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Welcome to Chicago, a city brimming with so much culture its known as Americas Third Coast with a Great Lake instead of an ocean. While there is no shortage of recreation in The City That Works, this capsule guide is designed to give you the facts needed to make the most of a brief visit, including advice on where to eat, drink, play and stay from thousands of savvy locals, whose input forms the basis of the reviews on the following pages. To make your visit manageable, weve focused mainly on Chicago proper, especially River North, and included links to helpful websites. Arriving
Most Chicago visitors arrive at bustling OHare International Airport, 17 miles northwest of the city. From there, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) offers 24-hour Blue Line train service to Downtown. Less hectic and a little more central (10 miles southwest of the city), Midway International Airport is serviced by the CTA Orange Line. Hate to fly? Amtrak trains regularly pull in and out of Union Station, a short cab ride to Downtown, and major interstate highways include I-90/94, I-290 and I-55. at Taxis are easy to flag, or you can slow it down with a romantic carriage ride (try the stand at Michigan Avenue and Chestnut Street). Metra commuter trains connect the city with the burbs (


Sears, Marshall Fields, Montgomery Ward Chicago practically invented the department store and mail-order catalog. Today, exclusive designer boutiques, major retailers and specialty shops teem with tourists and locals in search of everything from the height of fashion to the lowest of prices whether your taste runs to jeans or jewels, lingerie or laptops. Water Tower Place stacks tiers of stores while the Mag Mile strings them down Michigan Avenue (culminating at the tony Oak Street intersection). The Merchandise Mart overflows with wholesalers, designers showrooms and furniture dealers.

See Chicago sprawl from the Sears Tower and Hancock Building observation decks, or from a lake cruise (launching off Navy Pier and by the bridge at Michigan and Wacker). Take a Chicago Architectural Foundation walking or bus tour (, zero in on a specific neighborhood ( or check out the Chicago History Museums El tour ( Freebies include guided tours from the Chicago Office of Tourism (pre-register at and city trolleys between Museum Campus, popular Downtown destinations and train stations (


Getting Oriented
Chicagos distant past as a glacial lake bottom coupled with its modern street-grid system make the city a walkers paradise. All you need to remember is that street addresses march upward as you travel outward from the intersection of State (NorthSouth) and Madison (EastWest) streets. The business district and a revived theater scene rub shoulders in this central Loop neighborhood; small art galleries vie with the more commercial, colossal Merchandise Mart in River North; and the hotels, attractions and retailers of the Magnificent Mile stretch across Streeterville and the Gold Coast. Lost? Easy landmarks to spot are Lake Michigan to the East, the Loops Sears Tower (once the worlds tallest building, now third) and Streetervilles John Hancock Building.

When to Visit
Its tempting to tout the temperate seasons: springs blossoms, and falls crisp air and waning crowds. But with winter comes ice-skating in Millennium Park, cozy fireplaces in romantic restaurants and a wealth of cultural events. And heat and humidity not withstanding, the summer sizzles with beach activities, outdoor cafes for primo people-watching and open-air celebrations, including the Chicago Blues Festival ( As for the citys lauded sports teams, various major leagues trade off year-round.


Call Ahead
Change is constant in Chicago. While weve done our best to provide accurate phone numbers, addresses and other factual details, its always wise to call ahead before making plans.

Getting Around
Though Chicago is a strollers city, non-foot transportation abounds. The CTA operates the world-famous Els eight train lines (actually only partially elevated), as well as a network of buses, with schedules for both
Courtesy of Carnivale



Red-sauce Italian joints, deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs form the low-end but lip-smacking foundation of Chicagos immensely varied dining scene. From there, the skys the limit, from cool places to kick back to temples of molecular gastronomy and beyond: steak, sushi, Nuevo Latino and more small plates than you can shake a chopstick, fork, finger or piece of naan at. Just dont expect to eat any foie gras its off Chicagos menu. Regarding tipping, 1520% is customary.


Courtesy of Spring





|||\ Charlie Trotters = 816 W. Armitage Ave. (Halsted St.), 773-248-6228; A religious experience worth a mortgage payment awaits at this Lincoln Parker, the epitome of [New] American gastronomy and Chicagolands Most Popular restaurant, where customers are dazzled by brilliant chef Charlie Trotters daily changing menu (with fantastic pairings from an exceptional wine cellar) and cosseted by a masterfully courteous and knowledgeable staff; a few find the formal feel churchlike and the whole experience a bit precious, but most maintain its absolutely sublime, especially if you get a reservation at the kitchen table; N.B. jackets required, and be aware that its only open on some Mondays.

best [prime] beef known to man, this manly Gold Coast granddaddy (tops among Chicago steakhouses) is a candy store for carnivores complete with the show-and-tell presentation cart, huge sides and souffls meant to be shared, a great wine list and a professional staff; some raters reckon its resting on its laurels, but a well-fed majority insists this class act is worth its break-the-bank prices.
28 27 28 $117 Tru = |||\ 676 N. St. Clair St. (bet. Erie & Huron Sts.), 312-202-0001; Art and food meet and really, really like each other at this jackets-required Streeterville temple of excess that amazes with progressive, daring New French plates plus sommelier Scott Tyrees divinely inspired 1,400bottle wine selection, all borne by a virtually flawless staff within a stark, simple setting sporting an original Andy Warhol and a lovely little tuffet for Madames handbag; sticker shock aside, its a magical experience that will become a lasting memory; N.B. the Food score was tallied when founding chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand were still at the helm.

Alinea =



1723 N. Halsted St. (bet. North Ave. & Willow St.), 312-867-0110; Astronomic scores support the sheer genius of chef-owner Grant Achatz and the astonishing flavors of his fabulous experimental New American cuisine at this Lincoln Park thrill ride that engages all of your senses and expands your concept of fine dining; the space is lovely, understated and serene, the nearly 700-bottle wine list is superb and the polished service (ranked No. 1 in Chicagoland) is near perfect; be prepared, though, as this surreal journey will be loooong and ungodly expensive though worth it; N.B. open WednesdaySunday for dinner only.

28 $168


Blackbird =


Courtesy of Charlie Trotters

26 21 22 $39 Frontera Grill = ~ |||\ 445 N. Clark St. (bet. Hubbard & Illinois Sts.), 312-661-1434; Top-of-the-line Mexican [food] with a focus on fresh ingredients comes courtesy of culinary hero Rick Bayless at this River North treasure with a national reputation; bold, bright and somewhat raucous, its less expensive and more casual than its refined big brother, Topolobampo, with the same superb wine selections and great margarita-tequila menu, but some say service can be spotty when its busy which is always.

159 W. Erie St. (bet. LaSalle & Wells Sts.), 312-787-9000; This insanely popular Traditional American steakhouse from the Lettuce Entertain You group keeps carnivores coming back with hearty Midwest-sized portions from a crowd-pleasing menu of awesome woodfired fare (juicy steaks and chops), delicious chopped salad and great martini flights in a classy, clubby 40s-style setting; salivating surveyors swear its worth the wait (even with reservations), but wet blankets rank this noisy madhouse really rather ordinary, just on a grand scale.

