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31 Iconic Buildings to Explore in Cook County

Checkout places to visit in Cook County

Cook County

Cook County, Illinois is the most populous county in the state and home to over 5 million people. Located mostly within the Chicago metropolitan area, it includes downtown Chicago as well as many suburbs. Originally created in 1831, many of its municipalities offer renowned museums, parks, and activities that draw tourists from around the world. The county also has an extensive transportation infrastructure with multiple major highways and public transit options such as buses and rail lines. Add

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Iconic Buildings to Explore in Cook County


360 CHICAGO, is a top-notch tourist attraction as well as a popular local haunt. Home to the iconic skyline view from atop the historic John Hancock Center building, 360 CHICAGO opens its doors to all who seek to take it in. Offering 100 miles of picturesque scenery and amazing city skylines coupled with interactive experiences both inside and outside the enclosed observation level, 360 CHICAGO has something to offer everyone looking for a unique experience.

875 North Michigan Avenue

875 North Michigan Avenue, is a world-renowned structure that is instantly recognizable for its majestic presence. Built in 1925 and formerly known as The John Hancock Center, the building stands at an incredible 1 128 feet tall and boasts 99 floors of gleaming glass, steel, and concrete. It was built by architect Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan, who gave it an innovative design to make it the tallest concrete structure in the world at the time of construction.

Bahá'í House of Worship

The Bahá'í House of Worship is a breathtakingly beautiful seven-sided temple for worship and meditation. Located on a sprawling 18 acres of land, the structure consists of nine sides surrounded by the immaculately-groomed gardens, fountains and pathways. A prominent feature of the building are its intricate ribbed dome, which is visible from miles away - during daytime it reflects hues of gold, while at night is illuminated with various vibrant colours.

Charnley-Persky House Museum

The Charnley-Persky House is a perfect example of the evolution of American architecture in the 19th century. Built between 1892 and 1894 by world-renowned architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, the house has stood at its current location since 1927. It features intricate design elements from bordered terraces to rich brick patterning. Inside, oak panelings line the walls providing warmth and richness that exemplifies Sullivan's Prairie School style.

Chicago Architecture Center

The Chicago Architecture Center is a vibrant hub for discovering amazing architecture and design in Cook County, Illinois. It offers highly interactive exhibits from renowned local architects, tours led by expert docents, engaging programs for all ages that explore the cultural significance of various buildings and sites around the city, and even an impressive shop full of unique souvenirs to commemorate your visit.

Chicago Board of Trade Building

The iconic Chicago Board of Trade Building stands as a symbol of finance and commerce. Built in 1930, it was the world’s first-ever permanent commodity exchange. Its art deco exterior is constructed with Indiana Limestone, granite, and bronze. It features a two story lobby filled with beautiful murals depicting commodities that were traded such as grain and livestock. With its 20 stories, it was considered one of the tallest office buildings at the time of its completion.

City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower

This Tower, is a magnificent venue for art lovers and history buffs alike. Located in Chicago's iconic 1869 limestone water tower building, the gallery features permanent and rotating exhibitions of photography and design works that capture local culture, as well as national artwork from renowned photographers and contemporary visual artists. The building itself offers a unique look into the past but with modern amenities like an ADA-compliant elevator and restrooms.

Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate, is an iconic sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor. The stainless steel bean-like structure was created to be a modernist revelry to Chicago's skyline and has become beloved among locals and tourists alike. Its 110 ton form rises 12 metres from the ground and is 33 metres wide making it the largest public sculpture in the world. Visitors can walk around, touch and take pictures with the sculpture as it captures reflections of the cityscape surrounding it.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

This is a National Historic Landmark that offers an incomparable look into the world of renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Constructed in 1889, the 20-room home has been lovingly preserved to its original condition with some of Wright's furnishings included. His architecture studio was also part of his home and off included on the grounds is a playroom built for his children. Touring this museum gives guests a unique insight into Wright's skill and unique design eye.

