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Daley Center, Chicago

#277 of 605 in Things to do in Chicago
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
The Richard J. Daley Center, also known by its courtyard Daley Plaza and named after longtime mayor Richard J. Daley, is the premier civic center of the City of Chicago in Illinois. Situated on Randolph and Washington Streets between Dearborn and Clark Streets, the Richard J. Daley Center is considered one of Chicago's architectural highlights. The main building was designed in the International Style by Jacques Brownson of the firm C. F. Murphy Associates and completed in 1965. At the time it was the tallest building in Chicago, but only held this title for four years until the John Hancock Center was completed. Originally known as the Chicago Civic Center, the building was renamed for Mayor Daley on December 27, 1976, seven days after his death. The 648ft, thirty-one story building features Cor-Ten, a self-weathering steel. Cor-Ten was designed to rust, actually strengthening the structure and giving the building its distinctive red and brown color. The Daley Center has 30 floors, and is the tallest flat-roofed building in the world with fewer than 40 stories (a typical 648ft building would have 50-60 stories).
The Richard J. Daley Center houses more than 120 court and hearing rooms as well as the Cook County Law Library, offices of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, and certain court-related divisions of the Sheriff's Department. The building also houses office space for both the city and Cook County, of which the City of Chicago is its seat of government. The windows are cor-ten steel and bronze/white tinted.
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Daley Center reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
84 reviews
  • Outdoor patio area is great in the summer for food trucks. If you are going to one of the government installations have your documents ready. Overall as long as you are nice and prepared you will be treated the same. It's a rare nice spot to sit in the loop on the weekdays or the weekends and people watch/relax.
  • Consistently dirty. They irrationally shut down rest rooms to "conserve water," creating a big problem for people with disabilities who have a short time to use the restroom. Similarly, they often shut down elevators without disclosing they are doing so--this "saves electricity" and is pure profiteering by the private management company that runs Daley Center. The entrance and exits are restricted so one can only exit the secured area on the south aide of the building, creating congestion and inconvenience. The scanners for security are too small for an average wheelchair and I have seen this make at least one person late for court. This is a disgusting mess to be avoided.

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