This Chicago Hotel Is An All-in-One Curated Art Museum and Upscale Urban Stay

Credit: Nigel Barker

While Chicago’s nickname as the “Windy City” remains true, there’s so much more to know about this Midwestern metropolis than its weather habits (and its politics). From its jaw-dropping architecture exhibited at sites such as The Bean at Millenium Park to its individualistic culinary pedigree that birthed Chicago-style hot dogs & deep-dish pizza, and its art scene found at places like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Midwest’s biggest city brims with rich art & culture far and wide. When here, opt to stay somewhere that oozes this one-of-a-kind personality — and on that note, let us introduce you to the 21c Museum Hotel Chicago

Credit: Nigel Barker

Located just steps away from the Magnificent Mile shopping district in River North, 21c Museum Hotel is a unique contemporary art museum and boutique stay highlighting Chicago’s prolific artist community. Featuring 10,000 square feet of gallery space, the on-site museum showcases a new exhibition each year that spotlights work from local artists.

Credit: Nigel Barker

Its latest exhibition, OFF-Spring: New Generations, boasts a collection of 100 multimedia artworks by 60 artists worldwide, highlighting how religious, cultural, familial, and personal rituals shape who we are and how and where we live, love, and learn. Open to the public, the exhibit includes a variety of mediums: photography, cinematography, and installed art pieces pepper the premises. 

Seamlessly interweaved into the hotel’s art museum aesthetic, contemporary design dresses the 297 guestrooms and suites. Blueprinted to provide the ultimate respite after a long day of exploration, spacious quarters here boast swarthy-toned, comfortable accommodations: plush living room seating and bedroom furnishings, white marbled bathrooms, brass light fixtures, and expansive windows give way to city views of Downtown Chicago.

21c Museum Hotel Chicago Fishbar

Checking out Chicago’s gastronomy scene is advised, but if you are in the mood to stay at your base, 21c Museum Hotel has an outstanding eatery just off the lobby. Called the Lure Fishbar, the NYC-born restaurant serves world-class seafood and sushi within a debonair space, made possible by dimly lit light fixtures, dark-hued seating areas, and nautical-adjacent decor that pairs perfectly with its acclaimed seafood-inspired fare. There’s no wrong way to order from this decadent menu with how delicious everything is, but to narrow down the options, here are two dishes we recommend: The Lobster Mac — white cheddar, parmesan, and main lobster — and the Lure House Roll shrimp tempura, cucumber, and topped with spicy tuna.

Needless to say, no stay better exhibits Chicago’s pulsating art & culture scene than 21c Museum Hotel Chicago. 

Top Takeaways

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Rating: Four-Star

The Vibe: A contemporary art museum mixed with an upscale boutique hotel in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

Food + Drink: Lure Fishbar — the NYC-original outpost has become Chicago’s most compelling destination for world-class seafood and sushi. The seafood-forward menu offers a plethora of signature sushi rolls, fresh oyster assemblages, salads, and entrées ideal for large groups or intimate gatherings. Drink-wise, a selection of classically crafted cocktails and a superb wine list are available.

Our Favorite Part of the Hotel? The inward-facing rooms at 21c (meaning, they don’t have a view of the Chicago skyline) receive a remarkably different kind of view at night: a rolling video montage created by a selected artist each year, spawning a soothing cinematic experience of scenic videos compiled together. 

Amenities: On-site Art Museum; Fitness Center; Free WiFi; Room Service; Laundry; Breakfast

What’s Nearby? 360 Chicago; Cloud Gate – The Bean; Art Institute of Chicago; Arts Club of Chicago; Chicago Tribune Tower; Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art

Any personal neighborhood recs? With the 21c Museum Hotel’s prime location in River North, there’s so much to do within short walking distance. Stroll Chicago’s Magnificent Mile for high-end shops, gourmet eateries, and luxe hotels at every corner. If you’re on the hunt for a Chicago-style hot dog, the established Portillo’s is around a seven-minute walk from 21c.

Rooms: 297

Pricing: $249/night

Closest Airport: Midway International Airport

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