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I lived 43-years without stepping foot in the Windy City (unless you count the airport, but I don’t). In the past few months, I’ve been to the city twice and each time I leave the city yearning for more, so I am excited to share with you about The Hyatt Regency and other great attractions to go back and visit.
I long to see more history, more incredible architecture, and more Chicago attractions. When my husband and I were trying to plan a weekend getaway this past week, I tried my darndest to convince him to take me back to the city that I’ve begun to fall in love with. He declined. Maybe he prefers my undivided attention, but I KNOW if I could only convince him to visit the city once, he’d be hooked.
The Hyatt Regency Chicago Best Place To Stay In Chicago
And while I try to convince my husband, maybe I can convince you to add Chicago to the list of places you want to visit. From the amazing accommodations of the Hyatt Regency to the fun filled afternoons exploring the city, there is much to enjoy in Chicago.
Why Visit Chicago?
You ask me, “Why should I visit Chicago?” and I’ll respond, “Why not?” but just in case that answer doesn’t suffice, I’ve added a few more thoughts that include where to eat, what to do and what hotel I think may just be the best hotel in the city.
Fun Things to do in Chicago
360 Chicago and TILT
If you want an incredible view of the city, 360 Chicago is the place to be. Located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building, the floor to ceiling windows provide stunning views from every direction. Interactive touch screens will provide information as to what you’re actually seeing. Pop up for a quick look around, or spend some time and relax in the café or bar as you take in the scene. Plan to arrive right before sunset for both day and night views. While you’re there, don’t forget to press a penny or two in the multiple penny pressing machines. If you’re brave, step into TILT, a one-of-a-kind attraction that will suspend you at a 30-degree angle for an exhilarating (or terrifying) look at Michigan Avenue.
Save money and by-pass lines of popular attractions, including 360 Chicago, with CITYPass.
Segway Tour with Chicago Segway Tours
This. After a great night’s sleep at The Hyatt Regency, running around the city can be top on your list. It’s a big area to cover, so grabbing the Chicago Segway to tool around and tour the area is a must.
I had my reservations, but this was so much fun. I am now hooked on Segway tours. It’s a great way to see the city quickly without the walking (because you’ll do plenty of that anyway). My tour was with Chicago Segway Tours and my guide was amazing. When I first stepped on the Segway and the control freak in me wanted to go berserk, she calmed me down and assured me that I would enjoy my experience. And she was right. Within minutes, I was zooming around on the Segway like a pro and ready to head out to see the city.
On my custom tour, I learned about the architecture, history, and art in the city. I saw historic hotels that have hosted President’s, fountains that shoot geysers like clockwork and rode along the lakefront, enjoying the gentle breezes.
Chicago Segway Tours offer a variety of tour options, including a Gangster Tour that I would LOVE, a Pokémon Go! Tour, a Haunted Tour, and a Holiday Lights tour. You’ll find one that appeals to you and your family.
Photo Tip: If you want photos of your tour, strap on a GoPro. It will be so much easier than carrying around your point and shoot or trying to capture photos with your phone.
The Tribune Tower
This majestic structure located on Michigan Avenue is the result of an international architecture competition that lead to the creation of one of what is considered “the most beautiful office building in the world’. Built in the 1920’s architects Howells & Hood (recognize those names?) paved the way for the development of skyscraper architecture. This building deserves a close look. From the tower to the buttresses, to the rocks embedded along the base of the building, collected from all over the world. Take a moment to brush your hand across a piece of a Westminster Abbey, a Japanese Shrine, or a rock from my neck of the woods symbolizing the Battle of Lake Erie on Put-In-Bay. This building will fascinate those who have an interest in architecture, history or geology.
Stroll through Millennium Park
For years, I’ve wanted to walk under the Chicago Bean, so when I arranged to visit Chicago I knew Millennium Park would be one place that I would make time to visit. The Bean, or Cloud Gate, as it’s called is a busy attraction that resembles a giant, platinum legume. I know that description doesn’t sound cool, but seeing this public art piece is fascinating.
Photo Tip: If you want to get a great shot of the Bean, set your alarm to arrive first thing in the morning as the sun rises over Lake Michigan to avoid crowds.
I admired this attraction from outdoors, though I’m still disappointed I opted not to buy a ticket. This is one of the Chicago attractions I’d really like to visit with my husband. The Shedd Aquarium is the largest indoor aquarium in the world and home to over 32,000 animals that consist of over 1,500 species.
Fun fact: The aquarium opened with no animals on display in December 1929, but that didn’t stop the public from flocking to the new structure on Chicago’s lakefront as they marveled at the architecture of the building.
The Field Museum was originally built to hold all the memorabilia and submissions from the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. This eye-catching structure is currently hosting the traveling exhibit, China’s First Emperor and His Terra Cotta Warriors. If you haven’t had an opportunity to experience this piece of history, and China is not on your travel agenda, I highly recommend visiting before January.
