AAA Four Diamond Luxury Hotel with Rock-and-Roll Glamour
Just a few blocks north of the Art Institute’s Monets and Picassos, there’s another cultural shrine: the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. It’s set in the classic Carbide & Carbon Building, a marvel of architecture designed by legendary architects Daniel Burnham Jr. and Hubert Burnham; its gilded top makes it look like a giant champagne bottle. Inside the shiny lobby, there are display cases with rock memorabilia such as Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz’s Fender Squier bass guitar. The building as a whole is a blend of Old-World elegance and rock-and-roll glamour.
The hotel’s Chuck’s: A Kerry Simon Kitchen has its own cocktail list and serves upscale American fare, such as organic chicken with farro-and-barley risotto. At the onsite Angels & Kings bar, you can catch a live-music set.
Upstairs in the guest rooms and suites, you can get views of Chicago from behind steel-colored curtains. Platinum king rooms are corner units with north-facing views of Michigan Avenue, and tower suites offer vistas of the north, east, and south. As part of the free Fender picks program, you can have 1 of 20 Fender guitars delivered to your room and jam on it with headphones on.
Chicago’s Magnificent Mile: Upscale Boutiques and Historic Architecture
On Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, landmark skyscrapers such as the John Hancock Center and the Wrigley Building tower over the city’s liveliest retail corridor. In total, this stretch of high-end real estate houses some 460 stores, ranging from exclusive designers such as Armani and Chanel to beloved brands including Apple, American Girl, and Gap. Double-decker buses and horse-drawn carriages circle the Chicago Water Tower, a limestone icon that survived the Great Chicago Fire, and droves of shoppers navigate eight levels of boutiques and cafés at the nearby Water Tower Place.
Lake Shore Drive runs two blocks east of Michigan Avenue. Travel + Leisure called this stretch “the greatest architecture road on earth” thanks to the superstar skyscrapers lined up along the lakefront. Looming above them all, of course, is the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower)—the tallest building in North America. Runners, cyclists, and runaway lawn mowers travel the adjoining Lakefront Trail throughout the year. A mile and a half north, crowds gather at North Avenue Beach during the summer to people watch, play volleyball, and listen to live music at beachfront bars.