Church tours in Chicago
March 14, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Do any churches or cathedrals in Chicago give behind the scenes or architectural tours?

Chicago has some gorgeous churches and cathedrals, but I have been unable to find any that offer tours. I love the architecture of these kinds of buildings and I have been on great tours in other cities (like the vertical tour of St. John the Divine in NYC).
posted by ztdavis to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Sure, in most cases you'll want to call and ask to speak with the docent - otherwise oftentimes there are clergy on hand to show you around. I worked for a church that was an architectural heritage site and there were several of us on staff who were "prepped" to give tours to prospective brides and grooms. Just google them and give them a call.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:13 AM on March 14, 2010

Holy Name Cathedral offers guided walking tours. So does Holy Trinity Cathedral.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2010

The Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Oak Park, whose building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, gives tours.
posted by jacobm at 11:41 AM on March 14, 2010

You can also take a tour of the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:06 PM on March 14, 2010

Seconding Unity Temple.

Beautiful building.
posted by LDL707 at 3:10 PM on March 14, 2010

the first united methodist church gives tours of the chicago temple. there's a really unique chapel at the very top of the building, too.
posted by lester at 3:23 PM on March 14, 2010

Best answer: The Baha'i tour is only so/so (or was when I did it a while ago, although wandering self-guided is pretty sweet) but any of these places you can call ahead and someone who works there and is nerdy for the building will be happy to give you a special tour (it's what midwesterners do, be nerdy and friendly).

If you are generally architecturally inclined, THIS is the tour you want to take because it is teh awesomeburgers. (And if you look through their site more generally, they have various walking tours and tours of specific buildings, which may be of help.)

Holy Trinity is one of only two churches designed by Louis Sullivan and is very impressive (it's Orthodox). I'm also particularly fond of St. Peter's in the Loop which I don't know is all that architecturally impressive, but it's a fascinating church squished between city buildings and very pretty. Old St. Pat's (near the Loop) is also neat, especially with the redesigned interior. Although that may be more interesting to students of liturgy (like myself) and not as interest to students or architecture.

Interesting factoid: my grandfather was one of the designer's of the Baha'i temple's concrete lace. Good stuff! Note that the Baha'i temple is outside Chicago, in North Shore Wilmette, I believe.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:03 PM on March 14, 2010

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