Doors Open


There is no city I have been to that celebrates architecture the way Chicago does.  It really is an architecture groupie’s fantasy and this city makes visiting these architectural gems easy with what seems like an endless number of tour opportunities.

1.  Chicago Architecture Foundation

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is definitely a huge resource; Chicago Architecture Foundation there are a ton of links and information on their website.  The CAF runs a wide selection of tours and has several membership offers which give discounts and free tours as a benefit.  You don’t need to live in Chicago to become a member and depending on the types of activities you plan to do it could be a great deal.  Learn more at Chicago Architecture Foundation Membership.


The archicenter is operated by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  You can spend hours in this store; the variety of architecture merchandise is incredible, take a peek at their online store ARCHICENTER.  Located at 224 South Michigan Avenue across from the Art Institute of Chicago.

3.  Chicago Tour Foundation

The Chicago Tour Foundation offers a wide variety of tours where you can choose from modes such as boat, walking, bus/trolley, train, bike and even segway.  The tour guides are Chicago Architecture Foundation-certified volunteers who receive hundreds of hours of training about Chicago architecture and history.  It is recommended to purchase tickets in advanced because some tours frequently sell out, particularly on weekends and holidays. The Tour center is located in the Archicenter store mention above.  For more information visit:

Chicago Boat Tour

I highly recommend taking a boat tour in Chicago, the vantage point of the skyscrapers from the water is unsurpassed and the proximity to the bridges overhead.

4.  Mies van der Rohe

The Mies van der Rohe Society offers architectural tours specific to the tale of Mies and the Illinois Institute of Technology offering both a docent-led or self-guided audio tours.

Visit:  Mies van der Rohe and IIT: An Architectural Tour

5.  Frank Lloyd Wright

For everything Frank Lloyd Wright The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Fund is the place to find it.  It was established in 1974 as a not-for-profit organization, to acquire and preserve Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park and is now made of more than 500 volunteers providing tours of these historic.

Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Fund offers guided and self-guided tours of Oak Park, an area filled with Wright’s Victorian and Prairie Style architecture.

Visit:   Walking Tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District

Public Tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio from 1889 to 1898 is offered daily.  His home offers insight into the first 20 years of his career, where he experimented with design concepts and raised six children with his first wife, Catherine Tobin.

Visit:  The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Tour

The Robie House was completed in 1910 and is considered a masterpiece of the Prairie style and modernist architecture.  Tours of the site offer both a first-hand experience of its amazingly contemporary spaces and the current restoration work.  Tours are not offered daily, visit Public Tours of the Robie House for more information.

Visit:  Wright’s Robie House

6.  Visit a Tower

John Hancock Observatory ViewA trip to Chicago is not complete until you have gone up one of the tallest towers there, it is the birth place of the skyscraper after all.  Definitely the John Hancock Tower Observatory or Willis Tower’s Skydeck are tops on the list.  From the top you will get a great view of the city and there is nothing like being on the 94 stories or 103 stories above the ground.  I don’t think you need to do both so choose wisely, I am a bit partial to the John Hancock, let me know what you think.

7.  Open house Chicago

The Chicago Architecture Foundation organizes an annual weekend festival where over a hundred of Chicago’s architectural gems are opened to the public for free!  Open House Chicago typically occurs in October it is a great time to visit.

Check out more at:

Let me know if this helps you on your Chicago travels or if you have any other helpful tips.

A Guide to Modern Architecture

Chicago Architecture Guide


Chicago Digital Map NOW available!




The Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) was established in 1887, it is a non-profit volunteer-based organization made up of architects and members of the community interested in architecture. The TSA is the local Chapter of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA), the licensing and regulatory body that governs the practice of architecture in Ontario.

From May to October the TSA offers guided walking tours of the Toronto’s best contemporary architecture.   The guides are trained volunteers offer insightful building details, shedding light on the urban context and historical facts of the modern Toronto Architecture included on the tour.

There are currently three tours offered to satisfy a variety of interested:

Art and Performance Tour

Culture and Campus Tour

Towers Tour

Visit the TSA website:



Tours of specific architectural projects are also offered which are typically more in-depth about that particular building.  The following building’s offer tours of their spaces:

Art Gallery of Ontario:

These tours are free with admission and are held frequently.  Visit:

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts:

Tours are not frequent so be sure to visit their website for more information.


Roy Thomson Hall:

One hour tours are provided.  Visit:



This is an annual event in the City of Toronto where one weekend a year many (almost 150 buildings) open their doors to the public.  This allows visitors access to architecturally significant projects which normally charge entrance or are not open to the public, and many buildings have organized guided tours and displays.  Doors open is a great event typically at the end of May.

For more information visit:



A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto

By Margaret Goodfellow (Author), Phil Goodfellow (Author), Helen Malkin (Editor), Nancy Dunton (Editor)

A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto provides information on modern Toronto Architecture with helpful information for your travel.  Each project is featured on a two-page spread with a project description, photographs, and drawings. The projects are organized by neighborhood and allow the reader to take a self-guided tour. Maps at the introduction of each neighborhood provide context, and an index provides easy referencing of projects throughout.

A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto

Top 10 Toronto (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides)

Lorraine Johnson (Author), Draughtsman Ltd (Illustrator)

The Eyewitness Travel Guides are always a must have on my travels.  They contain reliable information, colourful illustrations and images, fold out maps and a small pocket map to help you get around.  The books are organized well and easy to follow, these books are all you need particularly for a short trip.  I like the small pocket-size and durable cover because it is easy to carry around.   They take the work out of planning any trip.


Toronto guide book5.  architectureGROUPIE

The Toronto Architecture Guide Book is a great directory of modern architecture, buildings are cataloged by image so you can decide what you want you like or don’t like before you go.  Along with clear photos and direct web links to each building’s webpage with the exact address, closest public transit stop and a feature or note about each of the projects.

Learn more at

A Guide to Modern Architecture  Visit for more information on other cities

For helps tips and information on Toronto’s Public Transportation see: