Those who want to avoid busy Michigan Avenue during their next Chicago trip should look to stay in the Windy City’s trendy, tourist-absent West Loop neighborhood, the Fulton Market District. Once a smattering of industrial warehouses, the locale had a major come-up this past decade: spunky bars, delicious restaurants, and a handful of independent shops line the streets here. Also, in the vicinity is one of our favorite boutique stays in Chicago, The Emily Hotel.
The 159-key boutique hotel infuses a semi-minimalist décor with masculine shades such as browns and grays. The lobby features a coffee shop, check-in desk, and their tasty onsite restaurant Fora. Artwork populates the different quarters here, all thanks to the hotel’s Artist in Residence program.
The fifth-floor terrace welcomes wintertime guests to four curling courts amidst vignettes of heated firepits, with a food & beverage menu served alongside it. Come spring, the hotel morphs that same space into a Rooftop Cinema Club, featuring a weekly lineup of lauded films viewable on a state-of-the-art LED screen with wireless headphones.
Rooms appear modernist and comfortable: organic cotton sheets, a flat-screen TV, a fully stocked minibar, and a custom Bluetooth radio come with them. If you’re looking to go big, opt for one of the suites, which not only boasts all the aforementioned amenities but also private kitchenettes and terraces.
Lobby restaurant Fora sports a globally-inspired menu—the Fried Chicken Sandwich is a must-try, equipping a roasted chili barbeque sauce, pickled jalapenos, cabbage, and a side of fries.
Seventh-floor rooftop bar Selva serves handcrafted cocktails with favorable Chicago views. It doesn’t try too hard, and we admire that. The haunt plucks inspiration from Mexico’s vibrant culture—and to that tune, when here, opt to sip the Naked & Afraid, which comprises Los Vecinos Mezcal, green chartreuse, Aperol, and lime.
Location: Chicago, Illinois (Fulton Market District)
The vibe: An effortlessly contemporary bolthole in a trendy, tourist-free corner of Chicago.
Food + Drink: A coffee shop on the ground level, global-faring lobby restaurant Fora (get the Fried Chicken Sandwich for us, please?), and buzzy seventh-floor Mexican bar Selva (the cocktail menu is “above par”—either get the Naked & Afraid—los vecinos mezcal, green chartreuse, aperol, and lime—or the El Diablo Picante— don julio reposado, los vecinos mezcal, creme de cassis, lime, plus ginger beer.
Any neighborhood recs?: Yes—Chicago’s Fulton Market District is abuzz with eateries, bars, and a small handful of shops. Down the street is Time Out Market Chicago and its abundance of foods stalls. Play ‘90s arcade games, from Pac-Man to Caddyshack at Emporium, all the while sipping one of their 25 beers on tap. Last but not least, those with a sweet tooth must heed our advice here and head to Jars by Fabio Vivani, which packs desserts with a twist into petite jars—get the Salted Caramel Pecan Pie: pecans, vanilla frosting, salted caramel custard, white sponge cake, plus a toasted marshmallow.
Our favorite thing about the hotel? The suites are spacious—the corner one we stayed in had an open layout. Inside, I loved the expansive windows fronting a well-positioned desk that made the mundane work I was doing much more stimulating, being I could take breaks (more than I should have as I’m a serial procrastinator) to both watch people stroll and the Chicago skyline at a distance.
What’s nearby? Time Out Market Chicago, Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, Michigan Avenue, and Chicago River.
Amenities: Fitness Center, coffee shop, restaurant, bar, parking, pet-friendly accommodations, and breakfast.
Pricing: Rooms start at $135/night
Closest Airport: Chicago Midway International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport