Dillinger might've disagreed, but there's more to banks than the money in the vault. Discover the city's architectural treasures on our tour.
1. Bank of America
Form-follows-function architect Louis Sullivan allegedly joked that this 1924 Graham, Anderson, Probst and White building looks so classical, its bankers must wear togas and speak Latin. For an even greater show of Roman opulence, duck inside to see 28 marble pillars and Jules Guerin’s gold-leafed mural. 231 S LaSalle St.
2. Chase Plaza
The awkwardly heavy tapering on this building wasn’t purely an aesthetic decision inspired by the bell-bottom craze of the time. Built in 1969 by Perkins & Will, the behemoth bank was erected before Illinois allowed branch banking—creating the need to stuff a lot of publicly accessible services onto the ground-level space. S Clark St between Madison and Monroe Sts.
3. Harris Trust & Savings Bank
Two Skidmore, Owings and Merrill steel additions flank an old-school red brick bank built in 1911 by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. 111 W Monroe St.
4. Citigroup Center
Depending on whom you ask, this blue-glass Helmut Jahn structure resembles a waterfall or an old-timey cash register. All we see when we look at it is a long commute: The ground floor houses the Ogilvie Transportation Center. 500 W Madison St.
5. Metropolitan Capital BankThe 1894 Tree Studios building that houses this bank once lured Columbian Exposition artists to Chicago. We can see the draw: Open split-level spaces give way to a charming central courtyard. MetCap stays true to the building’s original mission by hosting quarterly shows of Chicago artists, including the current delightful exhibition of late Chicago Imagist Roger Brown. 9 E Ontario St (312-640-2300). Exhibition hours: Mon–Fri 9am–6pm.