23 21 21 $40 |||\

619 W. Randolph St. (bet. Desplaines & Jefferson Sts.), 312-715-0708; Make sure this fabulously polished West Loop classic is on your list for pure tastes in a pure space, featuring local, organic and unique ingredients in exquisite New American cuisine that makes you proud to be from Chicago; the setting may be stark (the whole white on white thing), the tables cramped and the din astonishing, but theres plenty of eye candy, plus consummately professional service and one of the highest-quality wine selections in the city, at

27 20 23 $57 |||\

Ratings & Symbols

Hours: L serves after 11PM = closed on Sunday ~ closed on Monday Credit Cards: X no credit cards accepted Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 30. Cost (C) reflects our surveyors estimate of the price of dinner with one drink and tip. Surveyor comments are in quotes.
F | Food 23 | D S C | Decor | Service \ Cost 9 13 $15 | | \

0-9 poor to fair 20-25 very good to excellent 10-15 fair to good 26-30 extraordinary to perfection 16-19 good to very good N low response/less reliable For newcomers or survey write-ins listed without ratings, the price range is indicated as follows: I M
Courtesy of Wildfire

Mortons, The Steakhouse |||\

26 21 24 $59

Newberry Plaza, 1050 N. State St. (Maple St.), 312-266-4820; Still the standard for scrumptious slabs of the

$25 and below $26 to $40


$41 to $65 $66 or more 2



all price ranges; N.B. the Food rating may not reflect the addition of Mike Sheerin (ex NYCs WD-50) as chef de cuisine, taking over the kitchen reins from owner Paul Kahan. is polished but not overwhelming and theres an outstanding wine list, all of which adds up to a wonderful experience so if you dont have a special occasion, just come up with one. F D S C River North with this hip, architectural spot divided into a swanky main-floor bar/lounge, upstairs dining room and separate sake bar; the kitchen explores various regions, from maki to Chinese standards, hot pots to curries, with two levels of omakase (three- or seven-course) taking a tour of the whole menu; N.B. the ladies room, tiled to the nines and outfitted with a shell-shaped sink, is worth a peek.

Everest = ~

One Financial Pl., 440 S. LaSalle St., 40th fl. (Congress Pkwy.), 312-663-8920; Financiers feel an affinity for this romantic, formal expense-account haven, still at its peak thanks to Jean Johos delectable New FrenchAlsatian cuisine, an exemplary wine list, totally professional service and a breathtaking view from the top of the [Loop]; a recent face-lift may appease fans who felt that the nouveau riche decor was stuck in the 80s, though it may do little for those more concerned that the attitude is loftier than the location.

27 26 27 $91 |||\ SCENES


702 W. Fulton St. (Halsted St.), 312-850-5005; Fun, loud and colorful describe the room, clientele and staff at this wild West Loop warehouse where exciting Nuevo Latino menu items meet enormous, eye-popping environs, another amazing visual masterpiece from Jerry Kleiner (March, Red Light); its the best party in town, even if its expensive for what it is, service could use a little work and the noise level can be almost painful.

22 25 19 $40 |||\

Rosebud, The


E |||\

465 E. Illinois St.(bet. Lake Shore Dr. & McClurg Ct.), 312-464-1700; Hot Miami chef Douglas Rodriguez (OLA on Ocean, OLA Steak) makes his Midwestern debut with a Nuevo Latino supper-club sizzler on the river in River North serving creative cuisine paired with six styles of sangria and licentious libations including poptails (cocktail popsicles); the 12,000-sq.-ft. venue showcases multiple high-style environments including lounges, a ceviche bar and a solarium overlooking Ogden Slip.

1500 W. Taylor St. (Laflin St.), 312-942-1117; Consistently good, old-fashioned Italian is served by the barrel at this crowded, touristy, high-energy classic Chicago legend in Little Italy thats a real trip back in time complete with Sinatra playing in the background; service runs from pleasant to surly, though, and peeved paesani posit piggy portions dont hide that the food is a throwback to the old days before Americans knew what real Italian food is.

21 18 19 $36 |||\


Nine =

Courtesy of Spiaggia


26 27 25 $80 |||\

One Magnificent Mile Bldg., 980 N. Michigan Ave., 2nd fl. (Oak St.), 312-280-2750; Expect a peak dining experience at this honed-to-perfection, luxury Gold Coaster boasting a sumptuous setting with spectacular views of the Michigans (both Lake and Avenue), chef Tony Mantuanos sublime, incomparable Italian cuisine, an excellent, extensive wine list and superlative service; most maintain its one of the few places where the high price tag is worth it, though a segment of surveyors submits that the staffs snooty and the small portions are overpriced (served only in the cafe, lunch is a lot less expensive); N.B. jackets required, jeans not allowed.

440 W. Randolph St. (Canal St.), 312-575-9900; To see or be seen, that is the question at this chic, sleek, slick and sexy West Loop surf n turfer where even those not into the trendoid bar scene admit the inventive and beautifully served food and dramatic, architecturally stunning facility (with a central champagne and caviar bar on weekends) make the pageantry, glitz factor and high prices worth the trip; its also a great power-lunch spot and convenient to the Civic Opera House, though grudging graders say it doesnt quite live up to the hype; N.B. the post-Survey return of original chef Michael Shrader may outdate the above Food score.

23 24 20 $55 |||\

Courtesy of DeLaCosta

Harry Carays





33 W. Kinzie St. (Dearborn St.), 312-828-0966; Named after the beloved former Cubs announcer, this slice of baseball junkie heaven where you could spend hours looking at all the memorabilia on the walls serves plentiful plates of flavorful Italian steakhouse food (they dont serve steaks here they serve cows) in an upscale sports-bar setting; unimpressed umpires, though, flag it as average for the money.


Heaven on Seven = X

Spring ~

2039 W. North Ave. (Damen Ave.), 773-395-7100; Shawn McClains incredible creations of perfectly prepared New American seafood with a slight Asian slant inspire acolytes to ask is it impolite to lick the plate? at this hip Wicker Park place thats as fresh and exciting as the season its named after; the quietly elegant setting in a converted bathhouse is beautiful and peaceful, the service

27 25 25 $59 |||\

Courtesy of Republic (

Republic Pan-Asian Restaurant & Lounge

M |||\

58 E. Ontario St. (Rush St.), 312-440-1818; Modern Asian dining on a grand scale hits

Garland Bldg., 111 N. Wabash Ave., 7th fl. (Washington Blvd.), 312-263-6443; Tourists and regulars relish the reliable rajun Cajun and Creole food served in good portions at this Mardi Gras-ish bastion of spicy done right, featuring more hot sauces than Imelda Marcos had shoes and a nonstop party; some suggest its the best you can get in Chicago, though purists purport it cant compete with real New Orleans food, say service can be hit-or-miss and contend its coasting on its rep.

21 16 18 $24 |||\



Lou Malnatis Pizzeria
439 N. Wells St. (Hubbard St.), 312-828-9800; Standing supreme, this River North link in a local chain boasts a cult following of addicts who relish its ridiculously good, real Chicago pizza both the decadent deep-dish and the even-better thin-crust version and love the butter crust, pure, simple sauce with chunks of tomato and thick cheese; still, its reign at the top of the pie charts of the known world (and the local competition) is not undisputed, with some citing inconsistent service as a drawback.
24 13 17 $18 |||\

Chicago Chop House

60 W. Ontario St. (bet. Clark & Dearborn Sts.), 312-787-7100; A heavy hitter in a city that knows meat, this quintessential Chicago steak joint and ol boys club in River North is rich in tradition and you can taste it in the food (including wonderful prime rib) not to mention see it in the historical setting with tin ceilings, old Chicago photos and other memorabilia, as well as a great bar area with old-time drinks made the way they should be made; P men .S. with white collars like to expense this one.

225 20 22 $54 |||\

25 19 Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse 1028 N. Rush St. (Bellevue Pl.), 312-266-8999; 20 Maggianos Little Italy 516 N. Clark St. (Grand Ave.), 312-644-7700; 20 $56 |||\ 19 20 $31 |||\ 25 $62 |||\ 26 27 26 $71 |||\

26 24 mk 868 N. Franklin St. (bet. Chestnut & Locust Sts.), 312-482-9179;
NoMI Park Hyatt Chicago, 800 N. Michigan Ave. (Chicago Ave.), 312-239-4030;

Lou Mitchells X

565 W. Jackson Blvd. (Jefferson St.), 312-939-3111 Welcome to the City of Big Shoulders at this landmark West Loop coffee shop, a piece of old Chicago serving a great American breakfast still in the skillet as well as other honest diner food from the crack of dawn to mid-afternoon; the retro settings kitschy, the veteran servers can be insulting and the cash-only [policy] is a pain and prepare to wait in line (with free doughnut holes and Milk Duds to nosh on).

