With a a fantastic urban skyline, world renowned restaurants and a rich cultural offering, Chicago could be the consummate city break destination.
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the US state of Illinois, Chicago is too often overlooked in favour of rival cities New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But visitors who do venture to the Windy City are rewarded with a cultural and commercial centre that blends fabulous architecture, a dynamic culinary scene and in The Art Institute of Chicago, one of the oldest and largest museums in the world.
The United States’ third largest city offers a diverse range of attractions for the visiting tourist. Ascend to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower for spectacular views across four states, wander through Millennium Park and visit Anish Kapoor’s iconic sculpture Cloud Gate (which is affectionately dubbed the bean on account of its shape). Follow the Frank Lloyd Wright Trail through the city (and state of Illinois) and take a tour of the 13 buildings in this locality that were designed by the legendary American architect. Watch a ball game at Wrigley Field, relax on one of Chicago’s beautiful lakeside beaches, indulge in a spot of al fresco dining and drink in the views from any of the numerous rooftop bars across town.
Regardless of taste or budget visitors will have little difficulty finding suitable accommodation in Chicago; the city boasts more than 40,000 hotel rooms ranging in style from traditional to ultra-modern, as well as countless bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and private rentals. The best places do fill up quickly though, especially during peak holiday seasons, so advance booking is advised to avoid disappointment. Most of the world famous luxury hotel groups are represented in the city with options seemingly boundless at the high end of the market. Some of the most notable are The Peninsula - a deluxe, five star hotel at the heart of the city’s Magnificent Mile, The Pendry - a contemporary boutique hotel housed within an iconic 1920’s Art Deco building, and Hotel EMC2 which expertly marries art and science in its modern design.
Long established as one of America’s great foodie destinations, Chicago’s many fine dining establishments offer gourmet travellers an unforgettable dining experience. Top of the list has to be Grant Achatz’s Alinea - an innovative, forward-thinking restaurant and the city’s only three star Michelin eatery. Offering three distinct experiences - The Kitchen Table, The Gallery and The Salon - Alinea, and chef Achatz, are world renowned as leaders in progressive cuisine inspired by molecular gastronomy. For wine lovers the restaurant also runs a series of wine-centred dinners which showcase varietals and producers from around the world, each time complemented by a unique tasting menu.
Other Michelin rated restaurants here include Next - another Achatz venue which explores the world through food by changing its menu periodically to focus on a specific culinary region, moment in time or theme, Smyth - a two-star restaurant cooking creative cuisine from seasonal ingredients, Omakase Yume - an intimate Japanese eatery with a growing reputation, and Maple & Ash - a modern steakhouse serving dry-aged classics and seafood and boasting an interesting wine list of some 1800 plus selections.
The wine scene in Chicago is often overlooked perhaps because the city is home to so many craft beer and cocktail venues. But those looking for a glass - or a bottle - of their favourite vino can be assured that Chicago has them covered. From Champagne bars to wine-led eateries, the city has a growing wine culture with increasingly adventurous consumers spurred on by master sommeliers determined to showcase their selections. Some notable bars to try here include Pops for Champagne - which offers a wide selection of sparkling wines along with a carefully chosen menu to complement the selections, Webster’s Wine Bar which focuses on minimal intervention wines from small, family-owned producers, and Rootstock which offers an extensive, wide-ranging wine list and a menu of small plates served until late.
But it’s not only fine wining and dining for which Chicago’s food scene is famed. Street food is also an integral part of the city’s culinary identity, and given its 77 distinct multicultural neighbourhoods the range and diversity of cuisine on offer is a match for any other US city. From delicious deep-dish pizza to gourmet hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches to Mexican specialities such as Tamales and Cemita, Chicago has a thriving street food culture that’s woven into the fabric of the city.
So, whether you’re a food and wine enthusiast looking for world class modernist cuisine with the perfect wine pairing, an art lover longing to see one of the world’s most renowned collections, or a film buff wanting to explore the city that played a starring role in 1980s classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Risky Business (and more recently in Hulu’s The Bear), Chicago is a world class destination that invites exploration.
601 N State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60610
954 N California Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60622
2601 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60647
1723 North Halstead Street,, Chicago, Illinois, 60614
2429 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60614
2656 W Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60625
564 W Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661
565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois, 60661
8 West Maple Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60610
953 West Fulton Market, Chicago, Illinois, 60607
2610 N Cannon Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60614
651 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, Illinois, 60661
565 W Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661
123 N Jefferson Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60661
177 North Ada Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60607
177 North Ada Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60607
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