The cold winter and chilly spring have not been kind to Chicago, but summer is finally starting to show its head. Along with the welcome temperature shift comes a breadth of fun things to see and do — most of them outside. Take in the sights, sounds, smells and (luxurious) stays of this Midwest metropolis.
Outdoor music festivals and concerts take over the Windy City in the summer. The Pitchfork Music Festival, which goes from July 19 until 21, will bring acts such as Björk, R. Kelly, M.I.A. and more to Union Park. Bands such as The Cure, The Killers, Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses and many more will take the stage in Grant Park for Lollapalooza, held from August 2 until 4. Millennium Park will offer a bevy of outdoor events, too, including various musical series (keep your Mondays clear for weekly Downtown Sound concerts), so you’ll have plenty to do here. And if the heat is too much, sit in the shade near the park’s Crown Fountain, where videos of city residents appear on the 50-foot glass-brick twin towers as water pours out of the screens.
There are a slew of fantastic hotels in Chicago, so pick the one that’s best for your trip. Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Peninsula Chicago may have the best location in the city, with easy access to all the superb shops and restaurants right on the Magnificent Mile. The view of the skyline from the pool, gym and spa and the luxurious guest rooms with oversized tubs and marble baths don’t hurt, either.
Want a new rooftop hot spot to go with your Four-Star stay? Try The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, A Four Seasons Hotel. The brand-new dec Rooftop Bar, which opened last month, gives you a prime seat 12 stories above the city streets and a selection of craft beers, a great wine menu and and signature cocktails, such as the refreshing Cucumber Collins — a combination of Hendrick’s Gin, St. Germain elderflower and cucumber-thyme soda.
For an excellent view of the Wednesday- and Saturday-night fireworks from Navy Pier (which run until August 31), snag a room with floor-to-ceiling windows at the Five-Star Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. If you don’t get a guest room that faces the Pier, head to The Terrace at Trump on the 16th floor to see the show and a tasty cocktail, such as Uncle Phil’s Terrace Tea (Pimm’s, Beefeater 24, lime juice and cucumber) or a classic mojito (Flor de Caña 4, lime juice, soda water and mint foam).
A dining experience at Tru is one you won’t soon forget. While your eyes may be drawn to the original Andy Warhol in the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant, chef Anthony Martin’s French dishes, which come in seven- or 13-course tasting menu options, will hold your full attention. Expect items such as long carrot soup with glacial orange and cardamom, duroc pork belly with compressed black plum and onion or Wagyu beef two ways with potato and wasabi mustard. You’ll also have an immaculate selection of coastal caviar from around the world from which to choose, such as Russian osetra and Iranian golden osetra.
For something lighter or a before-dinner drink, enjoy a selection of cocktails and small plates from James Beard-nominated chef Paul Virant while taking in the views of Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park on the rooftop at The J. Parker. The Wise Fool (Old Overholt Rye, Old Forester Signature Bourbon, Pedro Ximenez sherry, dry olorosso sherry and Fernet Branca) with a side of crispy chicken sausage and mustard butter or The J. Parker Burger with Nordic Creamery smoked cheddar and spicy carrot ketchup nicely complement to the lakeside views.
Photos Courtesy of Lollapalooza, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, Tru Restaurant