Property at a Glance: Freehand Hotel
The Freehand is a just-opened boutique hotel in Chicago’s popular River North neighborhood. Locals probably know it best as the location of The Broken Shaker, an offshoot of the James Beard–nominated cocktail bar in Miami. The Windy City iteration landed on Eater Chicago’s “Where to Drink Right Now” map, thanks in part to its Cocoa Puff–infused old fashioned, and in part to its giant Jenga set.
- Where you’ll stay: Guest rooms were created by heralded interior designers Roman and Williams.
- Wake up with a coffee from the onsite Cafe Integral, an NYC-based coffee roaster. The café offers Nicaraguan coffee and Mesoamerican comfort food influenced by the midwest.
- Pay-what-you-want tours of Chicago start at the hotel every Saturday at 10 a.m.
- Within 1 mile: Michigan Avenue (a.k.a. “The Magnificent Mile”), the Hancock Building, the Chicago Theatre, Millennium Park, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Chicago’s River North: World-Class Art Galleries, Restaurants, and Nightlife near Downtown
Bordering the Loop on the northern side of the Chicago River, the River North neighborhood is where the skyscrapers of downtown give way to the award-winning restaurants and trendy nightspots of the North Side. Once an industrial area, River North is today home to architectural gems—the Jenga-like Contemporaine residential building on Wells Street is a good example—as well as eateries to suit every appetite and budget.
Dining options range from inventive Peruvian cuisine at Tanta Restaurant to Chicago classics such as Portillo’s. At Eataly, you could spend a full week working your way through the Italian offerings at 23 separate restaurants and food stalls.
In addition to its formidable culinary presence, River North boasts the country’s largest concentration of art galleries outside of Manhattan. Born around the same time that Jim Nutt and other Chicago Imagists rose to prominence, the River North Gallery District runs along Chicago, Superior and Huron Streets, occupying century-old, red brick warehouses that have been converted into lofts and exhibition spaces.
Amid River North’s restaurants, condos, nightclubs, and galleries, you’ll also find the leaders of Chicago’s rapidly growing tech sector. Among the companies that have offices here: Google, a gaggle of digital startups at the 1871 co-working space, and, yes, Groupon (we’re in the old Montgomery Ward building, where the mail-order catalog was born).