I want to take my wife to the city for a great weekend and we want to see the best of the city. Suggestions?
We have stayed at the JW, the Renaissance, and the big Marriott on Michigan Avenue. As Platinum lifetime members, we were upgraded to suites at the Renaissance, and the Marriott. The JW didn't seem to care about our status. Bummer, because I really wanted to like it there!
So, from our experience, I would highly recommend the Renaissance. It is close to everything, you can walk everywhere and if you don't want to walk the L is right there and there is a water taxi stop right across the street, great restaurants close by, a nice CL, the staff is excellent, and the views of the Chicago river are great. Have a fantastic time!
Concur on Renaissance we had a great stay at this hotel and it's centerally located.
So far, out of all of the Hotels in Chicago, this one stands out as my favorite. The Blackstone Hotel
JW is the best location. The Ren is not quite as nice but seems to treat people better. Certainly not a bad location, just not in the middle of everything like the JW
Stay at the Blackstone, hands down! Incredible Lake Michigan view! Amazing location, excellent property, warm and knowledgeable staff. Around the corner from Harrison CTA Red Line Station and Lou Malnati's. Quick walk - everywhere! Our favorite for end-of-the-year visit - yes, when it's cold and sunny in Chicago! Better than the JW, IMHO. C
And make sure you check out Buddy Guys! http://buddyguy.com/
It really may come down to what you want to do for the weekend. Chicago is a very walkable city in general but some of these M locations will be more convenient than others for what you want to do. I've enjoyed the Ren and JW. Haven't visited Blackstone yet. I tend to like being near the river (central for shopping, museums, theater) and that's part of the Ren appeal for me. If you're all Mag Mile shopping, you may even want to consider the Ritz and the north end. Museum campus a priority - then Blackstone may be your stop.
Your first priority should be location for a Chicago weekend visit.
The Blackstone is in the South Loop and the JW is IN the loop. Both of these locations will be dead (by comparison) on the weekend.
Your best bet, location wise is the Marriott downtown or the Ritz. Those two hotels offer DIRECT access to shops and restaurants that will be open and bustling on the weekend.
A close third would be the Renaissance - you might have to walk a bit more though.
Consider one of your dinners to be at Gibson's. There are a ton of steakhouses to choose from, but this is the most classic.
Those three hotels will give you classic Chicago. I will toss in a third option if you want to be in a trendy, hipster neighborhood....https://www.therobey.com/
This hotel is near where I live.
The Hotel Chicago, Autograph Collection is a good option as well. Right along the river, by House of Blues. Two blocks from Michigan Ave. Two blocks for a Red Line stop. The rooms are small as it is a little older. But the uniqueness of the decor makes up for it. And not too bad as far as price goes.
Chicago is our favorite big city in the U.S.!
Two airports to serve the city: O'Hare (accessible via train, or rental car - plan on 45 minutes to one hour to city)
Midway - don't believe they offer any train service, car ride some 30 minuted
*Having an auto is best way to get around and see city, but parking is issue, unless staying at downtown hotel,
and then hotel parking fees are $35/day +
Favorite hotels: Marriott Residence Inn, North Walton (two blocks off N. Michigan Ave.)
Marriott, & Fairfield Inn, N. Michigan Ave.
Conrad Hilton Hotel - S. Michigan Ave.
Great museums: Museum of Science & Industry (south of city, off Lakeshore Drive)
Museum of Natural History - near Conrad Hilton
Art Museum (near Conrad Hilton Hotel)
Frank Lloyd Center (off Eisenhower Fwy., not exactly a museum, but interesting)
Favorite tour spots: Top of Sears Building (particularly at night)
John Hancock Building - N. Michigan
Navy Pier (off Lake Shore Drive)
Chicago Water Tower Building, N. Michigan
Drake Hotel, N. Michigan Ave - beautiful ballroom, and great nightime coffee lounge
Wonderful restaurants: *Tuscany's - In Little Italy - our favorite for years!
Ron of Japan, East Ontario St.
Spiaggia, N. Michigan Ave., across street from Drake Hotel
Check Internet for "City Passes" - and also symphony and theater tickets (if interested)
I've stayed at the AC Downtown Chicago a couple of times. As a platinum member, I've gotten upgraded to larger rooms both times! It's a block from Michigan avenue shops, and across the street from Lawry's Prime Rib. However, parking is $52/night, so I found it's cheaper to take Uber or Lyft from Schaumburg (round trip) rather than pay parking fees
Lots of great eats within walking distance too!
We have stayed at almost every Marriott property in downtown Chicago. We go in the summer primarily to see the Cubs play with that said here are my favorites in order:
Blackstone - great, historic hotel, but not near Michigan Ave. where all the shopping is. Several blocks from Red Line
Springhill Suites/Residence Inn (on Dearborn) - share a lobby. Usually good price. Close to Michigan Ave and Red Line
Marriott on Michigan Ave. - love this property, but their lobby is often jam packed and their concierge lounge is now combined with the restaurant and there are long lines (or there were the weekend we were there). Make sure you get a renovated room. This is a conference hotel so busy most of the time.
AC Hotel - right around the corner from the Marriott. I like this hotel, but floors in rooms are not carpeted. Very modern and somewhat sterile rooms. Location is great. Staff is great. No breakfast included.
Fairfield Inn - On Illinois - great location and easy to get to Michigan Ave and Red Line.
JW - nice hotel, overpriced and not in a great location. I've only stayed there once. I'd choose the Blackstone over JW in that location.
Parking - Get the Spot Hero App. This allows you to park for 50% less in Chicago. We park in the same lot as the hotel for more than 50% less than the hotel using the app.
Great city....choose Due Pizzeria over Uno's - same pizza - less of a wait. The locals go to Due, tourists Uno.
Chicago is the best city in the world 3 months out of the year! There is so much to do. For fun activities I highly recommend an architecture tour (weather permitting), museums, walking around, Lincoln Park Zoo, the Bean---ahhh! too much to suggest. For hotels, I have stayed in a few now that I no longer live there. The Renaissance on Wacker is quite nice (very hip, modern, cool bar)---however during my last stay my room was on the 13th floor and I had a drawer that would not stay closed and no matter what I did to close it, it would open the second I walked away (kind of creepy). In addition, I stepped on the curb wrong outside of the hotel and broke my leg for which I was not able to walk for close to 3 months and had multiple surgeries but am now pretty much as good as I will get. HOWEVER, the staff was very nice during this process---no one knew how bad it was initially as I thought I had a sprain and refused medical treatment. I ended up in a wheelchair and lost half my wardrobe because I left it in the closet (oops!) I dont want to bore you with details, it is certainly not the hotels fault, but I am 100% positive I will never stay there again (superstition over floor 13). The Marriott on Michigan is nice. All properties are nice and close to anything you want to do.
As for pizza, I am a Lou Malnattis fan (on LaSalle I believe downtown). I do not care for Uno or Due or Giordanos. But you should weigh your options. You wont go wrong with food in CHI!
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