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 housed in the landmark Carbide & Carbon Building, a marvel of architecture designed to 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-fashioned elegance and rock-and-roll glamour.
At Chuck’s: A Kerry Simon Kitchen, you can sample signature cocktails and upscale American fare such as organic chicken with farro-and-barley risotto. Upstairs in the stylish guest rooms and suites, you’ll find excellent views of downtown Chicago framed by steel-colored curtains. As part of the Fender picks program, a guitar can be delivered to your room, free of charge.
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.