STAY - AC Hotel Chicago Downtown
This 224-room hotel underwent a rebranding and overhaul in 2015, and offers almost 3,000 square feet of flexible venue space spread over five event rooms -- not to mention a central location near many of the city's top corporate hubs.
MEET - The Palmer House Hilton
In a city of historic properties, this one stands out, with a dramatic history dating back to the early 1870s. Guests have included U.S. presidents and Oscar Wilde, and it was the first hotel to use elevators and Edison lightbulbs. Its meeting offerings are on par with such a heritage, with more than 130,000 square feet of meeting space, 77 breakout rooms, and four ballrooms.
EAT - Rural Society
Located in the new Loews Chicago Hotel, this Argentine-infused steak house from Iron Chef Jose Garces balances the rustic and luxurious, with a welcoming décor and a number of rooms that can be secured for groups from 14 to 125 attendees.
The coming months will also see the final stages of Chicago's Riverwalk Expansion. Visitors will be able to gape at the ingenuity of the river's diverted flow from the newly expanded Chicago Riverwalk, designed as a recreational space and expected to complete its third and final development phase this year.
The Windy City has also seen the arrival of a number of new and innovative event spaces. The contemporary loft space Chez offers floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass staircase, while The Geraghty provides 25,000 square feet of open space and a private green room. Motor Row Brewing, in South Loop, boasts three tap rooms available for private groups, while Pinstripes entertains groups with bowling, bocce, and Italian-American cuisine.
A city famous for its culinary offerings, Chicago is also seeing a number of new restaurants, which Whitaker describes as "one of the most impressive dining scenes in the country." The restaurant Intro rotates its menu seasonally, spotlighting different up-and-coming local chefs while Fulton Market Kitchen is offering up artistic décor and creative cocktails.
"The city continues to buzz with unique neighborhood experiences, expanded public green spaces like the Chicago Riverwalk or The 606 elevated trail, and coming soon the Obama Presidential Center," adds Whitaker.
The 606, a three-mile elevated biking and walking path, will stretch from Humboldt Park to the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhoods, providing a wheel-friendly event plaza, observatory, and art installations. The city also opened up the new Maggie Daley Park, with an ice-skating rink, climbing walls, play garden, tennis courts, and picnic groves.
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This article appears in the November 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.