The Terrence J. O'Brien Water Reclamation Plant. Photo: Eric Allix Rogers

Where to Go During Open House Chicago

During Open House Chicago, which is October 13 and 14, you can see things you've never seen before as more than 250 sites across Chicagoland open to the public for free. So many choices are overwhelming, so we've chosen a few highlights.
The Chicago Literacy Alliance's Literacenter. Photo: Eileen Molony

Working Towards a Fully Literate Society

One in six adults, or 35 million people, read below a fourth-grade level in the United States. The Chicago Literacy Alliance is working to change that, by bringing together organizations with similar goals and fostering collaboration amongst them.
Flamenco dancer Irene Rodríguez performs during a dance class at La Escuela Nacional de Ballet de Cuba in Havana. Photo: Brian Canelles

What to Stream This Month

September is Hispanic Heritage Month, so we're spotlighting the stories of a memorable Chicano activist and a Mexican photographer who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as tours of Havana, Mexico, and somewhere closer to home.
The new Chicago Architecture Center on East Wacker Drive. Photo: Eric Allix Rogers, courtesy CAC

Tour the New Chicago Architecture Center

Take a tour of the new Chicago Architecture Center and discover its new features, including an expanded and newly interactive Chicago model and a skyscraper gallery. The Center is located inside a Mies van der Rohe building with a vantage of some of Chicago's most famous buildings.
The Durrells in Corfu. Photo: Joss Barratt for Sid Gentle Films & MASTERPIECE

What to Watch in September

This September is packed with exciting shows, from a local documentary examining deindustrialization to the returns of several favorites, plus the surprising nature hiding in plain sight in cities and a documentary spotlighting healthcare that's executive produced by Ken Burns.
Chicago's Seminary Co-op

Even More of Chicago's Favorite Indie Bookstores

Discover the stories behind more of Chicago's favorite indie bookstores on the South Side, including a legendary, long-lived one that counts Barack and Michelle Obama amongst its fans.
Chicago Architecture Center Teen Fellows at Marshall Brown's studio in 2017. Photo: Chicago Architecture Center

How the Chicago Architecture Center Empowers Young People to Shape Their City

Through two innovative programs, one anchored in a graphic novel and one providing women and young people of color with the skills necessary to enter the historically white male field of architecture, the Chicago Architecture Center aims to foster a sense of civic identity and stewardship.
Pilsen Community Books in Chicago

More of Chicago's Beloved Independent Bookstores

Independent bookstores remain an irreplaceable asset, with their staff recommendations and sense of community. We've already featured three Chicago stalwarts, but here are the stories of a few more of the city's beloved indie bookstores.
A camel herder leads his camel train over the sand dunes in Nubra Valley, India. Photo: BBC/Alex Lanchester

What to Stream This Month

This August, catch up on two popular series before they return with new seasons. Plus travel to majestic corners of the globe as the summer winds to a close, and take an in-depth look at education in Chicagoland as children begin to return to school.
Chicago Books to Women in Prison

How Volunteers Help Improve the Quality of Life for Women in Prison Through Books

Last year, Illinois spent less than $300 on prison libraries, and access is often very limited. So Chicago Books to Women in Prison does exactly what its name says.  “By helping women have a better quality of life while in prison, that's just better for their family and the community they'll be returning to," says a volunteer.
A bookstore. Photo: Adolfo Felix on Unsplash

Chicago's Independent Bookstores

If you love books, you probably also love bookstores, and independent bookstores remain irreplaceable gems, with their staff recommendations, unusual selections, and sense of community. Discover the stories behind a few of Chicago's beloved indie bookstores.
Chef Thia and Marcus Samuelsson prepare a meal for their Beach BBQ in Miami in "No Passport Required." Photo: Christine Carreira

Haitians in Chicago

With chef Marcus Samuelsson visiting Miami's Little Haiti on No Passport Required, explore the history of Chicago’s Haitian community, which may stretch back to the founding of the city, touches the 1893 World’s Fair, and continues today in a time of uncertainty.
A Resplendent quetzal (Pharmachrus mocinno) male in flight. El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: BBC NHU 2016

What to Watch in August

An extraordinary tour of Mexico's fantastical landscapes, an outside look at one of Chicago's jewels, a necessary two-part Frontline documentary that serves as a corrective to headlines, a tribute to a beloved television pioneer, and a look at Northern Ireland's Troubles.
Grand Teton National Park. Photo: bondjb/

What to Stream This Month

This month, embark on adventures to foreign countries and explore their culture and history; trawl the weird and wonderful depths of the ocean; and traverse majestic landscapes and thousands of miles with animals, all from the comfort of your couch.
John Updike

From the Archive: John Updike

"Nobody needs a book much, do they?" It's a surprising sentiment to hear coming from a writer, but in this 1981 interview with WTTW's John Callaway, John Updike discusses his impressively humble views on literature, his existential anxieties, and his goals as a writer.
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