19th-Century Hotel on Michigan Avenue Features Elegant Guest Rooms with High Ceilings
When it was opened in in 1893, The Congress Plaza Hotel was intended to be the elite spot for travelers who passed through Chicago. The hotel first welcomed guests during the World's Columbian Exposition. Over the next 50 years, it was furnished with glamorous ballrooms and stylish supper clubs. The building soon became known as the "Home of the Presidents" for hosting Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, and other presidents. Now the hotel's advantage is its superb location in downtown Chicago, located along Michigan Avenue and just steps away from Grant Park, world-class museums, and luxury shopping.
Centuries after its construction, the hotel still emanates Old-World glamour. Head up to the standard double guest rooms and you'll find soaring ceilings and large windows. Lake-view rooms are similar in size and style, but feature fantastic views of Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, and Lake Michigan. Be sure to explore the rest of the hotel—the lobby ceiling is constructed out of mosaic tiles, whereas the Renaissance-style Gold Room features elaborate murals restored by Lido Lippi, who also helped restore the Sistine Chapel.
The Congress has two onsite dining spots, including Rafael Steak House. This dinner-only spot serves gourmet burgers, tenderloin crusted with blue cheese, and other specialties. In the morning, you can enjoy a hearty American breakfast at the Gazebo Restaurant.
Chicago's Loop: Historic Commercial Center with World-Class Museums and Parks
The Congress Plaza Hotel is situated on the eastern edge of The Loop, Chicago's historic commercial center and the country’s second-largest business district. Here you’ll see several skyscrapers, including the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the Chicago Board of Trade. But this part of town is also home to waterfront parks, a glitzy theater district, and some of the world’s finest art collections.
Half a mile from the hotel is the Art Institute of Chicago. There's a gargantuan collection here, everything from marble busts and sarcophagi to modern masterpieces such as Edward Hopper's Nighthawks and Grant Wood's American Gothic. The Loop itself is also lined with spectacular public art, including outdoor sculptures from Picasso and Miro.
Grant Park, known affectionately as "Chicago's front yard," occupies more than 300 acres along the lake directly across from the hotel. 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. Just north, in Millennium Park, the Frank Gehry–designed Pritzker Music Pavilion hosts free outdoor classical-music concerts during the summer.
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