22 11 19 $15

Nacional 27 =

325 W. Huron St. (Orleans St.), 312-664-2727; Its a carnival for the palate at this River North hot spot with breathtaking decor that serves Latin libations and a Nuevo Latino smorgasbord of chef Randy Zweibans inventive, well-prepared fare, including creative tapas, from every country south of the Rio Grande; P.S. sedate sorts beware: its usually quiet, cool vibe gives way later in the evening ThursdaysSaturdays as the main floor turns into a dance floor, with salsa that doesnt come in a bowl.

22 24 20 $42 |||\

27 Topolobampo 445 N. Clark St. (bet. Hubbard & Illinois Sts.), 312-661-1434;

23 25 $57 |||\


28 24 26 $88 Aruns 4156 N. Kedzie Ave. (bet. Belle Plaine & Berteau Aves.), 773-539-1909;
Avenues Peninsula Hotel, 108 E. Superior St. (bet. Michigan Ave. & Rush St.), 312-573-6754;

|||\ |||\
23 24 $59 |||\ 25 27 23 $59 |||\ $56 |||\ 26 26 26 $88

26 Naha 500 N. Clark St. (Illinois St.), 312-321-6242;

North Pond 2610 N. Cannon Dr. (bet. Diversey & Fullerton Pkwys.), 773-477-5845;

Shaws Crab House

21 E. Hubbard St. (bet. State St. & Wabash Ave.), 312-527-2722; Plain, simple fresh fish and surprisingly good sushi too make this River North standby a Chicago seafood tradition, with professional service and a choice between formal and casual dining rooms (many patrons prefer the informality of the oyster bar, with its great selection, throwback atmosphere and live music); still, others opine that its somewhat pedestrian profferings have gotten rather pricey.
Courtesy of Harry Carays

23 19 21 $46 |||\

25 24 23 one sixtyblue 1400 W. Randolph St. (Ogden Ave.), 312-850-0303;



Bin 36 339 N. Dearborn St. (Kinzie St.), 312-755-9463;

36 20 19 $39 |||\ M |||\ $58 |||\ $49 |||\ 19 19 19 $45 |||\

Bravo Tapas & Lounge 2047 W. Division St. (Damen Ave.), 773-278-2727

24 26 20 Japonais 600 W. Chicago Ave. (Larrabee St.), 312-822-9600; 22 26 23 RL 115 E. Chicago Ave. (Michigan Ave.), 312-475-1100;
Tavern on Rush 1031 N. Rush St. (Bellevue Pl.), 312-664-9600;

Xel-H = ~
23 8 15 $15 |||\

Mannys =

1141 S. Jefferson St. (Roosevelt Rd.), 312-939-2855; The local color is laid on as thick as the corned beef at this beloved South Loop breakfast-andlunch institution, an anachronistic steamtable cafeteria, with sandwiches made to order, peopled by old-timers, new wavers, tourists and politicians enjoying a taste of true Chicago so go ahead and just yell out what you want to the countermen, who are caricatures of themselves (and now you can pay by credit card).

710 N. Wells St. (Superior St.), 312-274-9500; Named for the Yucatn region that inspires the cooking of chef Dudley Nieto (ex Adobo Grill, Zapatista), this River North midpriced Mex offers 60 tequilas and counting, plus a nice little vino list; having changed little from its previous incarnations as Meztiso and SWK, the front room houses a long mahogany bar, while the back is a cozy oasis surrounded by wine-storage walls.

M |||\


Berghoff Cafe 17 W. Adams St. (bet. Dearborn & State Sts.), 312-427-7399;

M |||\ 20 $38 |||\ 21 16 17 $31 |||\ M |||\ I |||\ 22 $49 |||\ 26 19 23 $56 |||\ 20 21 19 $51 |||\ 25 19 20 $56 |||\ 26 22 24 $56 |||\

22 19 Coco Pazzo Cafe Red Roof Inn, 636 N. St. Clair St. (Ontario St.), 312-664-2777
de cero 814 W. Randolph St. (bet. Green & Halsted Sts.), 312-455-8114;

Gage, The 24 S. Michigan Ave. (Madison St.), 312-372-4243; Hop Hus 646 N. Franklin St. (Erie St.), 312-467-4287


Aigre Doux




230 W. Kinzie St. (bet. N. Franklin & Wells Sts.), 312-329-9400; The married cooking duo of Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen hes savory, shes sweet whose culinary pedigree most recently includes LAs Chateau Marmont, helms this sophisticated, borderline-expensive River North New American restaurant (with adjacent bakery) offering a smart, well-priced wine list; located in the former Pili.Pili space, its linear, spartan-chic dining room is lit intimately by rows of dangling exposed bulbs.


24 22 Coco Pazzo 300 W. Hubbard St. (Franklin St.), 312-836-0900;

Crofton on Wells 535 N. Wells St. (bet. Grand Ave. & Ohio St.), 312-755-1790;

Fultons on the River 315 N. LaSalle St. (Wacker Dr.), 312-822-0100; Keefers 20 W. Kinzie St. (Dearborn St.), 312-467-9525;

Le Lan 749 N. Clark St. (Chicago Ave.), 312-280-9100;

Courtesy of Aigre Doux


A D S C 1543 N. Kingsbury St. (W. Weed St.), 312-266-1900; Have a wild time dancing to ear-pounding house and electronica and dodging pickup lines flying through the air at this recently redone mega-roost for international DJ stars in Lincoln Park; the crowds determined by the nights theme; if a few lament that its become toned down from yesteryear, more feel its still an awesome Chicago institution.
23 22 17 $10 |||\


After sundown, Chicago brims with high-energy possibilities. Youll find lavish lounges offering bottle service (and plenty of eye candy), chill wine bars (catering to both seasoned oenophiles and eager-to-learn novices) and hopping music venues where jazz, indie rock and blues acts take center stage. In this late-night landscape, theres a wee-hours haunt for every imbiber.
endary midsize music venue that books anyone from up-and-comers to major acts; between the smoke, disorganized layout and lack of seating, this aint the place to hang out and chat, but they do have a knack for finding the next big thing.

Courtesy of Cabaret Cocktail Boutique

dwelling neighborhood denizens sip wine and nibble on hand-tossed pizza, while stylish singles come to get in the mood for dinner dates on nearby Randolph Street.

J Bar

James Hotel, 610 N. Rush St. (Ontario St.), 312-337-1000; At this new lounge located in the luxe James Hotel just steps from the Mag Mile, mixologists fashion deconstructed martinis accented with olive lollipops; a couture-clad clientele stops in early

E |||\


440 N. Halsted St. (W. Hubbard St.), 312-733-6699; The music kicks at this renovated late latenight hot spot in the West Loop, where great DJs spin house tunes in the downstairs lounge and hip-hop and anthems upstairs; but the staff has too much attitude to make things fun, and in the wee hours, wannabes who really need to be seen dilute the dance floors.

20 19 16 $9 |||\


Courtesy of crobar

Empty Bottle X


1431 W. Lake St. (N. Ogden Ave.), 312-491-8600; Experience some true clubbing beneath the El in the West Loop at this dance-all-night place whose multiple spacious rooms and optimal sight lines appeal to patrons who tend to be physically fit and dont mind showing it off to hip-hop and techno beats; the only detractions are that both parking and getting cabs can be a hassle.

