If God is in the details, is a bus tour heaven
March 31, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way of getting to the Farnsworth House while staying Chicago?

I am going to be in Chicago on Sunday, and do not have a vehicle. I would like to see the Farnsworth house. I have been trying to decide between taking the Architectural Societies tour of the rest of the Mies sites, going to the IIT campus and the Farnsworth alone, or some other options.

Some Questions:
a) who usually takes the tours?
b) how far is the house from the train station?
c) how much of the IIT campus do you get to see?
d) if you just wander around the IIT campus, what are the chances that you get to see the inside of the chapel, for example.
e) the tour is 70--it costs 20 to get to the farnsworth, 20 to get into the farnsworth, the tour promises a lunch, so is the time cash worth it?
f) do you get to see inside the farnsworth house?
g) how well has it been restored since the flood?
h) is it going to be crawling with people?

Some Information:
a) I am staying at Andersonville
b) Money is a bit of a factor
posted by PinkMoose to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Before you get super invested in this, I'm sorry to say that Farnsworth House is closed on Easter Sunday. I'll pop back in with a few ideas of other architectural things you might be able to do on Easter Sunday in Chicago, but a lot of things are closed. :(
posted by juniperesque at 8:48 AM on March 31, 2010

Response by poster: I will be in Chicago for 10 days from Easter Sunday.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:07 AM on March 31, 2010

I can't help with the tour info, but this is a hard region to get to without a car. Metra, the commuter rail service, only goes as far as Aurora, which is 17 miles away. There's an Amtrak station in Plano, 2 miles away, but service is one train in the morning and evening.
posted by hwyengr at 9:58 AM on March 31, 2010

I've only taken the Architectural Society's boat tour, but I love it so much I've done it twice and recommend it to everyone. The commentary alone is totally worth the price. You get all the interesting little nuggets that your guide knows and you wouldn't find out otherwise. And the boat tour, at least, was a mix of all ages. Can't speak to the bus tours.
posted by MsMolly at 11:14 AM on March 31, 2010

I went to school at IIT, the campus itself is pretty open you'd be able to roam around and look at any of the buildings from the outside. Most of the buildings require a student id card to access, either scanned or shown to someone acting as security.

Of the buildings listed on this map as Mies buildings, the only ones you'd probably be able to get access to are: Alumni, Perlstein, Wishnick, and Siegal. The Commons building is the cafeteria, if you went during a non meal time, you might be able to look around a bit inside. If you take one of the campus tours you might get a bit more access, but I'm not sure about the Chapel building, it was closed up most of the time that I was there. The new Rem Koolhaas student center should be open to the public during the day, but the Helmut Jahn State Street Village dorm buildings will not be (tour might grant you access).
posted by borkencode at 11:39 AM on March 31, 2010

Best answer: Ok, since you're going to be in Chicago a couple of days, here's what I can tell you about the Farnsworth House:

a) Tourists, design and architecture students, architecture buffs. Not a lot of kids unless you're hitting a school field trip.
b) Farnsworth House is nowhere near any train station. You could take the Metra to Aurora and take a taxi, but it's not a cheap option. The Amtrak actually has a stop in Plano that can get you there and back for around $8 each way. Unfortunately, unless you want to spend 12 hours in Plano, this isn't a great option, either. There is only one incoming and one outgoing train each day.
c) According to the tour, you do get to see quite a bit of IIT with the Architecture Foundation. You can also just walk around the campus, which is lovely, on your own. Or if you don't get to see everything you wanted on the tour, take the train to the Bronzeville/IIT stop and explore another day.
d) You're not going to be likely to get into the chapel, but you can reasonably get into public buildings in IIT when classes are in session. Many buildings are student-id-card-access only. IIT gives inexpensive campus tours, information here:
e) Yes.
f) Yes, both inside and outside.
g) Yes, it was restored in 1996.
h) Probably, if you're going on a school day. If you take the Architecture Foundation tour, they keep you insulated.

Your other questions, general advice:
a) Your nearest L stop is going to be on the red line, either Berwyn, Bryn Mawr, or Argyle.
b) Consider getting passes for the CTA instead of paying each way. Determine how much you'll be spending daily on riding the CTA and get passes if it makes sense. More info here: http://www.transitchicago.com/
posted by juniperesque at 12:54 PM on March 31, 2010

Best answer: Er, that information on the IIT campus tours is here, sorry about the empty link:
posted by juniperesque at 12:56 PM on March 31, 2010

Response by poster: juniper

fucking awesome, thank you so much for the help. can i buy you a drink when i am in town.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:41 PM on March 31, 2010

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