Shop along the Magnificent Mile
The Shops at North Bridge offer four floors of shopping including the famed Nordstrom’s. If you still have money in your wallet check out the American Girl Place, Ghirardelli Chocolates and Build-a-Bear – just a handful of shops along Michigan Avenue. Shopping is hard work! Need a little pick-me-up to keep you going? Check out Dylan’s Candy Bar for Happy Hour and $5 Martini’s, clearly making Dylan’s a candy store for all ages.
Architectural Boat Tour
After another great night of rest and relaxation at The Hyatt Regency in Chicago, you’ll want to go out and explore a bit. The boat tour is an amazing option if you have any interest in architecture, this boat tour will fascinate you. If you’re only looking for a relaxing attraction where you may learn a thing to too and see more of the city, this is also the tour for you. From entertaining docents, to fun facts that you can use to impress your friends, to incredible photo ops, it’s easy to see why the Architectural Boat Tour has been voted as the top tour in Chicago by TripAdvisor.
I enjoyed my tour so much that I contemplated taking the same tour the next day because there was so much information presented and I wanted to soak it all in.
Photo Tip: Arrive a bit early and take a seat along the rail on either side of the boat to get great photos.
Stroll along Michigan Avenue
You don’t need to shop on Michigan Avenue. Just walk along this famed street and look around. Sit back and people watch. Grab your camera and photograph some of the great buildings. Or grab your smartphone and learn some history from 30 statues and art pieces throughout the city. Simply look for the placards indicating that the statue is part of the Statue Stories collection and you can receive a 2-minute phone call from the statue that brings the statue to life.
The Art Institute of Chicago
The people of TripAdvisor have spoken and have decided The Art Institute of Chicago is the best art museum in the world. Impressed? You should be.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the museum and was very impressed by the collection. I’m still not convinced it’s better than The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, which I found extremely easy to navigate. Either I was having an especially challenging day, or the museum map in the brochure isn’t as easy to read as it could be. It seemed as though I spent more time trying to find the galleries that held the pieces that I wanted to see rather than appreciating the artwork.
Where to Eat in Chicago
If you aren’t ordering in room service at The Hyatt Regency in Chicago, you are probably wondering about the best places to eat in the city. Chicago may be famous for pizza and hot dogs, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing all the culinary goodness the city has to offer. After all, man cannot live on pizza and hot dogs alone.
Billy Goat Tavern & Grill
This is not a fancy dining establishment, but it is a fun, kitschy tavern located on the lower level of Michigan Avenue, across from the Chicago Tribune. If you’re looking for decent grub for prices that are hard to beat, this is the place to go. Where else in Chicago can you buy a breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee for $3.55 and watch the cook prepare your food on the spotless grill right in front of you?
Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi
This upscale steakhouse located in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Chicago has something for everyone.
If you’re in the mood for steak and seafood, you’re in the right place, but that’s not all you’ll find in this cozy, intimate restaurant. I was introduced to my first bite of Octopus and Stetson’s and admit, I was very skeptical and almost didn’t try it. I’d been told that octopus can be rubbery, but apparently the chef knows a thing or two about the delicacy because this appetizer was incredible. The atmosphere was good, our server was attentive and the food was delicious, not what I normally expect to find in a hotel restaurant.
Howells & Hood
Howells & Hood is located on the lower level of the Tribune Tower and named after the architects who designed the building. With seating indoors and out, with views of the Chicago River, it is certainly the place to be on a Friday night or any other day of the week. The food at Howells & Hood was great, as were the cocktails and beer selection which is one of the largest in the city. I had a Kimchi Burger, voted one of the best burgers in the city. The atmosphere is fun and on a Friday night can be a bit loud indoors, so if you’re with a large table or looking for an intimate setting, consider grabbing a seat outdoors.
La Sirena Clandestina
This cozy restaurant located in Fulton Market, one of Chicago’s most hip, up and coming neighborhoods, is adorable. I loved it the moment I stepped inside and hoped the food would impress me as much as the eclectically rustic décor. I was not disappointed. I ate some incredible food in Chicago, but it’s the Brazilian Bowl that makes my mouth water every time I think of it. The Latin inspired rice and chicken dish was perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of spice.
Labriola Ristorante and Café
I’ve been told Geno’s is supposed to be THE deep dish pizza to eat while in the city, but I much preferred the pie from Labriola Ristorante and Café just off Michigan Avenue. The outside dining makes this a great spot to grab a glass of wine and sit back with friends and do some people watching.
BIG Bar is impressive daytime or night. With the longest free-standing bar in North America, this popular hangout has impressive views of the skyline and the bottles of spirits can make for a pretty photo as well. Stop in for cocktails, light appetizers or dessert.
