The Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E. Washington Street was built in 1897, and was originally the city’s public library. In 1991 it was revamped into a venue for the visual arts and performing arts. Today, it is one of Chicago’s great, largely overlooked, treasures. The building has a Beaux Arts exterior and an elegant interior of exquisite marble and exotic hardwood. Here you will see glasswork at its finest; stained glass, colored stone, Favrile glass mosaics, and mother-of pearl inlaid in white marble. The center piece is the majestic Tiffany dome by Preston Bradley Hall. It is said to be the largest art object of its kind in the world.
On the third floor, north side, is the Grand Army of the Republic Exhibition Hall, which was inspired by palaces of the Italian Renaissance. The Chicago Cultural Center hosts art exhibitions, concerts, films, lectures and other events. Many of them are free. The building also houses the Chicago Office of Tourism, so it is well worth a visit if you are a tourist. Guided tours of the Cultural Center are conducted every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 1:15 p.m. You will find accommodations to suit every budget, from expensive hotels to discount hotels near the Chicago Cultural Center.
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