Hotel at a Glance: Public Chicago
The 4-star Public Chicago hotel fits right in amid the affluent River North neighborhood’s stylish condos and upscale restaurants. Its own restaurant, Pump Room, has caught the eye of Conde Nast Traveler, Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times for its 1950s vibe and an inventive, supper-club-inspired menu. After filling up on chocolate ganache, you can sip espresso in the hotel’s library, which transforms into a hip night club after dark.
- The press says: The New York Times calls the hotel “surprisingly elegant and refreshingly down-to-earth.”
- Pump Room: Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn once lounged at this glitzy club, which has since been renovated to re-imagine its heyday. Here, James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves roasted Maine lobster and grilled rack of lamb made with locally sourced ingredients.
- Where you’ll stay: Tastefully decorated rooms and suites feature flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations. Spacious loft rooms offer views of the city.
- Things to do nearby: Catch an improv show at the legendary Second City, where comedians ranging from Tina Fey to Stephen Colbert jumpstarted their careers, or cruise the city’s premiere nightlife district along Rush and Division.
- Sip coffee by the fireplace in the hotel’s elegant library, which is decorated with portraits in gilded frames.
- Private screening room: Lounge on a button-back couch and watch movies by candlelight, or listen to live poetry readings. Kids can get into the act on the weekends, when they show family-friendly flicks.
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).