Open House Chicago
(October 13-14. Chicago Architecture Foundation website for details)
More than 200 landmarks, theaters, hotels, residential spaces and private clubs open their doors for forty-eight hours, for all and for free. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the city’s most iconic buildings and learn their architectural and cultural stories with behind-the-scenes glimpses during the biggest architecture and design public festival in North America. Survival tips: Wear comfortable shoes and grab a sweater—Octobers in Chicago are tricky.
Renegade Craft Fair
(Division between Damen and Ashland, Wicker Park, September 8-9, 11am-7pm and
Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th, December 1-2, 11am-5pm)
Your annual meet-up with artists, designers, makers and entrepreneurs from around the country strikes twice before year-end: Once in the early fall and once right in time for Christmas shopping. The homegrown fair turned global craft showcase phenomenon (the biggest fair in the city is every September in Wicker Park), gives you the perfect excuse to shop small and support your community without it having to be financially overwhelming.
(Navy Pier, November 1-4: Thursday: 5pm-9pm VIP preview, Friday-Saturday: 11am-7pm, Sunday: 12pm-6pm)
More than eighty galleries and dealers gather at Navy Pier for the design event of the year, the Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design (SOFA) Fair that turns twenty-five this year. Bringing together fine art, decorative art and design across media ranging from 3D objects, glass and ceramics, to wood, fiber, jewelry and metal, to painting, photography and others is what you make it: A sophisticated weekend pastime, an opportunity to network in the design world or a shopping spree.
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