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.
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.
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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