20 20 17 $9 |||\

1035 N. Western Ave. (bet. Thomas & W. Cortez Sts.), 773-276-3600; Bands rock and lungs blacken at this for real Ukrainian Village venue that books raging, introspective rock, punk, electronica, hiphop, jazz and country acts from all over the world; though the decor recalls that of a garage and its very smoky, theres not a bad spot in the house for seeing the stage, and who can beat the fabled drink prices and wonky, friendly staff?
23 15 16 $7 Metro X |||\ 3730 N. Clark St. (bet. N. Racine Ave. & W. Waveland Ave.), 773-549-4140; You can feel the history when you walk in the door to this gritty Wrigleyville stalwart for underground music where diehards catch retro/alternative/punk bands as well as mainstream acts warming up for major tours; drink prices are steep and the staffs attitude does not work, but the sound system is cranked up clear and loud so bring earplugs.

25 16 20 $4 |||\

Courtesy of Metro

Ratings & Symbols

Credit Cards: X no credit cards accepted Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 30. Cost (C) reflects our surveyors estimated price of a typical single drink. Surveyor comments are in quotes.
A D S C | Appeal | Decor | Service \ Cost 23 9 13 $15 | | | \

Courtesy of Fulton Lounge

Fulton Lounge

Double Door

1572 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Damen Ave.), 773-489-3160; Its rock n roll, baby, as well as blues, folk and hip-hop at Wicker Parks quasi-leg-

21 13 15 $8 |||\

955 W. Fulton Market (bet. Morgan & Sangamon Sts.), 312-942-9500; The up-and-coming Fulton Market area in the West Loop boasts this straight-outta-Milan lounge; doors open onto a patio where loft-

E |||\

0-9 poor to fair 20-25 very good to excellent 10-15 fair to good 26-30 extraordinary to perfection 16-19 good to very good N low response/less reliable For newcomers or survey write-ins listed without ratings, the price range is indicated as follows: I M below $5 $5 to $10 E VE $11 to $14 $15 or more 5



for cocktails and appetizers from the on-site restaurant, David Burkes Primehouse, or relaxes post-meal in a mod space with low-slung banquettes. and enough mirrors to keep narcissists mesmerized; but just as its dripping in luxury, you need to be dripping in money to partake here.

Funky Buddha Lounge

Pops for Champagne

601 N. State St. (Ohio St.), 312-266-7677; This 25-year-old Lakeview venue may have moved to a new River North nest, but it still serves the same winning combination of jazz and bubbly; upstairs at the onyx bar, patrons can pair one of 120 champagne varietals with raw seafood and dessert, but once drinkers descend to the basement lounge, theyll find that the regular live music needs no accompaniment; N.B. the next-door Pops Shop is dedicated to sparkling sips.

728 W. Grand Ave. (bet. N. Halsted St. & N. Milwaukee Ave.), 312-666-1695;

22 21 16 $9 |||\ E |||\ E |||\ VE |||\


1954 W. North Ave. (Damen Ave.), 773-278-5138;


1520 N. Fremont St. (Weed St.), 312-787-1130;


209 W. Lake St. (Wells St.), 312-223-9232;

Green Mill, The
4802 N. Broadway (W. Lawrence Ave.), 773-878-5552;

26 23 19 $7 |||\


Cabaret Cocktail Boutique
Courtesy of Cabaret Cocktail Boutique


E |||\

31 E. Balbo Ave. (bet. S. State St. & S. Wabash Ave.), 312-362-9707;

25 25 21 $8 N |||\ 23 23 18 $8 |||\ 23 13 17 $7 |||\

House of Blues

Stone Lotus


873 N. Orleans St. (Chicago Ave.), 312-440-9680; Dont expect manis and pedis at the citys first liquor spa, a River North lounge/restaurant serving exotic huckleberry-mint soda and froufrou finger food from mixologist/executive chef Dale Levitski (ex Trio); true to form, its housed in a slim but luxurious space that delivers miles of style with a water wall and river-rock accents, plus a disco ball encased in a decorative wooden blossom.

15 W. Hubbard St. (State St.), 312-245-3100; Bottle service goes burlesque at this throwback River North nightspot where a blinding, 1,000-bulb marquee hints at corset-wearing servers, sinful beverages and scantily clad cabaret dancers performing every Friday night; svelte, scene-seeking sorts settle in to the swanky, crystal chandelieraccented dance floor, while VIPs head straight to a back room lined with ruby-red mirrors.

Marina City, 329 N. Dearborn St. (W. Kinzie St.), 312-923-2000;

Kingston Mines

2548 N. Halsted St. (bet. W. Fullerton & W. Wrightwood Aves.), 773-477-4646;

Jet Vodka Lounge
1551 N. Sheffield Ave. (bet. North Ave. & Weed St.), 312-440-9140;

VE |||\ M |||\ 23 25 21 $7 |||\ E |||\



1633 N. Halsted St. (North Ave.), 312-587-1600;


1444 W. Chicago Ave. (bet. Bishop St. & Greenview Ave.), 312-226-7600;

Underground, The


56 W. Illinois St. (Dearborn St.), 312-644-7600;

Hotel InterContinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan Ave. (Illinois St.), 312-321-8738; Its name means wine, and this low-ceilinged lounge on the first floor of the Mag Miles Hotel InterContinental tempts with a trio of temperature-controlled delights: small-batch vino, cheese and chocolate; while the intimate, russet-hued retreat features padded leather walls, a dramatic rosewood bar and communal tables, the knowledgeable staff remains pretension-free.

E |||\

bin wine caf D.O.C. Wine Bar Juicy Wine Co.
1559 N. Milwaukee Ave. (North Ave.), 773-486-2233 2602 N. Clark St. (Wrightwood Ave.), 773-883-5101 694 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Huron St.), 312-492-6620;

M |||\ E |||\ M |||\ 26 23 24 $9 |||\

Websters Wine Bar Courtesy of RiNo

1480 W. Webster St. (bet. Ashland & Clybourn Sts.), 773-868-0608;



22 24 17 $11

710 N. Clark St. (bet. W. Huron & W. Superior Sts.), 312-787-2675; The champagne and caviar crowd descends on this always-hopping Versailles_meets River North salon to do what it does best: sip bubbly and see and be seen in an over-the-top setting with slinky booths

220 W. Chicago Ave. (bet. N. Franklin & Wells Sts.), 312-654-0234; American Beauty refers to the rose petalgraced martinis at their lips, but it might as well describe some of the belly-baring babes slinking through this lofty, bi-level River North lounge; check out the photo-ops from its chunky leather chairs or get down to hiphop lite on the dimmed dance floor, while designer-denim denizens den themselves in the circular, curtain-swathed bottle area.

VE |||\



25 W. Hubbard St. (N. Dearborn St.), 312-670-2200;

22 21 18 $11 N |||\ M |||\ E |||\ E |||\

Motel Bar, The

600 W. Chicago Ave. (Larrabee St.), 312-822-2900;


226 W. Ontario St. (N. Franklin St.), 312-787-4480;

Victor Hotel

311 N. Sangamon St. (Fulton St.), 312-733-6900;


Courtesy of Fulton Lounge

343 W. Erie St. (Orleans St.), 312-587-3433; You wont find a mechanical bull at this latenight River North saloon; instead, the cowboychic interior attracts svelte condo-dwellers who sprawl on pony-skin chairs or sidle up to the rustic wood bar under the glow of horned chandelier lighting; table service, martinis and PBR give savvy singles a full range of slurps.

