New This Month

An Insider's Travel Guide to Chicago

Stylish new hotels, compelling chef-driven restaurants, and architectural wonders -- these are just some of the reasons to visit the Windy City right now.

hollander modern hostel chicago
Photography by: COURTESY OF GRUPO HABITA (THE HOLLANDER)

Where to Stay

The Hollander

With its soaring architecture, irresistible eats, and laid-back lakeshore beaches, the Windy City makes an action-packed vacation spot. One new home base in the easily walkable Wicker Park neighborhood is the Hollander, a modern hotel-hostel with cool shared (and private) loft rooms in multiple configurations. And thanks to an ongoing hotel boom, even more stylish new digs abound. thehollander.com

 

Kimpton Gray Hotel

Guests of this stylish property, set in an iconic 1894 building in the Loop, will love chilling in its Mad Men-esque lobby. Complimentary morning meditation classes are offered once a month (the next one is July 19), and there’s an on-site salon and spa to meet your massage and mani-pedi needs. grayhotelchicago.com

 

Conrad Chicago

Designer Pierre-Yves Rochon is the man behind the Magnificent Mile’s latest luxury hotel, which has skyline views and three restaurants from chef Richard Sandoval, including Baptiste & Bottle. (Don’t miss its bourbon tasting flights; it has more than 75 varieties on the menu.) Keep your eyes peeled for artwork by Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, and Donald Judd. conradchicagohotel.com

 

LondonHouse Chicago

A Beaux Arts landmark and an adjoining glass tower make up the 1920s-inspired riverfront property. Make time for drinks and snacks at LH, touted as the city’s only tri-level rooftop venue. londonhousechicago.com

 

Viceroy Chicago

When it opens on September 1, this 180-room hotel will bring the first rooftop pool to the Gold Coast neighborhood. While Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL Studio has transformed the inside of the former Cedar Hotel -- including adding a show-stopping three-story atrium lobby -- the brick and terracotta exterior remains. Expect a mini bar filled with local treats and a restaurant from James Beard Award-nominated chef Lee Wolen. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

kippered mackeral with pickled vegetables
Photography by: Derek Richmond
Kippered mackerel with seed bread and radishes at Publican Anker.

Where to Eat

Publican Anker

The latest spot from chef Paul Kahan and One Off Hospitality Group -- a spin-off of the beloved Publican -- serves up mostly seafood and vegetable (“From the Soil”) dishes, plus a mean burger topped with caramelized onions, American cheese, and the requisite special sauce. publicananker.com

 

Elske

Speaking of Kahan, David and Anna Posey -- a husband-and-wife team who worked with him at The Publican and Blackbird, respectively -- have gone out on their own with this American-meets-Danish restaurant in the West Loop. It serves an eight-course menu, plus a la carte dishes like white asparagus with smoked trout and buckwheat, and slow-roasted pork with potatoes, garlic miso, and caramel. elskerestaurant.com

 

Portillo’s Hot Dogs

Yes, it’s touristy -- but that’s part of the fun. Stop in for the classic Chicago-style hot dog, which is “dragged through the garden” and topped with onions, relish, a pickle spear, tomatoes, sport peppers, and celery salt. For dessert, order the chocolate cake shake (and get extra cups for sharing). portillos.com

 

Parachute

Head to this cozy Avondale spot for Korean-American cuisine from Top Chef alum Beverly Kim and her husband, Johnny Clark. The menu changes daily, but expect inspired bites such as pork-and-mung bean pancake with pineapple butter, and duck breast with bok choy and rhubarb. If you have the kids in tow, it’s best to go between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. (and if they get antsy, there’s a park right across the street). parachuterestaurant.com

skydeck chicago at willis tower
Photography by: Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower

What to Do

The Ledge at the Willis Tower

Warning: If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to stop reading now! At the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, you can ride the elevator to the 103rd floor and take in the view around you -- as well as the one 1,450 feet below, thanks to these glass boxes that extend from the skyscraper. theskydeck.com

 

Architecture Tour

The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers many ways to explore the city’s incredible buildings -- but our pick is the one that takes to the waters of the Chicago River. From a comfy perch on a two-level yacht from Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, you’ll learn about more than 50 structures, including the Marina City towers by Bertrand Goldberg (completed in 1967) and the newer River Point, which has arch cutouts at the top and base, inspired by St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. cruisechicago.com

 

The Field Museum

It’s hard to pick favorites among Chicago’s museums -- but this natural history museum ranks high on our list. It’s home to a whopping 30 million artifacts and specimens, and as of last November, visitors can meet the scientists at work at the new Grainger Science Hub. fieldmuseum.org

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