Chicago is a city that has it all: art, culture, fine dining, and Broadway-rivaling shows. Also known for its architecture, Chicago’s buildings bear evidence of the talents of many renowned architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Gehry. Its most famous attribute, though, is its cityscape, presided over by the iconic Willis Tower and Navy Pier Ferris wheel, and flanked by sparkling Lake Michigan. Another unique aspect of this metropolis is that two rivers flow through it: the Calumet River on the south side and the Chicago River downtown. Yes, you have a lot to see when visiting Chicago -- and the best way to take it all in is to book a hotel with a bird’s-eye view of the Windy City. Here’s a list of 14 Chicago hotels with incredible views.
Built into a unique V shape that allows for beautiful views of the Navy Pier, Lake Michigan, and Millennium Park from virtually every room, the Fairmont Chicago is located right at the popular architectural boat tour dock. The on-site spa is another draw, but perhaps the biggest perk of this Lake Shore East neighborhood gem is its direct connection to the Pedway, Chicago’s underground thoroughfare. Don’t underestimate the value of this if you are visiting in the winter. Chicago has its charms in every season, but sightseeing outside on snowy, blustery days is not one of them for most people.
This is a glam property, complete with elegant retro touches and vintage decor. Suites are truly huge (even for suites), and the higher floors bring panoramic views of the entire city. Its location is hard to beat as well — it’s within walking distance of the famous bean sculpture, the Chicago Theater, the Chicago River, and some of the best restaurants in town. The hotel offers guests nice perks, such as yoga gear and complimentary wine receptions.
The blueprint of this luxury hotel holds the secret to its unobstructed views of the lake and the John Hancock Center. (The glass building is built on a slant expressly for that purpose.) The Museum of Contemporary Art is in the neighborhood, and the on-site French restaurant, Cafe des Architectes, is a romantic spot to share a candlelit dinner. International flair is on display here, from a French-inspired opera staircase to the multilingual staff.
Most rooms in this luxe boutique hotel have views of Lake Michigan or the main part of the city. An especially good pick for families with young kids, this property offers little guests hula hoops, wee bathrobes, and even a goldfish to tend to during their stay. The window seats are so cushy that kids may want to curl up and sleep on them. Don’t be surprised if you wake up to find them with their noses pressed against the glass, agog over the sights below. The on-site restaurant is a good one for picky eaters, serving up midwestern comfort food. Plus, they brew their own beer — a perk for the grown-ups in the group. On top of that, the hotel’s location in the Loop neighborhood is convenient, near the river and many shops.
A hangout for hipsters, this hotel is in a quiet location that’s set apart from the touristy Navy Pier area, but still in a spot where you can enjoy lovely views. Rooms feature works from local artists. An evening at the enclosed rooftop J. Parker bar is a must — not only for the craft cocktails, but also the superb view of nearby Lincoln Park and the lake. It’s widely considered to be one of the best spots in Chicago to watch the sun set.
This Loews outpost is a solid choice for value and views. It boasts a pristine indoor lap pool, a well-outfitted fitness center, minimalist rooms with a spacious, modern feel, and, of course, a memorable city or lake view.
If you’re partial to twinkling nighttime views, this property close to Lake Michigan may be the place to drop your bags. The river views are pretty during the day, but at night — as the city skyline, Marina City, and the Wrigley Building light up — they’re breathtaking. Rooms are large and comfortable. Tip: Try to book a room as high up as possible.
Dramatic, edgy design is the norm at theWit, located next to the Chicago River in the theater district. It has one of the best rooftop bars in the city, thanks to its astonishing views and fashionable clientele. Its American gastropub, State and Lake Chicago Tavern, features delectables like chicken and waffles, smoked pork belly hash, and caramel pecan French toast with fresh blackberries.
One of the Historic Hotels of America, the Hilton Chicago is steeped in old-time glamour. This palatial property, famous for its grand staircase, sits in a prized location overlooking Lake Michigan and Grant Park. For a top-tier view, request a lakeview corner room. The hotel also nods to the city’s Irish heritage with the atmospheric Kitty O’Sheas pub, which serves up traditional Emerald Isle fare and drinks.
This upscale property sits alongside the well-heeled Magnificent Mile, and houses rooms with skyline views that are on display from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Its Vertigo Sky Lounge offers a front-row seat to the dramatic skyline as well. Tip: The corner king rooms, which will make you feel like a celeb, boast the best sweeping views of the skyline and the landmark Holy Name Cathedral.
The views at this legendary luxury enclave extend beyond the expansive city and lake scenes outside the windows. Eleven museum-quality works of art are also on display for guests to enjoy. When you book a room, specify whether you’d like a lake view (between the 32nd and 46th floors) or a city view. The wine list at Allium, the hotel’s contemporary American fine-dining restaurant, has been named one of the best by Wine Spectator.
Striking and centrally located, this gleaming, 45-floor Chicago landmark is triangular with two sides strategically facing north to offer wraparound views of the river, lake, and city. Even the meeting rooms have panoramic views. Aside from showcasing spectacular sights, this hotel is an especially good pick for multi-generational groups. It offers connecting or adjacent kids’ rooms, child-centric amenities, and a lobby bar that attracts a millennial crowd. The indoor pool and spa are big draws, too.
This lavish hotel is designed for those who like a side of pampering with their jaw-dropping views. It sits in a prime location on the Magnificent Mile, near the Museum of Contemporary Art and historic Water Tower. Guests enjoy gracious service, luxurious Art Deco surroundings, a two-story spa, and high-tech rooms with hot tubs. The stellar Chinese restaurant, Shanghai Terrace, has fantastic views, as does the pool area with floor-to-ceiling windows and the spa’s sun terrace.
History buffs will do well to check out this Beaux-Arts property with knockout views from all of their suites. It rises above Oak Street Beach, affording close-up lake views from Michigan suites. Gold Coast suite guests get to gaze at the lights of the bustling Streeterville neighborhood. Fun fact: Charles Lindbergh, Bing Crosby, and Walt Disney were a few of the regulars here. At Coq d’Or, one of the first bars to pour whiskey after Prohibition ended, newlyweds Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio carved their initials in the wooden counter.