E |||\


Cantigny V


Duffers and aces alike attest to the beauty and challenge of the areas greens and fairways, many of which lie a mere hours drive from the downtown crowd. From Harborside Internationals transformed landfill and sweeping skyline views to the dreaded Dubsdread at Cog Hill, great golf beckons from every compass point except east, where Lake Michigan represents a significant water hazard.
Courtesy of Praire Landing

26 24 25 21 $85 ||||\

27 W. 270 Mack Rd., Wheaton; 630-668-3323; Hillside/Lakeside: 6831/5183; 72.6/70.1; 131/119 Lakeside/Woodside: 7004/5425; 73.9/71.9; 138/127 Woodside/Hillside: 6961/5236; 73.5/70.3; 132/120 For country-club atmosphere without the dues, head to one of the most scenic courses in Illinois, this old-fashioned 27holer located on the Wheaton-area estate of former Chicago Tribune honcho Robert McCormick; fans cant say enough about the pristine conditions, helpful staff and caddie program, with the highest marks going to the superb Lakeside/Woodside combo and signature Dick Tracy hole (look for the uniquely shaped bunker).

challenging championship course not far from Downtown Chicago; site of the Nationwide Tours LaSalle Bank Open, the fantastic rolling layout offers a refreshing mix of holes that are kept in top-rate condition, plus a lovely clubhouse and excellent service; nevertheless, its equally premium prices have some wary types wondering why youd play this when you can play Cog Hills No. 4 for less?

Harborside International, Port

26 24 22 20 $92 ||||\

Courtesy of Glen Club

28 21 21 22 $135 Cog Hill, No. 4 ||||\ (Dubsdread) V 27 25 27 VE

11001 S. Doty Ave.; 312-782-7837;; 7164/5164; 75.1/70.8; 132/122 As windy as the citys nickname, this true links


12294 Archer Ave., Lemont; 630-257-5872;; 6940/5590; 75.4/70.6; 142/133 Its tough, its long and it has enough sand to build a desert, but somehow this well-maintained Cog Hill course still manages to be fun and fair; one of the very best in the Midwest, the regular PGA Tour stop offers a classic design that will make you feel like a pro as you test your shot-making skills; duffers dub the facilities marginal, but upcoming renovations (to be overseen by Rees Jones) are intended to make it worthy of a major.
Courtesy of Stonewall Orchard

Ratings & Symbols

Courtesy of Praire Landing

Cog Hill, No. 2 24 22 20 24 $53 ||||\ (Ravines) V 27 25 27 VE

12294 Archer Ave., Lemont; 630-257-5872;; 6576/5639; 71.4/71.5; 124/117 Cog Hills second best lives under the shadow of sister course Dubsdread, but the excellent 1929 design situated southwest of Chicago is challenging enough if you want to practice your game; what makes it a real value, though, is its woodsy, hilly, ravine-laced setting (unusual for the area and a nice change of pace) and its excellent service its been there a long time, so it understands golfers.

Symbols: Vcaddies/forecaddies carts only guests only restricted tee times (call ahead for public hours) Course, Facilities, Service and Value are rated on a scale of 0 to 30. Properties listed without ratings are newcomers or survey write-ins. Cost is the price per non-member or non-guest to play 18 holes on a weekend in high season (excluding the extra cost of a cart), i.e. the highest possible price of play. Yardage, USGA Rating and Slope are listed after each address.
C F S V | Course | Facilities | Service \ Value 23 9 13 18 | | | \

Courtesy of Glen Club

Glen Club V

2901 W. Lake Ave., Glenview; 847-724-7272;; 7149/5324; 72.2/71.5; 132/127 Designer Tom Fazio moved tons of earth to turn a flat naval airstrip into this

25 24 23 15 $165 ||||\

0-9 poor to fair 20-25 very good to excellent 10-15 fair to good 26-30 extraordinary to perfection 16-19 good to very good N low response/less reliable 7



where helps to keep the fabulous design challenging (especially on the super back nine), while very good conditioning adds to its excellent value.

Prairie Landing

Courtesy of Prairie Landing

design is a fun but challenging layout that offers treeless expanses, tufted mounding and deep, deep rough dont bother looking for errant balls; although situated atop a former landfill in the heart of the industrial district, the Scottishstyle muni is well worth playing for its great views of Chicagoland and its friendly, attentive staff; P.S. nothing beats the value at twilight.
24 23 22 20 $92 ||||\ Harborside International, Starboard

2325 Longest Dr., West Chicago; 630-208-7600;; 6950/4859; 73.2/68.3; 136/116 The three-hole warm-up course eliminates excuses at this difficult Robert Trent Jones Jr. design where its not gossip but the steady flow of corporate jets at nearby DuPage Airport that gives it its buzz; be ready to carry rough, trees and water the excellent finishing hole has a 235-yard shot over a lake on this linksy layout thats expensive for a muni but offers a country-club experience that includes GPS to assess distances and beautiful facilities.

24 25 22 20 $84 ||||\

Courtesy of Thunderhark

Seven Bridges V

11001 S. Doty Ave.; 312-782-7837;; 7166/5110; 75/66.4; 132/116 Like its sister course, this phenomenal links layout is a fun, scenic, relatively affordable favorite thats convenient to Downtown Chicago; located atop an old landfill, the challenging muni can be tough when the winds blowing with very penal rough (stay out of the fescue), but given its surreal and beautiful environs, views of the city skyline and excellent facilities, one swinger swears its the best dump Ive ever played.

1 Mulligan Dr., Woodridge; 630-964-7777;; 7103/5262; 74.6/65.6; 135/114 Golf is a water sport on this classic Jekyll and Hyde layout where one of the nines is a fair yet challenging track set amid rolling, wooded terrain and the other is target golf at its worst courtesy of holes lined with water on either (or both) sides; located 30 miles southwest of Chicago, this upscale public also offers a very good restaurant and staff, but considering its somewhat pricey fees, a few question how a high-end course can not have a driving range.

22 21 21 18 $99 ||||\

Stonewall Orchard
Courtesy of Prairie Landing

Ruffled Feathers

1 Pete Dye Dr., Lemont; 630-257-1000;; 6898/5273; 74.1/71.7; 140/129 With a course name [that] tells it like it is, this difficult, waterlogged layout from Pete and P.B. Dye their only facility in the Chicago area tests the skills of swingers with brutal par 3s and lots of challenges, but tests their patience with target golf on a few holes; located southwest of the city in Lemont (an alternative to Cog Hill), the top-notch track is kept impeccably clean and beautiful, which may explain why its also a little pricey.

24 23 22 17 $99 ||||\

25675 W. Hwy. 60, Grayslake; 847-740-4890;; 7074/5375; 74.1/71.2; 140/126 Far from the world with few houses, this 1999 Arthur Hills design has matured into one of the best public courses in Chicagoland; located an hour north of the city in a setting that combines beautiful wetlands, trees and more elevation than you normally find in Illinois, this awesome course proves special yet challenging courtesy of elevated tees, rolling greens, forced carries over water and deep rough that all but eats golf balls.

28 23 22 22 $74 ||||\



Courtesy of Stonewall Orchard

39700 N. Lewis Ave., Beach Park; 847-872-4295;; 7031/5046; 73.8/69.2; 136/122 Wow, what a course coo club-wielders about this masterpiece designed by RTJ Jr. for the Lake County Forest Preserve and nestled just far enough from Chicago to make it a secret (about an hour north); surrounded by flora and fauna, the beautiful, well-maintained layout is long and challenging with wide fairways, excellent serpentine bunkering and fast, marsh-guarded greens; all in all, it proves a top value especially for county residents.

