicago sites and scenery. 

Comments

Sort Reviews By: | | |

Tour Review : Chicago Cultural Center


Jason Bushey

Joined: April 2011

xxx.xxx.244.242

Overall:
3.35
Location:
4
Information:
4
Fun Factor:
2

Would recommend to a friend

Date of stay: 11/11

Went with:

The tour was:

Cultural Center - Worth a walk around

While I admit I was disappointed in the Chicago Cultural Center, I can't help but think there was something I was missing, or that I just caught the Center on a weird day, which is why I'm still going to recommend it. That being said, I had high expectations for this free Chicago attraction and was somewhat let down by my visit. (Also, yes, it's FREE - so I can't really complain about it.)

First, the pros: Again, the free aspect. Also, they have a quiet little cafe called the Renaissance Court, and the exterior architecture is pretty amazing. Actually, the inside's pretty beautiful as well, highlighted by the world's largest Tiffany Glass Dome and the grand marble staircase. It's worth walking through the Cultural Center just to get a glimpse of this old-time Chicago decadence on display. Also, there was a pretty cool art exhibition on display called "Landmark Chicago" that documented the history of Chicago's most impressive buildings. Lastly, there was a public tour taking place that had about 35 captive audience members, but I chose to pass on it because it looked to be halfway done by the time I stumbled upon it.

Now, the cons: Definitely a library atmosphere going on in here, not surprising given the fact the Cultural Center is located in the former home of the Chicago Public Library. But I felt like I needed to be really quiet. Also, some of the art exhibitions were combined with practical city services; a great idea, except that it was sort of like touring the art work in your dentist's office. (Granted, the art itself was actually really impressive and far superior than that of my dentist's.) 

Perhaps it was because so many people had recommended it, or because I had read such great things about the Cultural Center before I visited, but I couldn't help but feel disappointed with a typical midday afternoon at this Chicago landmark. That being said, I would still recommend checking out the Cultural Center and supporting their mission of promoting local art and public transparency. Overall, worth a visit, just not what I was expecting.

Tour Review : Chicago Cultural Center


ChicagoTourist

Joined: August 2012

xxx.xxx.42.9

Overall:
4.65
Location:
5
Information:
4
Fun Factor:
5

Would recommend to a friend

Date of stay: 8/12

Went with:

The tour was:

Amazing Structure and History

What a joy to discover this awesome building! Since I was a tourist and never heard of this place it was amazing to just walk in and see it. This place is a book lover's mecca. Sure the books are gone. The actual library collection was moved to the new building during the seventies. Nevertheless, this building will long stand in dedication to the venerable words that withstood the tests of time through 1897 when this structure was completed. Those who dedicated so much time and attention to creating this masterpiece of a structure clearly revered the written word. The words and authors they chose to inscribe throughout the building remind us that for long centuries libraries were the repositories of all of our best thoughts and traditions. They still are of course, but nearly every great book housed in a library has its counterpart on the Internet (most classics are free online now, as are encyclopedias, etc.). That so much amazing attention and craft was given to the creation and maintenance of this special structure clearly reflects a different focus on public works than many urge today. Amazing! Astonishing! Marvelous! Sublime! These are but a few words capable of describing this building. The fact that it is so amazing and yet common in its surroundings speaks well of Chicago which is truly a world class city. I realize that I appreciate this building more than most so forgive me for going on, but wow!