Restored Four-Star Hotel from the 1920s on the Magnificent Mile
As night falls on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the "Tip-Top-Tap" sign illuminates The Allerton Hotel's Italian Renaissance–style façade. The red-neon sign is the last vestige of the hotel's penthouse lounge, a swanky nightclub frequented by Hollywood A-listers. The Allerton is an official Chicago landmark, but thankfully it’s not just a relic. A recent $60 million renovation has restored the original 1920s brickwork while updating the interior for the 21st century. Today, the four-star Allerton Hotel resembles an upscale Michigan Avenue residence, with a prime location to match: it’s within walking distance of Water Tower Place, the John Hancock Center, and other major Chicago attractions. “If you want to stay in a place in the middle of it all,” Fodor’s writes, “this is a very good choice.”
Plush chartreuse booths add a splash of color to the black-and-white interior of M Avenue Restaurant, a stylish spot that specializes in contemporary American cuisine. The adjacent lounge bar, with a freestanding fireplace, is good place to grab a cocktail after shopping on the Magnificent Mile.
Because of the hotel’s historic floor plan, each of the rooms and suites has a distinctive layout. The design and amenities are modern, including marble bathrooms, upholstered headboards, and flat-screen TVs. Stay in one of the superior suites for more space, as they include a separate parlor, or request a room overlooking Michigan Avenue for a great view of the Magnificent Mile.
Chicago's Magnificent Mile: Upscale Boutiques and Historical 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, the 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, known to locals as the Sears Tower, which is the tallest building in North America. Runners, cyclists, and runaway lawn mowers travel the adjoining Lakefront Trail throughout the year.