27 22 20 22 $98 ||||\

Orchard Valley

2411 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora; 630-907-0500;; 6745/5162; 72.8/70.9; 134/128 As Midwest munis go, you wont get any better than this upscale course an hour west of Chicago thats considered one of the most challenging and best-run public layouts in the state; plenty of sand traps and water, water every-

26 21 22 25 $59 ||||\

Courtesy of Thunderhark


All the culture you can absorb awaits in Chicagos world-class museums, institutions and architectural wonders. Contemplate some of mankinds greatest masterpieces at The Art Institute, talk to the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo, cheer the Cubs at historic Wrigley Field or look up at the stars, out into the fields or under the sea at South Loops Museum Campus. Wherever you go, pastoral parks, public sculptures and the sparkling skyline create a dazzling backdrop.
Courtesy of The Field Museum



25 23 22 I Adler Planetarium |||\ and Astronomy Museum

1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. (McFetridge Dr.), 312-922-7827; Escape earthbound reality by exploring the universe at this top-notch museum and planetarium on the Loop where amazing exhibits and captivating sky shows offer a fascinating introduction to astronomy (try the StarRider theater for a virtual trip into space); you can take a self-guided tour, refuel at the cafe and snap some great photos, since the lakefront location offers picture-perfect views of the Chicago skyline.

lent restoration, so call ahead to book a tour of its amazing theater in the grand style complete with 24-karat gold-leafed ceiling arches and impressive murals; its also a special place to see favorite performances and shows ranging from touring Broadway productions to the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago to rock concerts.
25 23 24 M Chicago History Museum |||\

room; look at the Web site beforehand to zero in on your interests, and spend the day if you can.

Hancock Observatory

(fka Chicago Historical Society) 1601 N. Clark St. (North Ave.), 312-6424600; The Chicago fire! Abraham Lincoln! the stockyards! this underappreciated and overlooked sleeper in Lincoln Park is a small but gutsy history museum offering lots to do and see; visitors impressed by the curators wit and ingenuity say the tours are exceptionally well done, as are the reenactments with actors portraying area notables; if you like the City of Big Shoulders, youll love it here; N.B. a major renovation was completed in September, 2006.

John Hancock Ctr., 875 N. Michigan Ave. (bet. Chestnut & Delaware Sts.), 312-751-3681; 888-875-8439; Gaze at four states by day, a billion lights by night from the 94th floor of this 1970 skyscraper offering fabulous views, even in the ladies room; the elevator ride up is amazing, and theres an outdoor walkway like no other (dont worry, its encased with wire) and high-tech touches like multilingual talking telescopes; though only the third-tallest building in town, its nothing to scoff at, particularly when you can cap off your visit with a drink in the Signature Lounge two floors above.

25 22 20 I |||\


Lincoln Park Zoo

Field Museum, The

Courtesy of the Adler Planatarian

1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. (McFetridge Dr.), 312-922-9410; Theres almost too much to see in this classic lakeside palace of a museum thats one of the best stops in Chicago and home of spectacular Sue, the worlds most famous T. rex, plus other accessible, readable and extraordinary displays, including the wonderful gem
29 27 23 M |||\

27 25 23 M |||\

2200 N. Cannon Dr. (bet. Fullerton Pkwy. & Lake Shore Dr.), 312-742-2000; Animal aficionados affirm this is one of the best city zoos youll find, a manageably sized, well-laid-out, clean park that amazes with what it offers in such a small space they even found room for a farm; free of charge, its terrific as a destination or even for just a quick walk in, walk out as youre strolling up the lake trail.

26 22 21 $0 |||\

Art Institute of Chicago

Ratings & Symbols

Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 30. Newcomers or write-ins are listed without ratings. Cost (C) reflects the attractions high-season price for one adult. Surveyor comments are in quotes.
A F S C | Appeal | Facilities | Service \ Cost 23 9 13 I | | | \

111 S. Michigan Ave. (bet. Adams & Monroe Sts.), 312-443-3600; For the equivalent of a bachelors degree in art history in one building, check out this A-list Loop museum that houses a trove of instantly recognizable treasures beyond measure (i.e. Seurats La Grande Jatte, Hoppers Nighthawks, Woods American Gothic); theres something for every buff here, but its holdings are so vast you cant see everything in one visit, particularly its second-to-none Impressionist collection.

0-9 poor to fair 20-25 very good to excellent 10-15 fair to good 26-30 extraordinary to perfection 16-19 good to very good low response/less reliable The price range is indicated by the following symbols: $0 I M
Courtesy of Auditorium Theatre

Auditorium Theatre

50 E. Congress Pkwy. (bet. Michigan & Wabash Aves.), 312-922-2110; Completed in 1889, this architectural treasure on the Loop has undergone an excel-

25 24 21 E |||\

Free $10 or less $11 to $25


$26 to $40 $41 or more



Museum of Contemporary Art
24 25 21 I |||\

220 E. Chicago Ave. (Mies van der Rohe Way), 312-280-2660; Inspiring even traditionalists to keep an open mind, this outstanding small museum in a great Gold Coast location is committed to excellence, displaying an eclectic collection with many recognizable pieces of compelling contemporary art in addition to engaging traveling exhibitions; N.B. closed on Mondays.
$0 |||\ Museum of Contemporary Photography

fascinating if youre into antiquities or the history of Anatolia, Cyprus, Egypt, Mesopotamia or Persia.






Robie House

600 S. Michigan Ave. (Harrison St.), 312-344-7104; Shutterbugs make a beeline to this thought-provoking South Loop museum that embraces a wide range of programs, lectures, events and photographic works, including a permanent collection focusing on Americas role in this artistic realm; its a must for those who love the medium, and traveling exhibits add variety to the experience.

University of Chicago, 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. (58th St.), 708-848-1976; An incredible house with a great tour for architecture fans, this South Side masterpiece on the campus of the University of Chicago is another fine example of Frank Lloyd Wrights work; still, a few doubters suggest that its best for bona fide building buffs, claiming that the only people who really like it are the famous designers most ardent fans.

26 20 20 I |||\

Chicago Cultural Center |||\ 78 E. Washington St. (bet. Garland Ct. & Michigan Ave.), 312-346-3278;
I Ernest Hemingway |||\ Home and Museum 200 N. Oak Park Ave. (Lake St.), Oak Park, 708-848-2222; 28 23 21 I Frank Lloyd Wright |||\ Home & Studio 951 Chicago Ave. (Forest Ave.), Oak Park, 708-848-1976; 22 18 14 $0 Grant Park |||\ 331 E. Randolph St. (Columbus Dr.), 312-742-7648; 22 18 14 $0 Harold Washington Library Center |||\ 400 S. State St. (bet. Congress Pkwy. & Van Buren St.), 312-747-4300; 22 21 19 $0 |||\ Millennium Park 55 Michigan Ave. (bet. Madison & Washington Sts.), 312-742-5222; 22 21 19 $0 Navy Pier |||\ 600 E. Grand Ave. (off Lake Shore Dr.), 312-595-7437; 800-595-7437; 26 22 19 $0 Old St. Patricks Church |||\ 700 W. Adams St. (Desplaines St.), 312-648-1021; 25 22 19 I Sears Tower |||\ 233 S. Wacker Dr. (bet. Adams St. & Jackson Blvd.), 312-875-9449; 23 21 19 E Soldier Field |||\ 1410 S. Museum Campus Dr. (Lake Shore Dr.), 312-235-7000; 23 22 25 I |||\ Spertus 618 S. Michigan Ave. (Harrison St.), 312-322-1747; 20 18 18 $0 Union Station |||\ 210 S. Canal St. (bet. Adams St. & Jackson Blvd.), 312-322-4269

Shedd Aquarium

1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. (McFetridge Dr.), 312-939-2438; Rainbows of colorful fish vie for attention with dolphins, beluga whales, sharks and other enchanting creatures at this topnotch indoor aquarium on the shores of Lake Michigan in Grant Park; its best on a summer night with live jazz and liquor or during feeding time when the fins are in a frenzy, but a few crabs carp that given the rather high prices, you really have to like sea sorts; N.B. dive in on Monday or Tuesday, midSeptember through February, for discount admissions.

27 25 22 M |||\


Symphony Center

220 S. Michigan Ave. (Adams St.), 312-294-3000; 800-223-7114; World-class acoustics help make this home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and host to classical and jazz performances one of the great concert halls in the nation; every seat is excellent, so even if your pockets are only deep enough for the upper balcony, you have to experience this terrific spot at least once.

