Harold Washington Library Center

Library in The Loop

This grand, art-filled building with free internet terminals and wi-fi is Chicago's whopping main library. Major authors give readings and impressive performances take place in the auditorium (Chance the Rapper often shows up for the monthly Monday OpenMike). The light-drenched, 9th-floor Winter Garden is a sweet spot for reading, writing or just taking a load off; the floor also has good exhibitions in its galleries. The 3rd-floor Maker Lab features 3-D printers and drop-in demonstrations.

It can be a bit confusing to get around. Escalators go up to the 3rd floor (home of the browsable newspapers and computer commons); from there transfer to the elevator to reach floors four through nine. And those green-copper creatures staring down from the exterior roof? They're wise old owls.