During the period between the two World Wars, an eclectic design style developed that later became known as Art Deco, used to refer to a mix of styles from the 1920s and 1930s. Through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Art Deco style infused the everyday world with an elegant style of cool sophistication.
What characterizes Art Deco design most is its geometry and simplicity, often combined with vibrant colors and simple shapes that celebrate the rise of commerce and technology. From luxurious objects made from exotic materials to mass produced, streamlined items. Chicago's Jazz Age architecture was simply called Modernistic when it was created in the 1920s, and Moderne as it evolved into the Swing era of the 1930s. Whether starkly cubistic or smoothly streamlined, the new office and apartment buildings that redefined the skyline embodied the new language of building until the 1950s.
On this tour you will discover the opulent exteriors and interiors of the Roaring '20s Jazz Deco buildings and the classic finishes of Art Moderne buildings. Learn of Chicago's influence on the international Art Deco movement, and trace the history of this short-lived but lively architectural heritage. Come and experience the very essence of Art Deco!
CTA rapid transit stations: (walking distance from the following)
- Adams/Wabash station for the Brown, Green, Orange and Purple Lines
- Jackson/State Station for the Red Line
- Jackson/Dearborn Station for the Blue Line
Walk east on Adams or Jackson to Michigan Avenue. At Adams, turn right (south) on Michigan Avenue.
CTA Bus Lines:
Take any CTA bus that travels downtown and intersects with (starting
from the south) Van Buren, Jackson, Adams, Monroe, Madison, Washington
or Randolph. Walk (or connect on a CTA bus) east to Michigan Avenue.
Free downtown trolley service is provided by the City of Chicago and
serves most of Michigan Avenue, the Museum Campus, and Navy Pier and
also connects to the train stations. Schedules vary by season.
ArchiCenter is operated by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and is
located at 224 South Michigan Avenue in the CAF’s Shop & Tour Center
across from the Art Institute on the northwest corner of Jackson
Boulevard at Michigan Avenue. Open 361 days a year from 9:30am-6:30pm
Monday-Saturday, 9:30am-6:00pm Sundays. The ArchiCenter has free
galleries and interpretive exhibits as well as a museum shop.
Chicago's major expressways converge just west of the Loop. Exit at
Congress Avenue and proceed east (this is also the eastbound extension
- Lakeshore Drive, from Hollywood in the north to
Jackson Park in the south, follows the shoreline and is east of
downtown. Exit at Bal
Metra operates 11 suburban commuter lines serving downtown Chicago.
- Ending at Union Station
just west of the Loop and south of the Ogilvy Transportation Center:
Heritage Corridor Line, North Central Service, Southwest Service,
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Milwaukee District North&West Lines.
- Ending at the Ogilvy Transportation Center
(formerly the Northwestern Train Station) just west of the Loop and
north of Union Station: Union Pacific North Line, Northwest Line and
West Line. From these two stations it is a 20 minute walk east to
Michigan Ave, or take a #20 or #56 eastbound CTA bus on Jackson
Boulevard, or connect with the free trolley shuttle.
- Ending at the LaSalle Street Station: The Rock Island District Line. Walk east on Van Buren to Michigan and then north on Michigan to Jackson.
- Ending at the Randolph Street Station:
The Metra Electric Line and the Northern Indiana Commuter
Transportation District (South Shore Line). Get off at the Van
Buren/Jackson Station (the stop before the end). From here, walk one
block north on Michigan Avenue to Jackson.