24 24 23 E |||\

Wrigley Field
Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Photography

Museum of Science and Industry

27 25 23 I |||\

5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. (57th St.), 773-684-1414; The coolest museum in a world-class museum city never ceases to amaze, amuse and educate, so make time to visit this Hyde Park institution where you can dive in a U-boat, go down into a coal mine, fly in an airplane and touch and explore whazzits and wazzoos that would spin anyones head; getting there can be a stretch, but its highly worth it because unlike your high school chemistry teacher, this venerable veteran makes science accessible and fun.

1060 W. Addison St. (bet. Clark St. & Sheffield Ave.), 773-404-2827; A trip to baseball fans heaven, this ancient but intimate ballpark may lack modern amenities, but it more than makes up in historic charm via a manual scoreboard and ivy-covered outfield walls and then theres those lovable Cubs; ok, parkings nearly impossible, but the 90-minute tours are great and theres also lots of local color in adjacent Wrigleyville.

28 21 21 E |||\

Oriental Institute Museum

28 22 22 $0 |||\

University of Chicago, 1155 E. 58th St. (University Ave.), 773-702-9514; One of the most important collections of Near Eastern art is on display in Hyde Park at this awesome immersion into the beginning of civilization thats especially

Courtesy of Museum of Science and Industry



Burnham, Hotel
R S D F $
25 24 22 19 $229 ||||\


For every traveling Goldilocks, theres a Chicago hotel room thats just right. Accommodations that vary in style, scale and setting are part of Chicagos allure to travelers, and the citys primary destination neighborhoods each house choices of big-name classic, chic boutique, efficient convention and intimate vintage spots to hang your new Cubs or Bears hat.
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton (A Four Seasons Hotel)
27 27 28 28 $339 * N||||\ 55 E. Ontario St.; 312-337-1000; fax 312-660-7183; 877-526-3755;; 191 rooms, 52 studios, 26 loft rooms, 26 apartments Totally rehabbed from the former Lenox Hotel, this sleek, brilliant boutique delivers clean, hip and fresh urban style in a great River North location; displayed in the lobby, spa and rooms with flat-screen TVs and WiFi, its modern mode may be too funky for travelers with traditional tastes, but the concierge staff is very helpful in obtaining anything you need, and chef David Burkes steakhouse is inventive (if expensive).

James Chicago

1 W. Washington St.; 312-782-1111; fax 312-782-0899; 866-690-1986;; 103 rooms, 19 suites A historic landmark in an amazingly gorgeous restored building (one of the worlds first skyscrapers, built by Daniel Burnham in 1895), this atmospheric Kimpton boutique hotel offers a good Loop location for business, shopping, theater-going or visiting Millennium Park; pet-friendly rooms are small, but beautifully furnished (suites overlook Grant Park and Lake Michigan), the staff knows and takes care of its repeat visitors and the charming [American] bistro has a great bar.

Courtesy of Four Seasons

tea with a harpist, surf n turf dining destinations (the Cape Cod Room and Drake Bros. Steaks Chicago) and one of the best concierge staffs; critics carp this aging grande dame has seen better days citing rooms that vary some well done, others small and dingy but diehards declare it still tried-and-true, especially for cocktails in the fun piano bar.

Monaco, Hotel


Courtesy of Hotel Burnham


(fka Le Mridien) 521 N. Rush St.; 312-645-1500; fax 312-645-1550; 800-543-4300;; 278 rooms, 33 suites With a dynamite location in the middle of everything above Westfield North Bridge on Michigan Avenue (you can get to Nordstrom without stepping outside), this former Le Mridien is great for shoppers and has all the modern amenities a business traveler needs; there are spacious, well-kept rooms with amazing bathrooms that you could live in if it wasnt that youd miss the superb beds, but opinion is mixed on service: some say its warm and attentive, others stuffy.

27 22 21 21 $525 ||||\

23 24 21 22 $339 * ||||\ 200 N. Columbus Dr.; 312-565-8000; fax 312-565-1032; 800-441-1414;; 626 rooms, 66 suites This comfortable convention/conference facility a block from Millennium Park doesnt seem as hectic as some of the other Downtown properties perhaps since its not on the Mag Mile, but close; wellappointed rooms with nice views of the lake by Navy Pier are slightly dated, but there are beautiful facilities available for weddings and meetings, the Eclectic swanky Aria restaurant and a helpful staff; in short, its an entirely adequate mass-market business hotel offering nothing over the top; P.S. its attached to a wonderful fitness club but you must pay. 27 28 27 27 $430 ||||\

24 23 18 21 $239 * ||||\ 225 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-960-8500; fax 312-960-1883; 800-397-7661;; 170 rooms, 22 suites With a convenient Loop location thats not too touristy but right in the middle of it all, the Kimpton Groups offbeat boutique hotel represents a hip but comfortable alternative to the large chains; most rooms are on the petite side, but they have wonderful beds and fun, vibrant decor (including goldfish to keep you company); sojourners traveling solo say the South Water Kitchen is a pleasant place to sit at the bar and enjoy a good meal if youre not too full from the complimentary breakfast and evening hors doeuvres. 24 22 19 20 $379 ||||\



676 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-944-6664; fax 312-266-3015; 800-843-6664;; 347 suites A great location just off the Mag Mile, spacious

Ratings & Symbols

= Childrens programs = Exceptional dining = Historic interest = Kitchens = Allows pets = Views = Golf courses * = Notable spa facilities = Downhill skiing = Tennis

Drake, The

140 E. Walton Pl.; 312-787-2200; fax 312-475-0523; 800-553-7253;; 461 rooms, 74 suites A great change from the modern, cold hotels, this stately Streeterville charmer (built in 1920) harkens to another era with touches like gorgeous flowers, afternoon

20 23 21 21 $367 ||||\

* 120 E. Delaware Pl.; 312-280-8800; fax 312-280-1748; 800-332-3442;; 175 rooms, 168 suites Top-notch pampering makes travelers never want to leave this posh, pitchperfect city hotel right on the Magnificent Mile, where traditional rooms with amazing views of the Michigans (Avenue and Lake) are serviced by visits from the martini man; the terrific bells and whistles include wonderful New American dining at Seasons, a fabulous spa and gym, great pool, relaxing bar and beautiful public rooms.

Four Seasons

The total number of rooms per hotel is followed by the number of suites, villas, etc., e.g. 20 rooms, 2 suites. Surveyor comments are in quotes. Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 30.
R S | Rooms | Service 18 5 | | D F | Dining \ Facilities 4 22 | \

0-9 poor to fair 20-25 very good to excellent 10-15 fair to good 26-30 extraordinary to perfection 16-19 good to very good low response/less reliable Cost ($) reflects the hotels high-season rack rate, i.e. its asking price, for a standard double room. It does not reflect frequent seasonal price changes and special rates. 11



suite-style rooms both swanky and modern (with flat-screen TVs in every one) and accommodating service make this chainster an excellent facility in which to do business; execs also say its moderately priced, given its in the action of Michigan Avenue. Among the top-flight hotels on Michigan Avenue, this old-world-elegant class act constitutes a perfect business-traveler venue thats also lovely for shopping mavens, as its perched above the Water Tower Place indoor mall; beautifully appointed rooms with sleek contemporary bathrooms and world-class views lure loyalists, along with an impressive, responsive staff, New French fare thats still among the best in town and a grand-hotel lounge and lobby area; and if a few feel this tasteful establishment is not exciting, to most shes still great.

