Millennium Park houses some unmissable Chicago sights, from Anish Kapoor’s much-photographed Cloud Gate sculpture – known as the Bean – to cutting-edge cultural shows at Harris Theater. Here’s where to stay to best experience this destination, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Although it only opened in 2004, Millennium Park has quickly become a key part of Chicago life and the city’s landscape. It’s packed with culture and nature, including architect Frank Gehry’s wildly modernist Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and the lush Lurie Garden. This creativity is reflected in the wider area, and many hotels champion local artwork and culture. All provide everything you’ll need to explore the wider city of Chicago, with the rest of Grant Park and other Windy City essentials all within easy reach.
Mirroring some of the art deco splendor that characterizes its host venue – the landmark Carbide and Carbon building – it’s no exaggeration to say that the Pendry is an all-out visual feast. You’ll feel more sophisticated just for stepping inside, and you’ll keep feeling that way as you explore the rest of the hotel: the sparkling white rooms, the 24th-floor outdoor roof terrace with killer skyline views, the billiard gallery for light relief, the high-end French Brasserie, Venteux and the inviting Bar Pendry – where the staff mix a mean old fashioned.
It may be set in a former hat factory, but the Kimpton feels fresh and modern inside – though it still has cute nods to its past, like hat hooks in rooms. Another nice touch is the in-room spa menu, which lets you order treatments that take place in your room – top marks for convenience. Elsewhere, there are family-friendly suites available if you’re traveling with kids, who’ll also enjoy the countless child-friendly spots around Chicago, including Millennium Park’s many innovative play areas.
The main benefit of this smart hotel is its sweeping views of the Chicago River, yet you’re also just a few blocks from Millennium Park. Another couple of blocks takes you to the Art Institute of Chicago and other city wonders. When you’re not sightseeing, you’ll be able to stretch out in what the hotel claims are the largest standard guest rooms in Chicago. There’s also a fitness center and 1,600sqft (150sqm) of rooftop terrace for drinking in those cityscape views.
The towering modernist building that houses this luxury behemoth announces that there’s something special inside. The rooms are just as chic as the exterior – including some suites that you could happily live in – and there’s yet more to gawp at from the multiple restaurants and bars. LH Rooftop does what you’d expect, offering first-rate, sky-high views as you eat American-style tapas like chorizo empanadas and crab rangoon puffs – try to bag an al fresco table. For the full experience, finish your night with a French Martini at LH on 22.
On the very edge of Millennium Park, this striking Venetian gothic landmark was a members’ club for well over 100 years, but now is open to all. Some members’ club aesthetics remain in the dark wood paneling and throne-like armchairs, but it’s playful and cozy rather than stuck-up. Chic rooms pay tribute to the athletic theme, with cleverly adapted gym horse seating and boxing-style guest robes. And then there’s the award-winning, eight-seat micro-bar, Milk Room – a former genuine speakeasy from Prohibition times – serving cocktails with rare spirits. There’s also a gym, game room with foosball, billiards and shuffleboard, plus a whole separate suite dedicated to an interactive golf simulator.
The Silversmith is a quietly luxurious hotel that’s in a gem of a location in downtown Chicago’s “diamond district,” known as Jewelers Row. The Magnificent Mile is nearby, as is the Willis Tower, the home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a whole lot more. Amenities are plentiful – including a 24-hour fitness center with Peloton bikes – and rooms have a clean, contemporary feel. Opt for a Pure Wellness room for enhanced air purification, with the aim of allowing guests to breathe more easily.
If being minutes away from the Chicago River and Chicago Theatre isn’t enough, theWit is also directly next to an “L” train station, giving you super-convenient access to even more of the city. But there’s tons to keep you occupied and feeling special back at HQ: a spa, salon, library, and – the jewel on the crown – a 27th-floor rooftop bar with retractable roof, climate-controlled space and show-stopping skyline views.
Chic, urban and set in a particularly buzzing section of downtown Chicago just above Millennium Park, Hotel Julian is a dream for anyone wanting to be in the middle of the action. There’s a cool, boutique vibe to everything, from the lobby – covered in vintage photos and funky artwork – to the slick rooms, which all feature an espresso machine, with some boasting up-close city views. There’s also a well-stocked fitness center, completing the picture as the perfect retreat within the hubbub of downtown.
If the enviable Chicago River views put you in an aquatic mood, take a dip in the heated indoor pool – a bit of a rarity in downtown Chicago hotels, especially when it’s surrounded by natural light. The sweeping rooftop bar, Raised, is also a lot of fun – boasting great downtown scenes and speciality cocktails. The views inside the hotel aren’t too shabby, either, mixing edgy artwork with Chicago photography scattered across lobby pillars. If you want extra pizzazz, booking a King or Queen room gives you access to the swanky Club Lounge.