American Craft Kitchen & Bar
Whether you’re looking for a great breakfast spot, somewhere to grab a mid-afternoon coffee, or casual dining option, you’ll love the comfortable atmosphere of this gorgeous atrium restaurant. Featuring a farm-to-table influenced menu, stop in for breakfast where you can select items from the breakfast buffet or order a made to order omelet to give you the energy to start your day.
Where to Stay in Chicago
With 2,019 rooms, which include well-appointed standard rooms and suites, the Hyatt Regency Chicago has the most rooms in the city and is the largest Hyatt property in the world. Those facts alone are impressive, but how does a stay at the Hyatt Regency stack up?
Continue reading to find out why I think the Hyatt Regency Chicago may be the best place to stay in Chicago.
Location, location, location.
There are times that the location of your hotel on vacation isn’t so important, but when you’re visiting Chicago or NYC, location is everything. Hyatt Regency Chicago is across the street from the architectural boat tours (the #1 rated attraction in the city by TripAdvisor), a block from the famed Magnificent Mile with world class shopping and restaurants, and an easy walk to Millennium Park and the beloved focal point, The Bean.
The Hyatt Regency Chicago is easy to reach by car, Uber or the L.
As with most hotels in Chicago, valet parking can be a bit pricey. You can find lower priced parking through apps like SpotHero and in some of the nearby parking garages, but I found the Hyatt Regency Chicago valet to be very convenient and a good value since they offer unlimited in and out privileges.
The hotel is an easy drive from the interstate and straight up East Wacker Drive. It was incredibly easy and convenient to pull up in front of the hotel (the lot entrance is actually on North Stetson Avenue) park, grab my things and settle in.
Are you flying into the city early, but have a few hours before you can check into your room? Stow your bags and explore the city free of cumbersome luggage when you elect to store your bags with the Bell Hop.
Attendant free check-in.
Are you having a bad day and prefer not to wait in line for the hotel representative? Mosey on up to one of the self-serve kiosks and help yourself. You can do the same at check out.
You’re also able to print your boarding passes free of charge in the same area.
I’m often frustrated when I’ve paid a decent amount for a hotel room and then arrive to find Wi-Fi is an extra $14.95 a day. At Hyatt Regency Chicago, Wi-Fi is complimentary both in your room and in the public spaces of the hotel. And because you don’t always feel like working from a desk, the hotel has provided some really comfortable seating areas throughout the property for you to work or catch up on emails.
Three of the dining options I previously mentioned are located inside the hotel. Stetson’s Modern Steak & Sushi, American Craft Kitchen & Bar and BIG Bar offer three options to guests of the hotel and visitors to Chicago.
The market is open 24-hours a day and offers breakfast and lunch grab and go items, snacks and a good selection of fresh fruit and veggies that can be consumed on the go. For those looking for a Starbucks fix, you’ll find it here as well.
If you’re looking for souvenirs for your family, you don’t need to buy them while you’re out and lug them all over the city. Simply stop in the on-site gift shop on your way in or out the door for Chicago themed apparel and trinkets.
Unlike my children, I’m not one to hit the gym regularly. My exercise consists of running up and down the stairs to do laundry or short walks around our property at home, but stepping inside the state of the art fitness center, I couldn’t help but be awed. Comfortably cool for those breaking a sweat, you’ll find complimentary fruit, chilled towels, and great view of the river and lake, depending on what machine you opt to use first. The fitness center alone would make this hotel a keeper in the eyes of my kids. I know they’d be impressed.
Seriously, doesn’t this photo speak for itself?
Not sure? How about this one?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Do you want a robe delivered to your room at one in the morning? Or extra pillows? How about a toothbrush when you realize you left yours at home? Did you just realize it’s about to be ‘that time of the month’ and you’re not prepared? No problem. Simply call and ask to have these items and more delivered to your room, free of charge.
If you want a personal touch at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, you’ll get it. If you prefer to check in and out via computer, you can do that too. You have options. I found the staff to be incredibly welcoming, from the valet, to check-in, to room service, to daily housekeeping and every other aspect of my stay, everything and everyone was top notch.
The Pedway is an underground system of tunnels and bridges that connect more than 40 blocks in the Central Business District. If you’re visiting Chicago and it rains, or you’re traveling in the winter, this is a great way to avoid the inclement weather and the cold.
Oops. Did I already mention the views? Maybe I did, but I think it’s worth mentioning again.
It’s easy to see what makes Hyatt Regency Chicago an award winning property.
Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60601
Tel: +1 312 565 1234
Thank you to Hyatt Regency Chicago for hosting my stay.
More Travel Ideas:
- How To Take A Great Picture At The Chicago Bean
- Learning From The Architecture Of Historic Downtown Chicago
- 5 Architectural Gems In Fort Wayne, Indiana
© 2016, Tonya. All rights reserved.