Allegro Chicago, A Kimpton Hotel

18 20 17 20 $359 ||||\

* 800 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-335-1234; fax 312-239-4029; 800-778-7477;; 173 rooms, 15 suites Zen garden meets corporate boardroom at this sleek yet serene oasis with an unbeatable location facing the old Water Tower from which you can walk to everything; youll return to a dreamy room with appointments to die for (the poufy beds are instantly engulfing) and a friendly staff that shows you are welcome here always; the outstanding pool, fitness center and Tiffani Kim spa, plus New French cuisine at NoMI (one of Chicagos best restaurants), help make this winner well worth the tariff.

Park Hyatt

27 26 25 26 $545

171 W. Randolph St.; 312-236-0123; fax 312-236-0917; 866-672-6143;; 452 rooms, 31 suites

Ambassador East

(fka Omni Ambassador East) 1301 N. State Pkwy.; 312-787-7200; fax 312-787-4760; 888-506-3471;; 239 rooms, 46 suites

19 20 20 20 $359 ||||\

23 21 19 21 $280 Embassy Suites Lakefront N ||||\

511 N. Columbus Dr.; 312-836-5900; fax 312-836-5901; 800-362-2779;; 455 suites

20 20 16 19 $409 Hard Rock Hotel Chicago N ||||\

230 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-345-1000; fax 312-345-1012; 866-966-5166;; 371 rooms, 10 suites

* 108 E. Superior St.; 312-337-2888; fax 312-751-2888; 866-288-8889;; 256 rooms, 83 suites The wow factor would make a sultan swoon at this high-priced but near-perfect, star-studded River North property, voted the No. 1 Hotel in the U.S.; the pampering par excellence extends to glorious rooms that include tubs for two with built-in TVs, clairvoyant, unobtrusive service and outstanding food in the restaurants; theres a knockout gym (lift weights next to a wall of windows overlooking Lake Michigan) and a spa to make your worries melt away though fans find you look better [just] standing in their lobby. you look better [just] standing in their lobby.

Peninsula, The

29 28 27 28 $525 ||||\

Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton (A Four Seasons Hotel)

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

20 20 17 19 $129 ||||\


20 E. Chestnut St.; 312-324-4000; fax 312-324-4026; 877-813-7700;; 382 rooms, 33 suites Contemporary luxury with a European feel lurks in the heart of the Gold Coast at this smart, sophisticated scene of beautiful, futuristic furnishings, fresh flowers throughout, gorgeous suites and airy rooms with real character (and magnificent beds); factor in French cooking at the Caf des Architectes so fine that some surveyors go here to eat even when staying elsewhere and cordial service, and vets vote it a very good value for the business traveler if you dont need a pool and spa.

27 24 23 23 $330 ||||\

2233 S. Martin Luther King Dr.; 312-567-1234; fax 312-528-4000; 800-233-1234;; 776 rooms, 24 suites


505 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-944-4100; fax 312-944-1320; 800-628-2112;; 721 rooms, 71 suites

21 21 18 22 $299 ||||\



323 E. Wacker Dr.; 312-565-0565; fax 312-565-0315; 888-737-9477;; 596 rooms, 36 suites

22 21 19 21 $239 ||||\

W Lakeshore

Sutton Place

Courtesy of Peninsula


24 21 19 22 $469 * ||||\ 1 W. Wacker Dr.; 312-372-7200; fax 312-372-0093; 800-468-3571;; 513 rooms, 40 suites At the head of State Street, this absolutely solid Downtown business hotel boasts a location convenient to everything inside the Loop; the nicely appointed rooms many with views are comfortable, even chic, and the staffs very good; though the food is merely ok in the restaurants (one upscale, one the kids will love), the lounge is a great place to relax or if you get tired walking along the river, there is a lovely pool.

21 E. Bellevue Pl.; 312-266-2100; fax 312-266-2103; 866-378-8866;; 206 rooms, 40 suites Right in the heart of the Gold Coasts best restaurants and shopping, this little boutique hotel is European in style, with rooms that are modern and cool, a staff that is gracious but never fawning, a small but suitable workout facility and rates that represent good value in the affordable luxury league; still, some style mavens suggest that while it was very trendy in the 80s, now the best thing it has going for it is location, location, location.

24 22 14 21 $378 ||||\

644 N. Lake Shore Dr.; 312-943-9200; fax 312-255-4411; 877-946-8357;; 474 rooms, 26 suites

22 21 18 21 $399 ||||\

Westin River North

22 20 18 20 $319 ||||\

26 27 26 25 $495 Ritz-Carlton ||||\ (A Four Seasons Hotel) *

160 E. Pearson St.; 312-266-1000; fax 312-266-1194; 800-621-6906;; 344 rooms, 91 suites

320 N. Dearborn Ave.; 312-744-1900; fax 312-527-2650; 877-866-9216;; 407 rooms, 17 suites Standard Westin quality and a location in the heart of River North (with all the numerous bars, restaurants and theaters nearby) make this stylish Zen-tinged former Hotel Nikko a dependable business-trip destination especially since some honchos rank the meeting rooms in better condition than the comfortable bedrooms; a few penny-pinchers also feel prices are a tad high, considering that theres just nothing wow here (although, admittedly, its nice to have a sushi bar in the lobby).
Courtesy of Four Seasons



Chicago Map


Map 2008 by Rand McNally, 2008 NAVTEQ

Restaurants 1. Aigre Doux 2. Alinea 3. Blackbird 4. Carnivale 5. Charlie Trotters 6. Chicago Chop House 7. DeLaCosta 8. Everest 9. Frontera Grill 10. Harry Carays 11. Heaven on Seven 12. Lou Malnatis Pizzeria 13. Lou Mitchells 14. Mannys 15. Mortons, The Steakhouse 16. Nacional 27

Restaurants (cont.) 17. Nine 18. Republic Pan-Asian Restaurant & Lounge 19. Rosebud 20. Shaws Crab House 21. Spiaggia 22. Spring 23. Tru 24. Wildfire Nightlife 26. Cabaret Cocktail Boutique 27. crobar 28. Double Door 29. Empty Bottle 30. Enclave 25. Xel-H

Nightlife (cont.) 31. Eno 32. Fulton Lounge 33. J Bar 34. Metro 35. Narcisse 36. Pops for Champagne 37. Rednofive 38. RiNo 39. Stone Lotus Attractions 41. Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum 42. Art Institute of Chicago 43. Auditorium Theatre 44. Chicago History Museum 40. Transit

Attractions (cont.) 45. Field Museum 46. Hancock Observatory 47. Lincoln Park Zoo 48. Museum of Contemporary Art 49. Museum of Contemporary Photography 50. Museum of Science and Industry 51. Oriental Institute Museum 52. Robie House 53. Shedd Aquarium 54. Symphony Center 55. Wrigley Field

Hotels 56. Burnham 57. Conrad 58. Drake 59. Fairmont 60. Four Seasons 61. James Chicago 62. Monaco 63. Omni 64. Park Hyatt 65. Peninsula 66. Renaissance 67. Ritz-Carlton (A Four Seasons Hotel) 68. Sofitel 69. Sutton Place 70. Westin River North




Tim and Nina Zagat established Zagat Survey in 1979 by inviting avid diners to rate and review the restaurants they visited. The Zagats applied a unique premise: that rating a restaurant on the basis of thousands of experiences was inherently more accurate than relying on one reviewer. Starting with the first Zagat NYC Restaurant Survey, that premise has proven true and Zagat Survey has continued to expand worldwide. The company now offers dining guides for hundreds of cities, as well as guides for hotels, resorts and spas worldwide, family travel, attractions, shopping, nightlife, movies, music and golf. Zagat Surveys unique approach uses a 30-point scale to rate the distinct qualities of restaurants (Food, Decor, Service and Cost), hotels (Rooms, Service, Dining and Facilities) and other leisure-related establishments. Zagat Surveys format allows people to search for and find the best places to meet their individual needs based on a variety of criteria. That breadth and depth of information has made Zagat Survey a name that consumers can trust even if they arent sure how to pronounce it.

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