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.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.