The Best Hotels to Book Near Adler Planetarium, Chicago

Book a historic stay in one of Chicagos landmark hotels before visiting Americas original planetarium, Adler
Book a historic stay in one of Chicago's landmark hotels before visiting America's original planetarium, Adler | Courtesy of Chicago Athletic Association /
Sarah Warwick

America’s original planetarium, Adler, was built in 1930 and is still a giant of architecture and space science. It’s a definite must for any visit to Chicago – as is a stay in one of these epic hotels, now bookable on Culture Trip.

More than half a million visitors come to Adler Planetarium every year for its world-beating space-science exhibitions and three sky theaters, with projected views of the night sky. Its location – on an offshore island on Lake Michigan – also offers some of the best panoramas of the city’s skyline, making it perfect for those Kodak moments. But it can be hard to pick a place to stay in Chicago’s crowded – and equally impressive – hotel scene, so we’ve selected the best for every pocket and special interest.

1. Central Loop Hotel


Central Loop Hotel
Courtesy of Central Loop Hotel /

This hotel has three major perks: location, location, location. As the name suggests, it’s situated in the central Loop district – Chicago’s financial, business, cultural and nightlife hub – right in the beating heart of the city. From here, it’s walkable to major sights like the Cloud Gate and just a 10-minute drive out to Adler. On-site, you’ll find a faux British pub called Elephant and Castle – serving great draught beers and half-price food at happy hour.

2. The Hotel Blake, Ascend Hotel Collection


Hotel Blake, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member
Courtesy of Hotel Blake, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member / Expedia

Stay in a piece of Downtown history at this south Loop hotel. The building was designed by William Le Baron Jenney – grandfather of the modern skyscraper – and the ornate facade makes an impressive address for your stay. Inside, you’ll find a hotel that’s geared to all-day comfort – from overhead rain-style showers to healthy breakfasts at the Meli Cafe and excellent dedicated desk space in every room. It’s perfect for the business-leisure traveler, or those who plan to work a bit during their stay.

3. Chicago Athletic Association by Hyatt

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

The spacious Founders Suite at the Chicago Athletic Association
Courtesy of Chicago Athletic Association / Expedia

Another central spot, this 4.5-star hotel’s 19th-century Italianate facade can be found on Michigan Avenue – just steps from Millennium Park and the Art Institute, as well as many of the main museums. A former gentlemens’ club renovated in 2016 and themed around the city’s proud sporting history, the rooms are appropriately macho – there’s plenty of leather, wood paneling and whisky tumblers throughout. Take advantage of the five eating and drinking establishments, free bikes and well-connected concierge.

4. Freehand Chicago

Boutique Hotel

A white hotel room at Freehand Chicago with a colourful rug
Courtesy of Freehand Chicago / Expedia

Sister brand to the better-known Generator, Freehand hotels are similarly seen as Poshtels – hostels that are a cut above in terms of design and facilities. This address, in the arty River North area, certainly answers that description – with good value rooms in boho-style decor, high-quality barista coffee, a fully equipped gym and an award-winning cocktail bar. For 20-something urbanites on tour, this is a great pick.

5. 21c Museum Hotel Chicago

Chain Hotel

A 21c Museum Hotel Chicago one-bed guest room with a purple polka dot carpet, white linens and striped curtains
Courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Chicago / Expedia

In a crowded hotel market where every new opening has to have a ‘thing’, this Museum Hotel is part of a genuinely unique concept. The 21c brand was set up in 2006 by a couple of collectors in Louisville who wanted to help people connect with contemporary art – by creating a string of venues (11 to date) where guests could live alongside their collection of paintings, sculptures and installations. As well as 24-hour free access to exhibitions, the 21c experience here includes a full-service spa, fitness center and a top fish restaurant – plus the rooms are uber comfortable and chilled.

6. Kimpton Gray Hotel

Suite Hotel

A stylish king guest room at the Kimpton Gray Hotel
Courtesy of Kimpton Gray Hotel /

Popular with business folk, this smart stay in the financial district has been engineered around relaxing times and social spaces. Dining choices include Boleo – the Gray’s Argentine-inspired lounge – and Steadfast, for all-American dishes with flair. After all that, you can retire for a glass or two in Vol 39, the hotel’s law library-themed bar. Kimpton Gray Hotel is within walking distance of the Art Institute and Grant Park and just a 15-minute hop on the Red Line from here to Adler – so you can see the sights even if you are working while you’re here.

7. The Blackstone, Autograph Collection


Stylish lounge with velvet armchairs, leather couch, wood floors and fireplace at the Blackstone, Autograph Collection, Chicago
Courtesy of the Blackstone, Autograph Collection / Expedia
It’s become a cliche when hotel descriptions include the word ‘storied’ to denote the rich history of their buildings, but believe it when you read it on the website of this Chicago landmark. In its 100-plus years, the Blackstone has hosted dozens of US presidents, who had their own secret passage – as well as been owned by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru of the Beatles, and once fell into such disrepair that its new owners had to buy back its architectural moldings off eBay. Today, it’s one of Marriott’s lauded Autograph collection: high-end, well-equipped, comfortable and a real piece of Chicago history.

8. The Peninsula Chicago

Independent Hotel, Bed and Breakfast

Potted palm-trees line an indoor swimming pool at the Peninsula Chicago, while large windows offer views over the city
Courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago / Expedia
If you know, you know. The Asian Peninsula brand has been a byword for hotel luxury ever since its flagship opened in Hong Kong in 1928 – and its Chicago number is no exception. Sitting pretty on the Magnificent Mile – the most frou-frou part of the city – it’s just 12 minutes from Adler Planetarium. It would be easier to describe what the hotel doesn’t have in terms of facilities than what it does, but in short, you’ll find a sun deck, fitness center, swimming pool, spa along with three restaurants here – and everything is delivered with pedigree and perfection.

9. Silversmith Hotel Chicago Downtown


Courtesy of Silversmith Hotel / Expedia
Named for its place on Jewellers’ Row in the Loop, Silversmith scores high for location and guest extras. From the manager’s daily wine reception to the Peloton bikes in the gym – plus free bottled water, robes and Molton Brown bathroom products in the rooms – there are signs everywhere that guest experience is put front and foremost. Two restaurants on-site give you a choice of where to eat, too – although you’ll be in the heart of the dining district so you may never need them.

10. Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel

Suite Hotel

A rooftop restaurant with a view at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel
Courtesy of Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel / Expedia

Sometimes hotels have one thing that makes them stand out from the rest – in the case of this Chicago example part of the Renaissance brand, it’s the stunning rooftop bar, Raised. Here, you can enjoy incredible views over the river and the city’s high rises while you sip an Old Fashioned – which many have claimed was invented in the Windy City. After that, you’ll be ready for a night out. Luckily, this shiny stay is slap bang in the Chicago Theater District and walkable to dozens of the main attractions. If you’re in town to drink in the views, see the sights or catch a show, this is a great choice for you.

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