LINCOLN PARK — Churches dominate the Lincoln Park and Old Town sites taking part in the Chicago Architecture Foundation's annual Open House this weekend.
But the ever-popular and somewhat mysterious Elks National Memorial, 2750 N. Lakeview Ave., is also part of Open House Chicago. What's actually inside that monumental circular columned building at Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road? Last year, it was the most popular neighborhood site in the event, with more than 5,000 visitors. The 1924 building will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Just down the road, the 42-story high-rise at 2650 N. Lakeview will open its rooftop to visitors from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, offering splendid views of Lincoln Park, the lakefront and the skyline.
Otherwise, however, the area's many elegant churches dominate the list of local sites open to visitors this weekend. From north to south they include:
• The Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 2700 N. Pine Grove Ave., open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
• St. Clement Roman Catholic Church, 642 W. Deming Place, open from 9 a.m.=noon Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
• Church of Our Saviour Episcopal, 530 W. Fullerton Parkway, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary this year. It will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
• The Romanesque-Revival Moody Church, 1630 N. Clark St., home to the largest column-free auditorium in the city, open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
You can also throw in the National Shrine of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, 2520 N. Lakeview Ave., which is in the midst of a yearlong celebration of the first U.S. saint marking the centenary of her death. It's open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday.
In addition, the little-known Sedgwick Studio, 1544 N. Sedgwick St., will be open with its artist studios welcoming visitors. It's open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, and the architecture foundation advises the curious to "enter through red door down the alley" at that address beneath the Sedgwick CTA stop.
Finally, the secretive, members-only Birch Road Cellar, a BYOB club located near the intersection of Armitage and Sheffield avenues, opens its doors to the curious from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days, although the architecture foundation says it's already booked solid with those who arranged reservations online.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation created Open House six years ago, inviting the city's architectural gems to welcome visitors for free with no admission fee over a weekend. It's since grown to more than 200 participating buildings, with more than 100,000 visitors.