We’re headed to the Windy City this September for two days of learning the industry’s latest, networking with partners and, of course, a little fun. There’s so much to do, see and eat in Chicago. To help make the most of your time, we’ve mapped out the top places to go during your stay.
where to stay
where to eat & drink
where to relax
what to see
where to shop
The Gwen is named one of the best luxury hotels in Chicago by Travel + Leisure, and that was before their multi-million dollar remodel in 2017. Located underneath Michigan Avenue, it’s perfectly situated for easy access to the world-class shopping and fine dining of the Magnificent Mile, while offering guests an escape from the hustle and bustle of the area. Entrance to the hotel is on Rush Street, one block over from Michigan Avenue.
Located just around the corner from The Gwen, the Green Door Tavern is a neighborhood haunt that’s been around since the Jazz Age. It got its current name from the days of Prohibition when a speakeasy was marked with a green door. Grab a pint here and raise a glass with the locals while cheering on the Cubs.
Every place worth visiting has a signature dish. In Chicago, it’s Chicago-style pizza. Probably no style is more famous than the deep dish. Lou Malnati’s has been serving up this classic for over 40 years and is considered one of the original inventors. Try the “Lou,” named after the man who started it all, made with spinach, mushrooms, and slice roma tomatoes on a garlic butter crust.
Serving American classics with a Southwestern twist, enjoy dishes like iron skillet cornbread and rotisserie chicken at Bandera. Then, finish with a slice of apple walnut cobbler, served à la mode of course, while listening to live jazz featured nightly.
Named for its views overlooking North Michigan Avenue, have a pre-dinner drink in the rooftop garden at NoMI Kitchen before enjoying a beautifully-plated meal. The cuisine ranges from modern American dishes to traditional sushi, neither will disappoint.
Set against the backdrop of a 1930s supper club, the atmosphere is almost as mesmerizing as the food at Shanghai Terrace. Voted one of the best Chinese restaurants in Chicago by Zagat, enjoy traditional Cantonese dishes like Peking duck, and some not-so-traditional like lobster dim sum with black truffles. The main dining room is intimate so reservations are recommended.
Rub elbows with the who’s who in Chicago at this classic Italian steakhouse that’s been serving porterhouses and eggplant parmigiana for nearly eight decades. And for good reason, it’s considered one of the best steakhouses, and most iconic restaurants, in Chicago. Founded by Gene Michelotti and Alfredo “Georgetti” Federighi in 1941, famous patrons have run the gamut of time from Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball to Russell Crowe and Will Ferrell.
Come for the tequila, stay for the tacos at Mercadito. Located just a few blocks away from The Gwen, it’s the perfect spot for a happy hour fiesta.
Everyone loves a good old fashioned, but when you’re looking for a little more creativity in your cocktail, try SideDoor. Nestled inside the historic McCormick Mansion, its classic vintage décor is balanced by a more casual ambiance. Take a sip of the “Rose Parade” made with vodka, ginger, cardamom and blackberries.
Chuan means “flowing water” in Chinese. The word is representative of the rejuvenating treatments offered at the spa, located in The Langham, which are inspired by traditional Chinese medicine. Each changing room has its own series of rooms designed to reinvigorate your body using hot and cold stimuli. Recommendations: The Chuan Bathing Ritual before a private consultation and treatment with the Master of Acupuncture and the Oriental Medicine practitioner.
For a fully customizable treatment, the Waldorf Astoria Spa is unequaled. Taking into account everything from skin type to stress level, their experts will create a truly unique experience for you. Recommendations: The SilkPeel Facial followed by the Lava Shell Massage.
The Four Seasons is synonymous with luxury, and the Spa at Four Seasons Chicago is no different. Feel stress and tension melt away during the Magnificent Mile massage, aptly named for the famed street located just outside its doorstep. Spa guests can also enjoy a dip in the 50-foot indoor swimming pool with purchase of a 50-minute massage. Recommendations: The Magnificent Mile massage
Founded in 1879, the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. Stroll through the halls that house almost 300,000 works of art year round ranging from Byzantine to Renaissance and Contemporary. In September, see Chicago during the Gilded Age through the eyes of portraitist John Singer Sargent.
Known as the ‘People’s Pier,’ the Navy Pier was built in 1916 by famed architect Charles Sumner Frost. While its original purpose was less glamorous, serving as a freight dock, a naval training center, and even a prison for a short while, it was redesigned and reintroduced to the public in 1995 as a place of community for locals and visitors to enjoy. Today, you can eat, dine, shop, and go for a ride on the Centennial Wheel while taking in the views of Lake Michigan.
The name needs no introduction. Wrigley Field is perhaps one of the most famous fields in baseball, and American history. It’s been home to the Chicago Cubs, the 2016 World Series Champions, for over 100 years. Enjoy the sights of the iconic red marquee as you walk in, the ivy-covered brick outfield wall and the hand-turned scoreboard. The Cubs play at home against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, September 16.
Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Shedd is home to 32,000 animals from waters all over the world, but their mission goes beyond connecting people to these amazing animals. Their scientists and conservationists are hard at work protecting endangered species and restoring the health of the Great Lakes. Go early or be prepared to wait, the Shedd welcomes over 2 million visitors a year.
Bringing music and laughter to the Windy City since 1921, the Chicago Theatre has played host to some of the most famous names in music, comedy, and film for almost 100 years, from Duke Ellington to Ellen DeGeneres and Alicia Keys. Built in the French Baroque style, the architecture of the theatre is a work of art itself for visitors to enjoy. Tours are offered almost daily.
Located on the 94th floor of 875 North Michigan Avenue, formerly the John Hancock Building, learn about the city’s history, neighborhoods, and architecture at 360 Chicago while taking in unobstructed views of the Windy City. For those looking for a little more thrill, check out TILT. It’s the newest experience at 360 that literally tilts riders over 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile.
The Field Museum in Chicago is one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Take a step back in time, a big step, to 4 billion years ago when dinosaurs roamed the planet before paying a visit to the largest collection of mummies in the Midwest. After grabbing a bite at one of the two restaurants located in the museum, marvel at the rare jewels and stones in the Grainger Hall of Gems.
Affectionately referred to as ‘Chicago’s front yard,’ Grant Park is 319 sprawling acres located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It’s home to the Art Institute, Millennium Park, and Buckingham Fountain. Dedicated to the park in 1927, the fountain is the crown jewel of Grant Park inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles. From April to October, catch an enchanting water show every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
If the hustle and bustle of the Magnificent Mile is not your style, try the Shops at North Bridge. The Shops are just a short walk away from The Gwen over a sky bridge and include stores like Nordstrom and Stuart Weitzman.