Exploring the Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center is not a hidden gem, but probably an underused gem in Chicago. And it has some of the best and ongoing free features any Thriftista should know about:
- Free WIFI in the large, library-like meeting room
- Free tours—at 1:45 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (space limited)
- Free cultural events—programs and exhibitions
I took the free tour of the building and learned many things. The two most intriguing factoids: 1) the cultural center is actually two buildings that were joined together before the building was declared an historical site (the old library and the old Civil War veteran club), and 2) it has the worlds largest Tiffany dome.
Anyway, this is a beautiful building with intricate crown molding and mosaics. Touring the building is a great experience everyone should try. I recommend this for a dreary, winter Wednesday (if you can)—there are fewer free events in Chicago during the winter and the tour group will be smaller. Since the group is limited to about 20 people, the docent said that the groups tend to be smaller on bad weather days. When I went, the leaves were not yet on the trees, so I got to see a different view of the bean (real name: Cloud Gate), Pritzker pavilion and other statues in Millennium Park.
They were setting up for a private event, but I was still able to see the Tiffany dome—and hear the story about its construction. There is a funny tidbit in there, but I don’t want to ruin all the stories for those who actually go on the tour.
As we were guided through the rooms, it was impressive to see the artwork on display, peruse the exhibits in progress, and know that most everything in this building was FREE. Our tax dollars at work — use it!
There are concerts, art displays (I saw the Vivian Meier one a few years back), occasional artsy movies, and too many possibilities to describe.