The Chicago Cultural Center, opened in 1897, is a Chicago Landmark building that houses the city's official reception venue where the Mayor of Chicago has welcomed Presidents and royalty, diplomats and community leaders. It is located in the Loop, across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park. Originally the central library building, it was converted to an arts and culture center at the instigation of Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg. The city's central library is now at home across the Loop in the spacious, post-modernist Harold Washington Library Center opened in 1991.
As the nation's first free municipal cultural center, the Chicago Cultural Center is one of the city's most popular attractions and is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States. Each year, the Chicago Cultural Center features more than 1,000 programs and exhibitions covering a wide range of the performing, visual and literary arts.
According to Crain's Chicago Business, the Chicago Cultural Center was the fifth most-visited cultural institution in the Chicago area in 2007, with 821,000 visitors.