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The Rookery

Certificate of Excellence
Downtown / The Loop
As featured in Highlights of Chicago
Sponsored by:
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Address: 209 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60604
Phone Number: 312 553 6150
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

Set in the heart of Chicago’s financial district, at 209 South LaSalle...

Set in the heart of Chicago’s financial district, at 209 South LaSalle Street, Daniel Burnham and John Root’s Rookery Building is a Chicago landmark, containing a luminous and brilliantly articulated central light court remodeling by Frank Lloyd Wright.When completed in 1888, The Rookery was one of the most expensive and largest commercial buildings in Chicago, housing more than 600 offices. The building’s name was carried over from a nickname given to the structures that occupied The Rookery site prior to its design. These buildings, Chicago’s temporary city hall and a water tank, were known popularly as “the rookery” because of the many birds that nested there and the likelihood of being “rooked” by the politicians in residence.In 1898, when Frank Lloyd Wright opened his studio in Oak Park, he rented space in The Rookery Building to serve as his downtown Chicago office. In 1905, Wright was commissioned to update the interior design and plan of the light court and lobbies. He realized a stunning balance between Burnham & Root’s ornamental ironwork and his own vision to create a spectacular environment – one of his most dramatic interior compositions.Learn about the building’s fascinating history and the unique contribution of one of America’s greatest architects on the Preservation Trust’s guided tours Monday through Friday at noon.

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Architectural Icon

Early Chicago "skyscraper." Built in the financial district in 1888 after the Chicago fire. Remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. There is a limited tour which we missed so... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed June 20, 2016
Phillip K
Greenville, South Carolina
via mobile
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181 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 154: English reviews
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
234 reviews
94 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2016 via mobile

Early Chicago "skyscraper." Built in the financial district in 1888 after the Chicago fire. Remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. There is a limited tour which we missed so call ahead. Still, you can walk into the lobby and enjoy the original metalwork atrium and Wright's gold inlay marble lobby. Exterior is brown stone. Beautiful.

Thank Phillip K
Taunton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
102 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2016

Once the tallest building in Chicago, the Rookery is steeped in history featuring original design by Burnham and Root (1888) and later redesign of the lobby by Frank Lloyd Wright (1905). A 30 min inexpensive tour of the foyer will acquaint you with the history of the building and explain aspects of the design features and is worthwhile. The stunning... More 

Thank Sooperstar100
Mobile, AL
Level Contributor
332 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2016

The tour itself took about 30 minutes, was reasonably priced and covered more or less the lobby and mezzanine of the building. For the price, it was interesting, but if you are looking for insight into FLW architecture you probably won't get it here. If you want to look at some beautiful and interesting building lobbies, you can duck your... More 

Thank Kegan36604
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,654 reviews
671 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,177 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2016

When legendary Chicago-based architects Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root built what was to be called "The Rookery Building" in 1888, they never dreamed that their 12-story masterpiece at 209 South LaSalle Street would be named after the old City Hall building that it replaced after being used as a nesting place by pigeons. The building, considered the oldest standing... More 

Thank Taylor B
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
57 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2016

Anyone with an interest can visit the lobby of this 11 storey building, small these days, but once the tallest building in the country, and the lobby is fantastic, but to get the best appreciation, pre book a tour.

Thank Bigskip66
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
94 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2016

The Rookery is a magnificent building. Originally built in the 1870s, restored once by Frank Loyd Wright, and then most recently restored in the 1990s. The building is a historical treasure. Stroll into the lobby and enjoy its wonder.

Thank Alan Z
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
52 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2016

This building has great architectural details within and without. The large atrium, done by Frank Lloyd Wright is a great space, but the thing you must see is the aureole staircase, which can only be accessed on an internal tour. Most of these are around lunch on Fridays and one other day, so visit in advance.

1 Thank Michael K
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
165 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2016

Visited the Rookery with a guide from the Wright foundation - and what a visual experience. Tour ($7) gets you access to private floors which provide great views of the lobby treatments, plus added insights into what elements Wright added to the original treatments, and what he changed.

1 Thank eheyman
Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
393 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2016 via mobile

Visitng the restored lobby will give you a sense of what a turn of the century building looked like. The lobby was re-designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and features some of his signature design elements. Worth a 10 minute stop for a few pics and walk around.

1 Thank Marblehead750
Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
42 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2016

This was a random find, but really cool experience. There are tours at 11 & 12 each day (only $5 for students or $7 for public) and the tour guide talked about all aspects of the Rookery. We got to look up the Oriel Staircase and go up till we could see the inner offices and the light lobby below.... More 

2 Thank DarkSideHasCookies

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Staying in Downtown / The Loop

Neighborhood Profile
Downtown / The Loop
Often visitors' first stop in Chicago, The Loop is a good starting point to sample the city's energy and flavor. This central business district boasts Michelin-rated restaurants, upscale hotels, premier shopping, and enough arresting architecture to keep your camera busy for hours. You won’t find too many photo galleries of downtown Chicago without a shot of Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. A stunning skyline coupled with cultural attractions like the Art Institute of Chicago present a Downtown where work and play peacefully coexist.