Explore the famous figures and stories of a bygone era over cocktails at a notorious Chicago hotel

The Loop, Chicago

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What You'll Do

The Palmer House Hotel winds the clock back to turn-of-the-century splendor, when grand decor, lavish meals, and elegant ballrooms were the standard. Get dressed up in your best vintage clothes—or just a spiffy outfit—before making your way to the Chicago landmark. Once there, you'll listen to architectural historian Wendy Bright discuss the hotel’s decadent history as you enjoy appetizers and sips of the same classic cocktails that were once imbibed by the famous acts that performed in the Empire Room night club. Admire the architecture created for the Windy City's most rarefied clientele all while you enjoy music and view historic photographs.

  • Learn About a Lavish Chicago Landmark
    Architectural historian Wendy Bright brings the past of the Palmer House Hotel to life with historic pictures and music

  • Indulge in Classic Appetizers and Cocktails
    Snack on gourmet olives, homemade truffle chips, pretzels with mustard, and select desserts; drinks are available at the lobby bar

The experience lasts two hours. Each event is capped at eight participants; each event requires a minimum of two participants in order to take place. Light appetizers are included in the cost, and you can purchase drinks onsite.


Your Host

Wendy Bright Wendy Bright
Architectural Historian

When Wendy Bright looks at a building, she sees more than a façade of brick, glass, or concrete. She envisions the sights and sounds of bygone eras, reaching back into the past to tell the stories of the many people and events hosted in historic structures. After earning a master's degree in art history, Wendy decided to pair her curiosity for American buildings with her aesthetic sense and became an architectural historian. She has trained with the Chicago Architecture Foundation and aims to get others interested in the rich architectural history of Chicago.


Where You'll Meet

Shortly after its construction, the Palmer House Hotel burned down in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It was swiftly rebuilt and soon became revered as one of the world's ritziest spots—and a lightning rod for the rich and famous. Its grandiose interior—including a lobby with soaring ceilings that depict Greek mythology in colorful detail—still hearkens back to a day of bygone opulence.


Reviews

I learned so much about the city I've lived in most of my life. Wendy is a wonderful storyteller, making history come alive.

C. Hughes, SideTour

Had a great time, Wendy was really interesting and had all kinds of interesting stories and insider gossip to make it more interesting.

Bernadette F., SideTour
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    The Loop

    17 East Monroe Street

    Chicago, Illinois 60603

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In a Nutshell

Admire the grand architecture of the Palmer House Hotel while munching on appetizers, sipping classic cocktails, and viewing historic photos

The Fine Print

Expiration varies. Refundable only on day of purchase. Min. of 2 participants or experience subject to cancellation. No value after experience date & time have passed. Price reflects Experience Provider’s current prices. Please provide email address at checkout, which SideTour will provide to facilitate redemption. Must be 21 or older. Gratuity included. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

In and Around Chicago

Experiences that expand cultural awareness, such as museums, tours, and literature

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  • The Loop (568.7 miles)

    17 East Monroe Street

    Chicago, Illinois 60603

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