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  1. Tuesday, September 1, 2020

  2. Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Our Spring 2021 Guide to Chicago

We've rounded up open local attractions you must visit when in the Windy City

Every trip to Chicago provides for unforgettable moments. Whether traveling with friends, family or even by yourself for business, there is so much to see and do. If you are prepared to venture out into the world for your next adventure, you will find it a little different from what you remember, but don’t worry there is still a ton to do and we’ve curated a list of our favorite local Chi-Town spots to help make your planning a breeze.

You’ll find yourself in the heart of the city at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago!

Located just steps from the famous Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, and renowned museums in downtown Chicago, contemporary art surrounds and inspires you at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago. Check out our neighborhood guide for a full list of cultural, food, entertainment, shopping, and sports activities. 

Many of Chicago’s outdoor attractions and parks are currently open with new safety precautions, limited capacities, and contactless entry options. Don’t forget a mask as Chicago has issued a mask mandate, but the best way to start your Chicago journey is by stretching your legs and hitting the pavement. 

Retail Therapy

When it comes to shopping in Chicago, you can shop til you drop, because shopping in Chicago is on par with New York and Milan. The Magnificent Mile, which runs along North Michigan Avenue, adjacent to the hotel, offers a multitude of designer retail stores, shops and boutiques. It is a veritable haven for anyone interested in shopping in Chicago. You’ll find the very best in department stores: Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale’s, plus great shopping centers like The Shops at North Bridge. Worth a trip further south of the Chicago River is the original Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s), a four-story Chicago shopping icon that opened here in 1852 and boasts century-old clocks and a Tiffany dome.

Best shopping in the country

Millennium Park

Located in Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”, is one of Chicago’s most popular sights. The monumental work of art anchors the city’s downtown park, reflecting the city’s creativity and culture, is a must-visit destination in any season. Most of the park is open with restrictions on the number of people who can visit and social distancing rules meant to limit potential coronavirus exposure. Guests are asked to enter and exit only at Michigan Avenue/Washington Street, Michigan Avenue/Madison Street and Randolph Street/North Promenade.

Next to Millenium Park is Maggie Daley Park, which has many fun activities, especially for families. Mini-golf, the picnic groves, and the skating ribbon (open for use with your equipment, rentals start April 30) are currently open. The play garden, rock climbing wall, and bungee open Memorial Day weekend for the season.

Spring Attractions

Soak in all the colors of the seasons with the Garfield Park Conservatory Spring Flower Show, on display through May 9. The theme of this year’s show is “Saturation” and it is an immersive experience of almost the entire spectrum of the rainbow. To lean into the color theme, the blooming flowers are grouped by color so you can see and enjoy all the different hues and its vivid nuances. Visits to the conservatory are FREE however reservations are required with COVID regulations and must be made two weeks in advance. 

Head on over to the Art Institute of Chicago and check out the “Monet and Chicago” exhibition. Did you know that the first time Monet’s work was shown in Chicago was in 1888? Learn more about early local reception to his work and experience some of his magnificent work. This exhibit is showing through June 14 and requires a $7 ticket in addition to general admission. Tickets are limited and sell out most days, so advanced purchase is recommended. 

We hope you’ll check out our exhibit, This We Believe, during your stay with us, but if you are seeking more contemporary works, check out the “The Long Dream” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibit is named after the 1958 novel by Richard Wright and brings together work from more than 70 local artists. The exhibit invites visitors to see the City of Chicago through new eyes and offers ways to imagine a more equitable and interconnected world. This exhibit is only open until May 2 so be sure to get tickets before it is gone.

Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. The projections can be viewed on The Chicago Riverwalk between Wells and Lake St. The current Spring Series runs nightly at 8:30 & 9 p.m. and includes work done in partnership with The Adler Planetarium (now), Art Institute of Chicago (now), and Chicago Public Schools (starting May 20)

The Adler Planetarium, “Astrographics.” Photography courtesy of Art on theMART.

If you are looking for a nostalgic and interactive experience, check out The FRIENDS Experience: The One in Chicago. Open now through May 31, fans can explore FRIENDS like never before with set re- creations, original props and costumes, photo ops and more. The FRIENDS Experience is located at The Shops at North Bridge on the Magnificent Mile at 540 N. Michigan Ave. (the corner of N. Michigan Ave. and E. Ohio St.). The interactive, two-story experience features 12 nostalgia-packed rooms and activations including Monica’s kitchen and balcony and the iconic Friends fountain. The experience has “Monica Clean” levels of safety standards. Tickets are available for $35 plus taxes and fees.

The Sports Icons of Chi-Town Are Timeless

Just a few blocks over from the hotel is the famous Magnificent Mile, and a short Uber ride is the United Center, the home of the Chicago Bulls, where (whether you’re a sports fan or not) you have to take a photo with the iconic Michael Jordan statue out front. Spring is also the start of baseball season and Chicago is home to two MLB teams – Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox. Both stadiums are accessible via the El Train Red Line. Whether you have tickets or not, make your way to the second oldest ballpark in America, Wrigley Field, where you can spend time with Ernie Banks and snap a photo of the out-of-the-park iconic sign for the Chicago Cubs. 

A Food-Lover’s City

Have you worked up an appetite? Good, because Chicago is a food lover’s paradise. For walk-around snacks, grab some famous Garrett Popcorn like their Garret Mix with both Cheese and Caramel popcorn together.

For exploration and a total gourmand experience, Eataly is a vibrant Italian marketplace that features an array of cafes, counters, restaurants, and much more. For a date night, we recommend Ema, a Mediterranean restaurant showcasing a lovely menu of spreads, dips and mezze, and small plates. Looking for a morning wake-up excursion? Starbucks has recently opened up their Chicago Roastery down the block from 21c, along the Magnificent Mile. Last but certainly not least, the great pizza debate continues with a delicious trip to Gino’s East Pizzeria, because no matter how you prefer your pizza, it is important that you try Chicago’s famous deep-dish style. 

Travel with Confidence

The health and safety of our guests is our top priority, but we also want you to have fun. For the most up-to-date information about all of our cleanliness and wellness policies, designed with the safety of our teammates and guests in mind, click here. Take some selfies standing in front of The Bean, and get an ultra-thick slice of deep-dish pizza to go. Questions about anything related to visiting Chicago? Give us a call – our team of locals would love to help you plan your visit. You’ll have a hassle-free trip and park for free to have all the fun. 


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COVID-19 ALERT: Read more on our #ALLSAFE cleanliness protocols and Cancellation Policies