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Where to Go During Open House If You’re Only in It for the Views

This weekend, survey the city from a new angle.

150 North Riverside   Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune

Interiors are the main draw of Open House Chicago, which makes more than 250 off-limits buildings open to the public this Saturday and Sunday. And we’ve already told you about five new indoor spaces hitting the event this year, as picked by program manager Eric Rogers.

But what about those views? There are a number of terraces and rooftops open this weekend that also offer incredible perspective of the city. Below, Rogers recommends some gravity-defying high-rises that will situate you well above the city. 

151 North Franklin

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

This sleek, glassy tower, which is the new home of CNA Financial, is one of the Loop’s latest high-profile office towers. Designed by John Ronan Architects, the 35-story skyscraper boasts cutting-edge sustainable features and contemporary interior finishes. Open House visitors will gain access to the building’s second floor terrace and sky garden, which Rogers says offers dramatic views of the busy Loop.

Eastlake Studio

Photo: Steve Hall, Hall + Merrick Photography

Photographers will definitely want to stop by the Michigan Avenue office of Eastlake Studio, Rogers says. The firm has a spacious draft room with tall windows, and it opens up to an outdoor terrace that overlooks the buildings along Wacker Drive and the Magnificent Mile. Completed just this year, the Eastlake office is also a new addition to Open House Chicago.

150 North Riverside

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

While the glassy 54-story tower is certainly interesting to view from the outside, a full, raw floor will be open to visitors this weekend during Open House Chicago. Located along the Chicago River just west of the Loop, 150 N. Riverside offers tremendous views down all three branches of the winding channel. It’s also a great vantage point for catching the busy pace of downtown Chicago with views of boats, trains, cars, and pedestrians all passing by.

Thornton Tomasetti

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

Located on the 15th floor of the former IBM Plaza, a dark, boxy skyscraper designed by legendary modernist architect Mies van der Rohe, the office of Thornton Tomasetti is an important part of Chicago’s legacy of design and engineering. It also offers some great views. For Open House Chicago, the firm will welcome visitors to explore its office and take in the sweeping riverfront panorama.

Civic Opera Building

Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

Home to Chicago’s Lyric Opera (whose musicians are currently on strike), the Art Deco Civic Opera Building is situated at one of the most advantageous locations for uninhibited river views. The building’s 15th-floor outdoor deck will be open to visitors this weekend, providing a photo opportunity that is not always accessible outside of big events like Open House Chicago.

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