Frederick C. Robie House

The Frederick C. Robie House is a classic example of modern American architecture from the early twentieth century. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it boasts several innovative features, such as its Prairie Style, open floor plan and ribbon windows. Built between 1908 and 1910, this two-story house with a flat roof includes built-in furnishings and sitting areas with skylights that flood the interior with natural sunlight.

Glessner House

Glessner House is an ornate French château-style mansion that occupies an entire city block. Built in 1887 for retail giant George Dunning Glessner and his wife Frances, the home was designed by renowned American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. With its many intricate masonry details and its decorative ironwork, Glessner House stands as a testament to the time period's transformation of style from Victorian to modern.

Leaning Tower of Niles

The Leaning Tower of Niles, has become a local landmark since its construction in 1934. Nearly 60 feet tall and made of limestone blocks, the tower was modeled after the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. While its height is impressive, the real draw for many visitors is the unique degree to which it has begun to tilt - about seven feet off-center! When it was built during the Great Depression, the tower was intended to attract tourists and business to the area.

Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile is an iconic stretch of many of the city's finest attractions and entertainment. From world class luxury shopping to lakefront park amenities, the Magnificent Mile is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Windy City. Magnificent Mile covers 13 blocks along Michigan Avenue that are filled with some of Chicago's most recognizable landmarks and landmark stores, including the John Hancock Center, Water Tower Place Shopping Mall and Tribune Tower.

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum is an exciting destination for those interested in local history and science. Located on the Chicago River, this museum showcases five levels of the iconic movable bridge, which can be seen operating from a unique Glass Gallery located on the fifth level. The first and second levels contain exhibits about Chicago River history and engineering, with interactive displays guiding visitors through the city’s changing landscape.

McCormick Tribune Plaza

The McCormick Tribune Plaza, is a modern forty-story skyscraper that was completed in 1991 and is now a landmark for the region. Visitors to this popular destination can enjoy an array of amenities such as an open-air plaza, an ice rink for public skating and the McCormick Tribune Bridge. The Plaza also has luxury stores on its ground level, allowing visitors to shop throughout their visit. At its top are two observation decks where people can take in unparalleled views of the city skyline.

Monadnock Building

The Monadnock Building is a prime example of the American skyscraper's evolution. Constructed over a 15-year period from 1889-1893, it reflects Chicago's desire to stand out as an exemplar of modern architecture and construction. Its impressive height of 227 feet (69 meters) was intimidating for other city skyline contemporaries, and the brick façade with its steeply sloping roofline looked dramatically impressive and strong even after the Great Chicago Fire four years earlier.

Newberry Library

The Newberry Library, is a privately-funded non-profit humanities research library. It offers a unique range of more than 1.5 million books, maps, manuscripts and more for study and exploration. The library boasts large collections of rare books in a variety of languages from the 16th century onward, including English literary texts and historical documents. They also provide an extensive range of journals and periodicals as well as online databases to aid in research.

Pullman National Historical Park

Pullman National Historical Park is an inspiring and important site for the community. It was founded to honor George Pullman, a prominent industrialist whose leadership and innovative ideas set the foundation for modern labor laws. The park is located on Chicago's South Side and preserves one of the first residential communities designed by Mr. Pullman. Tourists can experience the history of this iconic neighborhood by taking a guided tour around the city.

S. R. Crown Hall (IIT College of Architecture)

S. R. Crown Hall is the emblematic space for the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture. Designed by world-renowned architect Mies van der Rohe and built 1955-56, this building is a Modernist masterpiece that embraced the structure of steel and glass which allowed natural lighting to flood through its spaces while giving a progressive structural gesture to academic learning.

Skydeck Chicago

Skydeck Chicago, located on the 103rd floor of Willis Tower in downtown Chicago, is the perfect day trip for families and couples looking for spectacular views. From up high in this architectural masterpiece, you can see up to four states: Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. The glass viewing box extends outward from the building to create an amazing experience that feels like you are floating above the city's skyline with no boundaries.

Map of Iconic Buildings to explore in Cook County