If chic accommodations, historical surroundings, and a sophisticated crowd sounds enticing for a weekend getaway Palmer House Hilton is the perfect destination for a Chicago adventure. Whether it’s your first time exploring the Windy City or a repeat visit, this luxury hotel, which opened on September 26, 1871, is always just right.
Be prepared for your jaw to drop walking into the opulent art deco lobby, not matter how many times you have been there. Look up and take in the Tiffany 24-karate gold chandeliers and bronze “winged angels” (the largest Tiffany ever made). Business travelers and hotel guests rub elbows over cocktails and small bites on the long bar just outside of the Lockwood Restaurant and conference and event attendees walk up the grand staircase to the Empire Dining Room or on their way to meeting rooms on the Third Floor Salon.
The first order of business, maybe even before you check in, is to find Ken Price. Infamous as Chicago’s history buff, Ken is tall, well dressed and sports the most stylish glasses imaginable. Ken created and oversees the hotel’s History is Hott tour which culminates in the Palmer House Museum. In addition to his thorough knowledge of the property and the neighborhood, Ken is one of the best resource on what to see and do in the greater Chicago area.
Guest rooms and suites at spacious, stylish and well maintained. The executive level, with key-only access and a private check-in, is the place to splurge a little. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast, hors d’oeurves, and cocktails from their full bar. If you’re in the mood for something a little heartier, Potter’s Chicago Burger Bar has the best (you guessed it) burger in the neighborhood and Lockwood Restaurant & Bar offers incredible farmhouse-style American cuisine. Lockwood showcases prime local ingredients with special treats like their Hamilton inspired curtain call three-course menu, a power lunch for local businessmen, signature butters inspired by flavors of the moment, butcher block steaks, their craveable cheese curds and the original chocolate fudge Brownie.
There’s plenty to see and do in and around the Palmer House. Reflection selfies in cloud gate, the impressive 110-ton Anish Kapoor sculpture, are an absolute must. In fact, spruce up your Instagram feed all over Millennium Park before hitting The Art Institute of Chicago to see iconic paintings like Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” Van Gough’s “Bedroom in Aries,” Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” and Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.”
Architectural Boat Tour of Chicago is a must. Voted one of the top ten tours in the U.S. by Trip Advisor, it’s the best way to get the 411 on the history of Chicago in a 90-minute boat ride along the Chicago River. If you’re hungry for lunch to try some deep-dished pizza at Giordano’s Famous Chicago Style Pizza or something lighter at Wood in Boystown.
Be sure to make enough time to hit the gym before a big night out in Boystown, which is roughly a fifteen minute cab ride from the Palmer House. The Health Club at the Palmer House offers three floors of fitness equipment, Preva by Pre-Cor cardio machines, a pool and a variety of classes to work off that pepperoni. Finish with a spa treatment at Palmer House spa but be prepared – the massages are firm and functional.
You might want to take a disco nap before hitting the bars. Pregame at Minibar or Cellblock for a little leather then hit Berlin, Hydrate, Roscoe’s and/or Sidetrack. Be sure to get a little rest, though tomorrow is another day and there’s plenty to see and do in the bustling Windy City. With the Palmer House Hilton as your launching pad you’re bound to take in the perfect blend of gay life, adventure and relaxation in the great city of Chicago.