This upmarket area has witnessed a slew of new hotel openings, giving this once traditional neighbourhood a fresh, reinvigorated feel.
Celebrated British interior designer Tara Bernerd has added more than a splash of style to the luxury Thompson Chicago, which features exposed red brick interiors and sultry décor, and its Italian restaurant Nico Osteria is now among the city’s finest. Among its in-house perks is the Lexus guest experience programme, where motorheads can get behind the wheel of an LX570 8-passenger SUV or an ultra-sporty ISC F Sport hardtop convertible to explore the city in style.
Plan your trip to Chicago
Former chef to Oprah Winfrey, Art Smith has revived Chicago’s taste for Southern cuisine with his restaurant Blue Door Kitchen, a casual outfit that uses ingredients sourced from midwestern farms. If you’re after something more refined, head to the elegant 3 Arts Club Café within luxury homeware store Restoration Hardware for comfort food – try the truffle grilled cheese and hand cut fries. Come for the simple, satisfying food – stay for the stylish, custom-crafted interiors.
For a night on the town, check out Andy’s Jazz Club, where the venue’s historic lunchtime sessions have grown into nightly shows brimming with office workers winding down to instrumental jams.
The Gold Coast may be known for its sprawling mansions and upmarket boutiques, but it is also home to a few unique attractions. Stop by the original Playboy Mansion, now the site of a luxury condominium, where Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy Club at the height of the sexual revolution in 1960. If you’re after something a touch more academic, check out the International Museum of Surgical Science, the continent’s only museum dedicated to surgery, where exhibits explore 19th century apothecary, practices in pain management and ancient and modern medicines.
Boasting the newly renovated Museum of Contemporary Art, Navy Pier and some of the city’s trendiest beaches, this hotspot is popular with tourists and locals.
If you want to be in the heart of it all, the Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile is the hotel for you. Primely positioned on the cusp of the city’s main shopping district, the hotel is surrounded by restaurants where you can refuel between sessions. After a long day on the town, unwind with a ‘Windy City Massage’ and a pedicure, on offer from the in-room spa menu.
In 2017, the newly redesigned Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art added Marisol, a new restaurant from local chef Jason Hammel serving dishes made with seasonal and sustainably sourced produce. Indulge in buttermilk pancakes if you’re there early, or check in later for the Hanger steak or succulent buccatini with black truffle. Neighbourhood coffeehouse Beatrix serves brews from local roasters alongside tasty plates, such as roasted cauliflower salads and kung pao Brussels sprouts – a great spot for hosting casual meetings or lunch with friends.
After you’ve sated your appetite at Marisol, wind your way through the hallways of the Museum of Contemporary Art – the permanent collection is home to 2,500 pieces. Check out the new education floor and social engagement space, part of the museum’s US$16 million redesign, where visitors can get an in-depth insight to the art on show. Theatre-lovers should pay a visit to the Lookingglass Theatre, co-founded by Friends star David Schwimmer and known for its award-winning, out-of-the-box productions. The theatre is housed in one of the oldest downtown buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.