Hotel at a Glance: The Wacker River Hotel
The aptly named Wacker River Hotel offers a stunning view of the Chicago River from its location on Wacker Drive. Many guest rooms look out at Marina City, a pair of skyscrapers famously shaped like two ears of corn (and made extra-famous by an appearance on the cover of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). Within a 10-minute walk of the hotel, you can go shopping along the Magnificent Mile, board an architecture river cruise, or catch live music at the House of Blues.
- Complimentary WiFi helps you plan out your days in Chicago and stay connected with folks back home.
- Deep-dish pizza is a must-eat at the onsite Bella Bacino’s Italian Bistro & Pizzeria, which also serves Italian entrees such as handmade ravioli and lasagna.
- Guest rooms come with a flat-screen TV, iPod docking station, complimentary coffee and tea, and fitness equipment delivered upon request. The one-bedroom suite also features a kitchenette and living room.
- Free perks: Enjoy unlimited complimentary bottled water during your stay. You can also request a Sleep Better kit that includes an eye mask, ear plugs, and aromatherapy.
Chicago’s Loop: Historic Commercial Center with World-Class Museums and Parks
Named after the shape formed by the elevated train tracks that form its perimeter, The Loop is Chicago’s downtown and the country’s second-largest business district. Skyscrapers such as the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the art-deco Chicago Board of Trade Building loom large here. They overlook waterfront parks, a glitzy theater district, and some of the world’s finest art collections.
About one mile from the hotel is the Art Institute of Chicago, whose gargantuan collection covers everything from marble busts and sarcophagi to modern masterpieces such as Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. You don’t even have to go to the museum to see outstanding art—walk around The Loop, and you’ll see outdoor sculptures from Picasso and Joan Miró. Just north of the Art Institute, Millennium Park is known for both the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion (which hosts free public concerts during the summer), and for the sculpture Cloud Gate, known to Chicagoans as “The Bean” for its legume-like shape.
Grant Park, known affectionately as “Chicago’s front yard,” occupies more than 300 acres along the lake just east of the Loop. Modeled after the gardens at Versailles, the park is dotted with several impressive attractions, including Buckingham Fountain, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Adler Planetarium. Its sheer size have made Grant Park the site of many notable events, including Barack Obama’s 2008 victory speech and the Lollapalooza music festival, which takes place here every summer.